Here they come.
Like a tsunami rolling towards us from the distance, wearing tap shoes and carrying a stopwatch it’s…THE HOLIDAYS! Wake up people! Start revving up the credit cards and chucking those diets – it’s the hap-happiest time of the year. ?
“Can you believe it?” I hear people saying, “The holidays are here!” Yeah, I can believe it, especially when I saw Christmas and Hanukkah decorations out in September. ?But don’t get me wrong – I ADORE the holidays. I don’t let the inflated prices and tempting gift baskets with all the stuff I love in them and want to keep for myself get to me. Nor, as a once moneymaking realtor, do I let my 75% decrease in income since the real estate market tanked dampen my holiday spirit. And I am certainly not upset that I was forced to look for work elsewhere, in a totally unrelated field selling laboratory casework and fume hoods (don’t ask) for a distributor an hour’s drive from where I live. Ditto for the fact that I also decided to go to yoga school earning myself a yoga teacher certification, which entitles me to further reap a fraction of my former income, albeit wearing cute form-fitting outfits.
?Nothing is getting me down this helliday, I mean holiday season. I am a positive thinker – and I have all the Wayne Dyer, Jerry and Esther Hicks, and Deepak Chopra CDs to prove it. I listen to them every day on my two-hour commute to and from my job while dodging gravel trucks, 18-wheelers and various overly testosteronized Latin guys driving their souped-up Honda Civics on Florida’s Turnpike.
?Listen, like many of you, I’ve thought about just quitting my jobs and finding some other way to get money – like robbing a bank. Dumber people than me have done it. Trouble is, I don’t have a good getaway car. I drive a Volkswagen Beetle. It’s yellow with a gray convertible top and has a license plate that says ‘Buttercup.’ What loser would rob a bank using a Beetle called Buttercup as the getaway car? I’d make better time driving an eggbeater named Ernie. And how much dough can I shove in a Beetle? Two, maybe three hundred - tops? I can see myself in the bank pointing my fake gun at the teller and shouting, “Big bills only! I don’t have any room dammit!”
But back to the holidays and my positive thinking. So, even though I may be a little short on cash, I can still do my ‘Holiday Theater Night’ in style – I just have to make a few modifications in my budget, that’s all. You see, every year me and my friend Ramona Jean Parker, from the great state of West Virginia, get together and see the theater production of our choice as a keen holiday present to ourselves. We always try to see The Nutcracker (a loving term my dad would call my mom around the holidays when she would, for the hundredth time, ask him when he was going to put up the goddamn Christmas lights).
Back to the budget. Ramona Jean and I decided we cannot (must not!) give up our theater night, so we found a few ways to cut costs while still enjoying glad tidings. Let’s discuss gifts.
Many of my female friends and family members love expensive perfumes, and I would greatly enjoy bestowing them with these aromatic treasures, but since they cost more than my cable bill, I needed to find an alternative. Much to my delight, I did! At The Dollar Store! Or The Mecca for Misers, as I call it, the promised land for penny pinchers where one can purchase scads of cheaply made ceramic statues, generic greeting cards and obscure brands of food that appear to be labeled in hieroglyphs. “It’s a dollar! How can you go wrong?” is the commonly heard war cry.
One of the best and I’m sure most popular items The DS sells are the ‘imposter brand’ perfumes and colognes. These little beauties mimic the designer names and are purported to smell exactly (if you don’t actually inhale) the same. The marketing is brilliant. The display says stuff like, “If you love “Beautiful,” you’ll like…Slightly Attractive. If you love “Eternity,” you’ll like…A Long Ass Time. If you love “White Diamonds,” you’ll like…Marginally Yellowed Rhinestones. If you love “Opium,” you’ll like Craque. Or something like that. How can you go wrong? Cha-ching stays in my pocket.?
Another clever ruse is to collect boxes and bags from upscale stores and fill them with merchandise purchased at The DS. With enough tissue paper around it, nobody’s really going to notice that the ceramic elf with the one eyeball painted a little too big, didn’t actually come from Saks. Just mention it’s “hand painted” and no two are alike. People enjoy one-of-a-kind items. (Just make sure you take the little oval ‘Made in China’ sticker off the bottom). The DS is a great place for stocking stuffers, too. I was fortunate enough to find a dozen watches with Jesus’ face on them. Now every time one of my friends asks, “Jesus! What time is it?” they’ll know. ?
And in the meantime, as an extra treat and a prelude to our big night out, Ramona and I have decided to rent It’s a Wonderful Life and watch it with the sound turned off making up our own dialogue in the voices of Snoop Dog and Missy Elliot. I can’t wait for the part where James Stewart gets to say “for shnizzle-toe the mizzle-toe” and Donna Reed tells him to “getch ur freak on.” ?
And there you have it – money saving tips that will allow you a wonderful night at the theater. No matter what your budget, never give up entertainment and a good time – it’s what keeps us alive and hopeful. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a new outfit for my big night and I hear Publix just started selling dresses – right near the Cheez-its. Buying clothes in Publix – just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.??
And That’s The View from This Yule Tied One On Broad.
Anna Collins is a standup comedian and co-host of the Boomer Humor Radio Show heard every Monday from 4 -5 PM EST on www.Talkzone.com. You can see her on YouTube under Anna Collins Comedian or her websitewww.AnnaCollinsComedian.com.