- "Gift cards are impersonal" As I said before, a gift card allows the recipient to get what he or she actually wants. As an example, we have the strip that shows that Elly knows that Phil loves fishing but doesn't know what's in his tackle box; were she to give him a gift card from a sporting goods store, she'd demonstrate that she knows what his interests are without committing the faux pas of giving him something he doesn't like.
- "We need to give the children all the toys they ask for." The reason she and John go nuts buying toys is the odd belief that piling up cargo underneath the tree proves how much they love their children; the sad thing is that they end up going into debt as they slowly but surely turn their children into materialistic twerps who also confuse excess with love.
- "We need to buy expensive gifts for all the adults in our family." Elly and John seem to believe that there's some sort of federal law that forces them to buy really expensive gifts for everyone they know. Not only do they not need to, it's classier if they don't behave as if they're making a show of being generous.
- "We have to send cards and a newsletter to everyone in our address book." The problem with this sort of thinking is that they end up clogging the postal system with letters to people who they barely know and wouldn't recognize if they were in a police lineup; the real fun is that the targets of their largesse end up wondering "Patterson? Is that the doofy-looking dentist with the insane wife with the big ass or our sister's old clodhopper of a boyfriend with the train fetish?" as they put the card on the mantle on its way to the landfill.
- "We have to prepare a huge feast and eat until we're violently unwell." Despite what Elly believes, she and her family don't have to gorge themselves for Christmas; the world will not come to a screaming halt if they have a mildly fancy version of their regular dinner.
- "We have to write thank you letters to our friends and relations." One of Elly's favorite activities is pestering her children about the need to make fawning statements of gratitude to relatives who send them gifts; given how grasping and materialistic she herself is, watching her lecture Mike about the need to thank Grandma Marian for sending him a package of socks and tightie whities is wonderfully nasty fun.
- "We have to run up a huge power bill by having a fancy lighting display." I admit that I sort of like looking at Christmas lights but, even as I admire the skill and dedication people put into them, can't help but feel glad I'm not stuck with their utility bills. I decorate to please myself, not to impress other people. If that means that I don't bother with lights on my tree, that's my choice.
- "We have to save all the ribbons and wrap because they can be reused." The problem, of course, is that since Elly has a memory like a sieve, all she's doing is adding to the clutter in her attic and the garage.
Chaos for Christmas.
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