Robert Kirby: Christmastime is here. Let the gift-hinting begin.

Robert Kirby

Tuesday is the first day of Christmas. I know because when I opened my door this morning, I found a jar of festive cookie spread on the porch. It was frozen solid.

Someone decided to get a jump on the holiday by delivering a Christmas treat on the last day of November.

I used a wood chisel to get enough out of the jar to put on a cracker. Placed next to a heat register, the rest will be fine in a couple of days.

This is just one of the many dangers of leaving Yuletide goodies on the porch. Not only is there a risk that the occupant won’t find the treat before it freezes solid, but it also might possibly be stolen by some vile Grinch or eaten by a passing dog.

Christmas treats are just more of the signs of the pending holiday. The first is stores marketing Christmas in October. Then come the lights on houses, usually around mid-November.

These are followed by Christians blathering about the birth of Christ even though the proclaimed date of his birth was actually filched from a pagan holiday. Best guess is the Roman Festival of Boar Snouts.

Know who was really born on Dec. 25? Singer Jimmy Buffett, actress Sissy Spacek, actor Humphrey Bogart, political consultant Karl Rove, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Rusev, a Bulgarian wrestler.

None of that matters because for most people — and, by this, I mean kids — Christmas is 25 days long. For them, “December” is synonymous with “Christmas.”

Christmas starts on the first day of the month and ends sometime around 4 a.m. on the 25th, when the last present is ripped opened and a plaintive voice asks, “Is that all?”

Proper preparation for the Big Day has nothing to do with treats, decorations or getting pine gum out of the carpet, and everything to do with presents.

Getting what you want for Christmas is a science perfected over the centuries from the first Boar Snout Festival. In some cases, it’s regarded almost as an art form.

Any kid under age 10 can tell you horror stories about asking Santa for that special gift. You might just as well ask a fire hydrant, for all the good it will do you.

Smart kids, including those who believe Santa is close to deity, know that parents and grandparents are the best bets. But caution is necessary.

I once told my father that I wanted a mortar for Christmas. Since I was only 9 years old, he thought he could shut me up with specifics.

Him • “Yeah? What kind of mortar exactly?”

Me • “Well, I’d really rather have the M2 4.2-inch mortar because the max range is nearly 4,000 yards, and I could hit school and the church with it. But since I know you won’t let me have one that big, a 60 mm will do until I get older and can buy my own ammunition.”

Turned out that what I wanted wasn’t nearly as dangerous as pestering him about it. When I wouldn’t stop asking, he locked me in the toolshed until it was time for church.

A word of caution for adults. Most kids aren’t so brazen. Once they can tell that you’re tired of hearing about something, they’ll resort to hints. These can be anything from mysterious phone calls and anonymous letters to subtle hints dropped by conspiratorial siblings and notes left in odd places.

Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to spend even a minute of the month of Christmas in a toolshed.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.

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