The 4th Day of Giftmas: Baby’s First Santa Visit

The day Mabel started to hate beards

The day Mabel started to hate beards

This past Saturday, the shortest and quite possibly the nicest day of the year, Mabel turned one and a half years old. Which means I never have to speak of her in terms of months anymore. How old is Mabel, you say? She’s one and a half, thank you for asking. And now you don’t have to do math. You’re welcome. If you need more specific information, you’re likely my doctor and already know how old she is. If you’d like to compare my child’s development to yours, just assume we’re both better than you two.

Saturday was also Mabel’s first introduction to Santa Claus. Well, besides last year, but she was barely a person then. She’d have sat on an alligator’s lap if we put her there. So this was the first real time she was introduced to Santa. He came in through the door, very red and very fat and very loud. Mabel was already surrounded by people she doesn’t know being forced to rip paper, something we have pleaded with her not to do every day until now. Santa’s presence was just the straw that made the baby cry.

Because mommy and daddy are good parents, we stopped her from running away and made her choke back her tears, sit down and clap along as we all sang Rudolph and Frosty and other songs she’s never heard. Between each one, she looked up at us through tears, held out her palm and waved it back and forth, saying “done done” through stifled tears. I felt horrible that it was so damn cute.

Eventually, the non-shiny, developmental toys sitting in front of her were no longer enough to hold her interest and it was either Mabel Meltdown or let her get up and leave. So we went to the other room and distracted her with meatballs and sweet potatoes, no doubt starting her down a path of eating to cover up her fears.

Once she was comparatively calm and had forgotten all about that scary fat bearded man, we decided to try to get her to take a quick picture with him. Maybe she won’t remember him from before. I felt the desperate squirming of an animal in peril as I carried her in the other room, much like trying to shove a dog in a pool. When she realized I was bringing her specifically to the fat man – not just back into that room – and doing it on purpose nonetheless! – she began to wail. But Jenn and I weren’t doing this for her. We were doing this for Future Mabel. And maybe a little for us. Because we’re good parents.

If grading on a purely binary scale, I would grade Mabel’s first real Santa visit as a success. Because it was funny and somebody got a picture they said they’d email me and because her deep-seeded hatred of fat men or her future eating disorders won’t be realized until much later. Until then, Merry Giftmas (or appropriate holiday)!

Why the hell would anyone do this to a baby?!?!?! PUT ME DOWN!!

Why the hell would anyone do this to a baby?!?!?! PUT ME DOWN!!

The Third Day of Giftmas: PYO Holiday Cards!

I know not everybody celebrates the same late December holiday, but some people get upset if you great them improperly. Need proof? Try saying “Merry Giftmas” to a nun. Or “Happy Chaka Khan” to a Rabbi. Or “Seasons Greetings” to anyone. For this reason, I’ve decided to forgo sending Christmas Giftmas Holiday cards this year. Instead, I’ve created 13 different versions of our Holiday card for everyone. Hopefully. Please print out your card of choice and send me the bill for the photo paper and ink. Thanks and I hope you all enjoy your… whatever you want to call it.

For the traditional Christian and everyone else without religious affiliation who still wants a fat man in a red suit to bring them stuff.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

For my two Jewish friends.

Happy Chanukah!

Happy Chanukah!

For the unlucky googler who typed the word “Kwanzaa” into their search bar and hit “Get Lucky.”

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Kwanzaa!

For people going to a work party.

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings!

For the people who think they’re being clever, but are really offending all real traditional Christians.

Merry Giftmas!

Merry Giftmas!

For the Jewish people with a sense of humor and all funk lovers around the world.

Happy Chaka Khan!

Happy Chaka Khan!

For people trying to be clever but slightly less offensive.

Merry Christmahanakwanzica!

Merry Christmahanakwanzica!

For the procrastinators.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

For those who don’t want to celebrate anything.

Have a nice day!

Have a nice day!

For my ex-girlfriends.

Look, I'm better than you!

Look, I’m better than you!

For the SERIOUS procrastinators.

Happy Valentine's Day

For the REAL serious procrastinator, I recommend you print the “Have a Nice Day” card.

You know who you are.

Merry Quiltbag!

It’s OK. A gay friend gave me the go-ahead.

For those who don’t want to be oppressed by words.

Happy Blank Day!

Happy Blank Day!

Please let me know if I missed anyone out there. I’d hate to think that there was someone who had a frame all picked out or a refrigerator with an empty 4×6 rectangular space who just couldn’t find the Dustin, Jenn and Mabel Holiday card for them. Write-ins are welcome. Thanks and enjoy whatever the hell you want to enjoy whenever you want to enjoy it.

The 2nd Day of Giftmas: What to Get Your 15-Year Old Cousin

I get it. It’s been a while since you’ve been 15. The world has changed. And you don’t want to be the uncool older cousin who buys a Christmas sweater or a humidifier that won’t make it out of the box for this kid who looks up to you.

Well, look no further! After extensive research (none at all) and several focus groups (he doesn’t know what a focus group is), I have come up with a step-by-step questionnaire to determine what to get for your 15-year old cousin.

The only graphic you'll need to see this holiday season

The only graphic you’ll need this holiday season

NOTE: This graph was made two years ago. Keep that in mind for all Miley Cyrus-related comments.