X-mas FAQ

Should my family make a photo holiday card or just do the classic Hallmark thing?

No matter how crappy a photo card is, 90 percent of recipients will save it their entire lives. Hallmark cards are completely pointless and will be in the recycling bin on Dec. 26 by noon.

Kids are so cute. Should I just use a picture of my children on my card?

Your kids are indisputably adorable. There is no question about that. The thing is: Christmas is not the time of year to flaunt the loveliness of your offspring. It's time to show off what a square, grown-up dweeb you are. That's why the whole family needs to be in your photo.

The holiday season is a time of giving, and what you have to give is how stupid you look in that awful sweater your mom bought for you in the early stages of her dementia. Put it on. Make sure your kid is dressed in something that advertises a fad that will be over by next Christmas.

If your family photo doesn't invoke a hard belly laugh at your expense, and get funnier with each passing year, you are doing something wrong. Don't let your public down.

I don't have kids. Should I send out a picture of my dog?

Only if you dress up your dog and pose with it.

Should I write a letter to enclose with the card, detailing our family vacation and information on junior's grades?

Make sure it's several pages long and doesn't leave out a single detail. Also, I highly recommend writing your letter in verse with a lot of forced rhymes in it.

I feel overwhelmed by the number of gifts I'm expected to buy. What can I do to simplify?

People who love you don't depend on you for gifts. The only reason to give them something is because you want to. If you find it stressful, don't do it. Or, just buy a lot of socks. You can buy a sack full of socks at one store in 15 minutes. Everyone needs new socks.

What about my kids?

Kids are easy. Buy them anything you see advertised on television. They will love it.

What about my wife?

According to Jewelers of America, the national association of retail jewelers, you should spend 93 percent of your annual income on a present for your wife. What's complicated about that?

Paul Lundgren is a newspaper columnist and a very nice man. His e-mail address is mail @ paullundgren.com.