Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The Book of (Holiday) Awesome" by Neil Pasricha

As I was straightening up the shelves at the big library the other day, I came across this wonderful little offering from Pasricha. If you read this blog, you know I have read his first book of Awesome, as well as the sequel, and have highly recommended both. I missed this one when it was first published, and since it's been hotter than you-know-where lately, I thought I'd treat myself to some Christmas in July awesomeness.

I should have known that Pasricha would offer up more than yuletide greetings; the man has covered almost all the holidays in this little book. We start off with the biggie, the one that most wait for all year long: Christmas. And while it's one of our favorites, Pasricha also points out that it can be (and often is) one of the most stressful holidays around. Let's face it: we put some might high expectations on Christmas, no thanks in part to those holiday movies and specials we watch every year on TV, the ones that show angelic children and loving families gathered around the table to enjoy the perfect meal. No one mentions that at least one of those kids is a brat, that Uncle Louie drinks like a fish, that Aunt Edna will hit on cousin Shirley's date, etc. Nor will we get that perfect meal, as the turkey is either dry or cold (you've gotta give that big bird plenty of time to thaw!), the potatoes are lumpy (as is the gravy), and no one is exactly sure what the dish is that Grandpa Phil brought. There's always a fight, sometimes two or three, followed by tears and "I love you, man!" make-up hugs. Pasricha wants to make sure that in this time of holiday drama, we all remember the little awesome things that make Christmas....well, Christmas. Things like having all the lights work the first time you plug them in, the first snowfall of the season, a card from a long-lost friend, and hot chocolate by the fireplace. Look for the little things, and you can (hopefully) ignore all the rest.

We move on to New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, summer fun (no 4th of July here, just a chapter on fireworks, since the author is, I believe, Canadian). Then we hit the biggie, Halloween. Love the author's advice on how to hit this holiday up for maximum fun and candy takedown. For example, do not trick-or-treat with a group. Nope, wrong way to go: the slowest person will drag you down, plus when you hit a house, the "giver" will suddenly decide to ration the goodies (the old "one for you, and one for you, and one for you...") Instead, go with a partner to maximize the haul. The "givers" are a lot more likely to give out a handful to each bag if just two little ghosts show up at the front door. But be wise when picking said partner - don't choose anyone with less energy than you. You're looking for someone on your playing field, not someone that you'll have to lift up. Conversely, stay away from the track stars, too - you don't want to get left behind.

Finally we end with Thanksgiving, which seems a bit strange since again, I do believe the author is Canadian, and I didn't know they celebrated that holiday with us. Thought it was just us Americans. But perhaps there's something similar and around the same time for our neighbors to the north? Either that or the guy just likes the idea. Anyway, lots of good advice on how to sneak in a nap at the in-laws, getting to unbutton your pants after dinner, and of course, The Turkey Coma.

Another nice little offering from Pasricha. If you haven't checked out his blog, you really need to do yourself a favor and explore his site. The world is still a dreary place right now (economic uncertainty, unemployment, gas prices, Mid-East unrest, you name it), and Pasricha does an awesome job at reminding us to look around and appreciate the little things that bring a smile to one's face, even if it's just for a minute.

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