The Dictator O’ Christmas


XmasTo many, this is the most wonderful time of the year (you can pry my cliches from my cold, dead hands). Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and also – shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. And gifts. Who doesn’t love getting gifts?! Still, for some of us, this time of year is filled with darkness. And dictatorship.

Dictator (noun): a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.

Hello, my name is Pam, and I’m a recovering Dictator O’ Christmas. And let’s be real, the only reason I’m in recovery is because I don’t live at home any more and my younger siblings are no longer under my rule. Still, there was a time, long long ago, when my dictator tendencies were infamous and revered.

Thanksgiving Day was always the catalyst. Filled with turkey and stuffing and lots of pie, this cheerful day turned me red and green like the holiday hulk. Once I had my fill of pie, it was time to move on to advent calendars. Not eating them, but making them, and not for crafting fun or to show off artistic abilities (because maybe some of us don’t have artistic abilities, okay?), but to start the countdown.

As the days carried us into December, my methods grew stricter. There was a Christmas Eve regimen, you see, and I spent days, no, years perfecting it. In the days leading up to December 24th, I made sure that each one of my soldiers (read: younger siblings) were fully trained and battle ready.

First and foremost, there was the completion of the Christmas Movies Must Watch List. We’d make our way through this list, not for enjoyment or viewing pleasure, but because we had a quota to fill. The CMMWL has at least half a dozen firm watches, but no movie was more important (or mandatory) than A Christmas Story. A gem always saved for Christmas Eve, and some years, it wouldn’t just get a cursory watch, but an extra viewing or two.

But the movies were child’s play compared to showtime. That’s right – Christmas Eve. December 24th. The big two-four. In the days leading up to this pivotal moment, I’d relentlessly review our game plan with the troops:

Pajamas: Each of us needed to have special Christmas pajamas ready and waiting for Christmas Eve. Pajamas that were approved by the Dictator O’ Christmas, because this wasn’t just some cute or sweet tradition but preparation of our battle attire.

Sleeping in the same room: The dictator took no chances. The dictator trusted no one. Hence, we all bunked in the same room. Under my control. And you best believe I didn’t start collecting my Zzzzs until everyone else was out cold.

No peeking: Oh this was a firm one. If there was one part of the game plan you did not want to disobey, it was this. I made sure my troops knew this rule inside and out: if you peeked and tried to see your gifts or the fat man in red before Christmas morning, all of your gifts would disappear. That’s it. End of story. This wasn’t just some sappy warning based on love, but a tried and true scare tactic. ::insert maniacal laughter::

Wake up call: Most years we’d wake up around 6AM. No exceptions. We’d get up and quietly make our way to the kitchen. We’d take turns in the bathroom and brushing our teeth (cause ew morning breath) and make tea for my mom and coffee for my dad. If we, the troops, decided to indulge in a cookie or six, there was no one there to stop us.

The lineup: Ah, the most important and rewarding part of the game plan. The end of the game plan actually. Once mom and dad were all sorts of caffeinated, we’d line up in the hallway youngest to oldest. The parental units would storm the living room first and get situated, and then we’d start our long-awaited march.

To gifts.

To glory.

To victory.

But mostly just gifts.




Christmas Movies Must Watch List


CMMWLIt’s mid-December (say whaaaaat?!), and you know what that means…

Time to fix your eyeballs on your favorite holiday movies!

If you’re a fake!OCD freak like me, you may even have a trusty list of your go tos. And if you don’t, well, feel free to steal mine. Without further ado, I present to you my Christmas Movies Must Watch List:

A Christmas Story – A classic that invokes both hilarity and nostalgia. Not only is this a no exceptions Christmas must watch, but it must be saved for Christmas Eve. No changies.

Elf – I can’t help it. Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Buddy the Elf won me over, and now my holiday season isn’t complete without this gem.

Home Alone – John Hughes, Christopher Columbus, and Christmas?! We have a winner! I never ever tire of this film, and I still laugh out loud through the entire Kevin McCallister vs. the Wet Bandits showdown.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – Not all sequels are worth a watch, let alone a place on the  CMMWL, but Home Alone 2 is. You can pry my love for the end scene (Kevin + the two turtle doves gift + the homeless lady) from my cold, dead, Christmas loving hands.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon) – Jim Carrey is cool and all, but he has nothing on the classic cartoon. This is usually the first Christmas movie I watch once December hits.

Frosty the Snowman – Another cartoon classic. Happppy birthday!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – I have a soft spot for claymation, okay? I can’t help it. This is another classic I’ve been watching since I was a wee one.

Love Actually – I may or may not be a nerdbomber for rom coms. And a Christmas rom com at that?! Cannot resist. I love this movie. Love it, actually. (Hahahaha, I’m awesome, deal with it.) Between baby Andrew Lincoln sans zombies, and Hugh Grant as the ideal boyfriend, woo boy. This movie is totally worth having Bill Nighy’s voice singing about his fingers and his toes in my head for weeks after viewing. (Weeks, I tell you.)

The Family Stone – I just… ::flappy hand gesture:: love this one too. I know it gets a lot of flack, but I love the feels and the funnies and the great cast. Especially Dermot Mulroney (rowr).

The Santa Claus – Ignore the fact that this movie starts with unintentional murder, and it’s a heartwarming, fun Christmas classic! Also, Tim Allen and the 90’s, I mean, come on.

Honorable mention: Jack Frost – ‘Cause Batman haunting a snowman, okay?

You’re welcome. Also, happy holidays ❤