The Unwritten Rules: Special Holiday Edition


Merry Happy Holidays!

[I personally celebrate Christmas, because I firmly believe in me getting presents.]

Welcome to this very special Holiday Edition of The Unwritten Rules. Poor yourself a glass of boozy eggnog and relax by the fire!


You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Well, tough. There are CEOs who need YOU to help them get extra-nice yachts and islands for their unspoiled children by buying many things from their large corporations!

There are menorah to be lit! Stockings to be hung! Naughty children to be yelled at! Relatives to visit! Halls to be decked! Decks to be slipped on because they were icy but it’s that dark kind of ice and you didn’t notice!

So to help you cope with the stress, I’ve made up a list of handy-dandy rules to help you avoid any embarrassing faux pas:

  • Do not bring up anyone’s drinking problem, unless of course you yourself have now “had a few,” and suddenly think it’d be a good idea to just “clear the air”


  • Cat’s tails are not to be stepped on, EVEN IF you’ve already had a few special holiday drinks. Sometimes cats will be tripped over, but that’s to be expected.


  • Anyone will tell you that when relatives visit, it’s best to avoid topics of religion, politics, or anything which one can have an opinion on. Is this true? Yes, it’s true. …But social norms can be adapted. Why not set up a cute little boxing ring as the centerpiece for your living area? It’s a conversation topic, it really “pulls the room together,” and it can allow dueling relatives to release their aggression in a healthy way while SIMULTANEOUSLY providing entertainment and staying out of the way. [note: If you think that this is “not classy,” just remember that anything, no matter how distasteful from a distance, can become nostalgic and accepted simply by labeling it a “Tradition.”]


  • It is unacceptable to give someone a present “wrapped” in the crumpled paper bag in came in. HOWEVER, a simple bow or a sharp piece of holly can add the right touch.


  • Parents: No, you may NOT buy a Christmas tree on January 2nd. No matter how great the tree is. If you buy a tree before December 5th, it is allowed to be small and/or ratty, because your children get to enjoy it for an extended period of time. [A handy holiday tip: if your tree doesn’t have a strong scent, try putting a piece of cod or salmon amidst the branches. The smell will permeate the entire house before long! If you want a more traditional “pine” scent, maybe you should have bought a better tree.]


  • Be careful of re-gifting! I keep a thorough chart of who has given me what lousy gift throughout the years. I’m thinking of becoming a millionaire with my patented iphone “Gift (Cr)App” which tracks and sorts this for you.


  • Do not give someone a present simply because YOU want it, unless you’re very sneaky about it. For example, if your sister needs a new pair of shoes, get her one. Then claim you didn’t know she was a size 7, and you thought she’d said she wanted men’s dress shoes. Then offer to take them back.


  • It is not classy to ask your relatives to pay the highly expensive postage it cost you to send them their very cheap presents.


General Holiday Tips and Tricks 🙂

  1. Stay classy!
  2. Be sassy!
  3. You cannot sing four-part carol harmonies by yourself
  4. Do you enjoy the finer things in life but don’t have the budget for it?  Invite yourself to as many holiday parties as possible, show up with cheap wine (or say, “I made homemade cookies decorated to look like the cast of The Great British Baking Show, but I accidentally left them on the bus”). Then eat everything.
  5. Watch The Great British Baking Show: Holiday Special, and enjoy the tasty and tasteful treats the bakers spend hours crafting, as you stick your hand repeatedly into a bag of store-bought cookies shaped like stars.


May you have a cozy and restful holiday season!

On Poop, Carrying it with You

I realized this yesterday, when I had to double back to the park to throw away a bag of poop for the dog I had just walked.

Unwritten rule:

  • You can carry poop with you in a bag. Totally fine. Totally cool. In fact, it’s a positive thing because it means you didn’t leave poop on someone’s lawn or for someone to step in.
    • Still…hard to believe that in a society which considers pooping to be a very private activity, that it’s accepted to pick it up and carry it with you.

Unwritten Rules, The

[Now in written form, for your convenience]

You learn new things everyday, and I will be updating my list as needed:

  • Don’t bring a cow to work
  • Don’t walk backwards
  • Don’t write down the unwritten rules

The Unwritten Rules

[now in Written form, for your convenience]

This is a list which is long overdue. It will be added to approximately whenever I think of a new thing. Also feel free to send in a comment if you have a rule to add to the list!


Unwritten Rules, The:

  • ALWAYS notice AND comment on someone’s haircut
    • even if their hair looks exactly the same as it always does, and you never look at other people anyway
  • When someone asks “How are you?” it is acceptable to respond with one of the following:
    • good
    • fine
    • ok
    • not bad
    • hey! how are you?
  • It is NOT acceptable to respond with
    • terrible
    • who the hell are you?
    • can’t you tell, dumbo?
    • I am currently experiencing an emotional crisis
    • ogga-booga-booga

note: thankfully, this norm is breaking the in Pacific Northwest. I now consistently tell people that I’m doing terribly, and have been met with some very positive responses.

  • Do NOT tell someone you’ve never met that they are damaging their child for life, even if they are damaging their child for life
  • Do not play the guitar after 10:15pm, the Saxophone after 11:30pm, or the drums after 1:30am
  • If you are in a boring meeting, it is unacceptable to throw paper clips into the air as a distraction and escape out the window.
    • It is appropriate, however, to fall asleep at the table, but ONLY IF you bring your own blanket and pillow.
  • Do not roll around on the sidewalk in front of your house or eat grass to see what it tastes like
    • And why not, exactly?? There’s no good reason.

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