Celebrate the season but be careful what you wish for

December 15, 2003

Yes, Christmas is coming, making this an appropriate week for a holiday column full of cinnamon wit and Santa humor. Sorry, I'm just not feeling it. And frankly, most of the nation isn't, either. We are a mess of runny noses, coughs, stomach woes and general blahs. And, for any parent with more than one sick kid, throw in pounding headaches and doctor bills.

Bet you didn't ask for that in your stocking this year.

But look at what we did want at first: shorter lines, longer school vacations, smaller love handles ... oops. Maybe we do get what we wish for.

I know it's difficult to see a good side to anything when you've been looking at the bad side of a trash can for two days, but 'tis the season of magic. With enough DayQuil and eggnog, miracles can happen. I swear. It only takes a little creativity to brighten up your sick bed.


Start with your box of tissues. A little glue, some cheap sequins and a lot of imagination can transform your standard issue tissue box into a Vegas-inspired Santa box that sheds glitter on the carpet.

OK, so tissues are not exactly holiday material. But at least the carpet will look exciting. Like a miniature of the Vegas strip when you're crawling to the bathroom.

Another great activity for the health-impaired is making ornaments. A square of white paper can be turned into a snowflake, an orange into a clove ball, a bottle of cough syrup into a Nutcracker. It's not about perfection, it's about inspiration and imagination. And lots of glue.

For an old-fashioned Christmas feeling in the bathroom, place evergreen boughs around the medicine cabinet. You'll get to enjoy the lush foliage every 4-6 hours, or as your doctor recommended.

Just remember the key to successful evergreen use is to check for squirrels first. While they could, in theory, be a cute addition to a Christmas tree, there's a reason they are not welcome at the North Pole. Santa has seen the Christmas movie classic, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." He knows they're evil.

If you feel up to the challenge, you could decorate your family pets in Christmas cheer instead. Keep in mind Super Glue or staples should not be used in this process. Of course, telling your wife you accidentally glued the cat to the twinkle lights is a great excuse to get out of future pet care.

To save you the trouble of self-pet decoration, there are now Christmas costumes on the market for your dog or cat. This season, pets can wear little Santa hats or red and green sweaters, much like tiny, hairy children.

Depending on the level of your pet's self-respect, prepare for violence if you make them wear antlers. But you can wear them. You're sick, you deserve a little self-indulgence.

Some antlers, a little glue and a lot of eggnog and Christmas might not be so bad. As I said, 'tis the season for miracles.

But next time, let's watch what we wish for, OK?

Emily Burton is a staff writer for The Advocate.|12/12/03***

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