Auld Lang Syne, the Hard Way

Happy New Year! Check out these various renditions of the holiday classic.

How to Behave at the Office Holiday Party

Don't end up in a YouTube video after your office holiday party! For more examples of office party "don'ts" check out these.

Handy Office Party Tips

Excellent advice!

Dancing With Myself

Elaine Benes alert! This boss doesn’t seem to notice she has lost her co-workers’ support.

Loss of R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Back to the cubicle for you!

Ungracious Gift Recipients, Part 2 (Videos)

Parents of these children should be kicking butt and taking classes - parenting classes!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: Personal Favorites (Videos)

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: Where the worst comes in first!

Wait, is that a kitchen sink in the left armpit?

Yes, a ferret. That's what this one needs.

Just tell us about the weather, man!

The jingle balls sweater: just skip the first 30 seconds.

Ungracious Gift Recipients, Part 1 (Videos)

Presented in boy-girl-boy-girl order: Equal time for brats of both sexes.

Hellish Christmas Tree Sagas (Videos)

Tackling the Tree

You have to wonder what this guy was thinking. New rule: you spill, crush, break, smash or otherwise destroy it, you clean it up.

Cutting the Christmas Cord

Word to the wise: before you cut the twine that's holding your Christmas tree together, it's a good idea to watch which way it's leaning. Because they're always leaning.

Setting up for Christmas

Two sisters share their Christmas, setting up the tree for their parents. Next, they learn how to dress themselves properly.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: The Musical (Videos)

Ugly Christmas sweaters inspire artists of all kinds.

Hellish Holiday Office Parties (Videos)

Self-Employed Office Christmas Party

The Secret Santa just isn't so secret...

Buried Alive at the Office Christmas Party

You might embarrass yourself, but it could always be worse. Make sure you behave at your office Christmas Party.

Apartment Christmas Party Gone Wrong

Proving you don't have to be blonde to act like a dumb blonde.

Sexy Single Ready to Mingle at Christmas Party

She's taking a cab and planning to overdo--plus on a manhunt at the office Christmas party. Sounds like quite the career-killing night. But at least no DUI.

Hellish Christmas Shopping (Videos)

Christmas Shopping at the Liquor Store

This one speaks for itself.

Ideas to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, having too little time may cause shoppers to get stressed out. Consumer forecasters project this will lead many to focus on the "one-stop-shopping" strategy.In other words, buy all your gifts at the supermarket!

A Shopping Tale of Three Brothers

Three brothers go Christmas shopping for their parents.

Hellish Christmas Crafts (Videos)

Trailer Park Christmas Fabric Softener Sheet

Jolene Sugarbaker, the Trailer Park Queen, teaches you a quick and easy Trailer Park Christmas craft: how to turn dryer sheets into a pretty white wreath. Jazz it up with some tinsel, some bows and some balls! Merry Trailer Park Christmas!

Make Your Own Christmas Cards

A unique approach to making something shiny. You have to admire this guy's creativity, even if the results are a little...disappointing.

White Castle Christmas Wreath

Hellish on so many levels.

Trailer Park Christmas Card Craft

Join the fabulous Jolene Sugarbaker ( as she shows you how to save money this holiday season by using Jehovah Witnesses pamphlets to make your own Christmas cards!

Get Decked: It's Not Just for Sweaters (Videos)

Mom's Christmas Jewelry

You'll never look at jingle bells the same way again.

Singing Ties

Ready to move beyond the Ugly Christmas Sweater? Try an Atrocious Christmas Tie!

Christmas Hats

Can't get into the Christmas spirit this year? Go out and a get a Christmas Santa hat!

Winning Tacky Christmas Sweater

The winning entry in the tacky shirt contest at a Christmas party.

Originally posted on December 13, 2008.

Christmas Sweaters

It's not just the halls that get decked this time of year. Have you noticed the explosion of holiday sweaters? And they're not just for little old ladies any more. Check out these Christmas sweater party videos on Hellish Holidays.

There's something about novelty clothes that just feels wrong to me. Reindeer, giant snowflakes, Mr. and/or Mrs. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, stockings (with or without a fireplace), nutcrackers, candy canes, mistletoe, nativity scenes, wreaths, adorable puppies and kittens with big red bows around their necks--all perfectly appropriate on cards and wrapping paper. All absolutely hellish on sweaters.

The ladies (and others) who wear these sweaters have made a conscious decision to face the world in a conversation piece. They have chosen to make a statement: "I love Christmas! Please love me. If you can't love me, at least talk to me. Here's a topic we can discuss: Christmas. Seriously, if you can look at this sweater and walk away without mentioning how cute the puppy is, well, you're just a Grinch and I hope you don't get what you want under the tree."

OK, maybe I'm imagining that they all just want to be noticed. What they're probably really saying is: "Thank God this still fits after all these years." Because you just know the same sweaters are trotted out year after year, party after party, Christmas Eve after Christmas Eve. After all, they're expensive. And one truly is enough.

Of course, with irony running rampant in our society, we are now seeing people in Christmas sweaters who aren't being sincere about their statement. They're saying something different with their sweaters. Maybe: "I like to think of Christmas as an extension of Halloween, and this is my costume. Boo!" Or: "I had to wear a tacky Christmas sweater to get into my friend's party. I'm not really feeling it. Although you have to admit, the puppy is pretty cute."

Does anyone know how the Christmas sweater trend started? I have a feeling the first one was something hand-knitted by a grandmother in Middle America. She got requests from friends, then branched out into one of those home businesses you're always hearing about. From there it snowballed into the dire situation we have today. Christmas sweaters for dogs. Hanukkah sweaters. Easter sweaters. Valentine's Day sweaters. Any holiday with a logo (e.g., a shamrock) is now a sweater day. Or, in the case of Christmas, it's a sweater month, because the first sightings happen just after Thanksgiving.

The worst offenders feature sequins, lights (for example, a light-up Rudolph nose) and three-dimensional decorations, such as miniature Christmas ornaments or the bow around that poor puppy's neck. But really, they're all pretty awful. A company called Susan Bristol Inc. even had to recall a line of Christmas sweaters with marabou feather trim: it was dangerously flammable.

There's an important lesson here: If you want to be festive, show some cleavage.

Originally posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Holiday Birthday Dilemma

My birthday is in December. I'm not complaining, at least not too much; after all, it's in the first week, not shared with Jesus. But still.

We December and early January birthdays are a special club. Only we know the dismay of the "combination gift," the back-burner treatment of presents, the celebrations postponed until "after the holidays" without a hint of the concept of "belated."

Of course, as I get older I'm just as glad to have my birthday get overlooked or combined with another, snazzier holiday. A nice dinner out, a piece of jewelry - once you're a grown-up, you can make these happen at will, making birthdays potentially redundant, right? In fact, why acknowledge them at all? Another year older and closer to death...

Except that some part of us never gets over the childlike excitement about birthdays. Your birthday is uniquely yours, a chance to celebrate YOU that just doesn't happen any other time in your adult life, other than on your wedding day or at a tribute dinner. There's something touching about that recognition, and everyone deserves to have it unimpeded by bigger events.

People with birthdays in late December or the first week of January have it the worst. They truly get lost in the shuffle, and would probably do well to celebrate their half-birthday six months later. So if you know someone whose birthday is within a week of Christmas or New Year's Day, make a special effort to acknowledge it. Be sure to buy a separate card, not just scrawl "& Happy Birthday!" on a Christmas card. Because a combination gift might actually work in the recipient's favor, but a combination card is just plain cheap.