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'Pumpkin-Flavor Everything' And 9 Other Things A Kansas City Blogger Hates About The Holidays

Jen Mann

Mouthy blogger and New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann is at it again.

In her latest book, Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat, the Overland Park writer takes down "humblebraggers," elves and bell-ringers alike. 

Whether its her love/hate relationship with chocolate covered peanut butter balls, or her love/hate relationship with her kids being home on winter break, she's got something to say. 

Here is an excerpt from the book, in which Mann lists the things she hates most about the holidays:


"I am sure if you pressed me, I could come up with a few things I like about the holidays, but this book isn’t about what I like, now is it? Maybe that will be my next book. Ha! As if I could come up with that many pleasant things to say. Nah, I think I’ll just stick to what I do best: punch lists.

Pumpkin-flavor everything. Pumpkin lattes start showing up in August, and then it just snowballs from there. I don’t even like pumpkin in a pie, but no one wants to eat a pumpkin Popsicle.

Douchey dads who can’t take their kids trick-or-treating without pulling a wagon of beer behind them. What is the deal? This is a pretty easy job and isn’t very stressful. It takes a couple of hours to walk through the neighborhood, wave to the person at the door, and yell something like, “Anything good for me? Yuk, yuk, yuk.” Why do these dads feel the need to be hammered before they take on this job?

Shopping for gifts. I am not a thoughtful shopper. I’d love to give everyone a gift card to Target or Amazon and call it a day, but I’ve been told that’s not really fun for people to open on Christmas morning. (Side note to my family: I think those are great gifts. Feel free to give me a gift card anytime you’d like.) Another problem is that everyone on my list already has everything they want and/or need, or I can’t afford what they really want. For instance, the Hubs would like a new watch. Easy, right? Not so much. A Timex will not do for this man. He would like a two-thousand-dollar watch. Gomer would like a four-hundred-dollar Lego set, and Adolpha would appreciate half of the American Girl store. It’s not just them. I’ve got my eye on an eight-hundred-dollar Herman Miller Aeron chair that I’m pretty sure would help me write a Pulitzer Prize–winning novel.

The events. The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family. Everyone hosts a cookie exchange or a Christmas party or a special dinner, not to mention the winter parties and the concerts at school you’ve got to find time for. It’s funny, no one wants to hang out with me in June, but I’m booked from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. No wonder people are depressed when the holidays are over! You’re the belle of the ball all winter, but as soon as Valentine’s Day comes no one wants to see your face again until Halloween.

The food. I have a love/hate relationship with holiday fare. It’s so damn good, but it’s also so damn bad. I convince myself that eating twenty chocolate-covered peanut butter balls is perfectly fine because I only get them “once a year.” What other time of the year is it acceptable to sit down to a five-course meal and then eat the leftovers a couple of hours later with a piece of pie on the side? Every party has delicious food to stuff your face with. I’m sure there’s a veggie tray in the mix somewhere, but I never see it. Plus, who wants a celery stalk when you can have chocolate at every holiday celebration from Halloween to Easter?


Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR
Jen Mann blogs in Kansas about 'People I Want To Punch In The Throat.'

Anyone who gets offended if they aren’t wished the proper holiday. “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Joyous Kwanzaa,” “FelizNavidad,” “Wonderful Winter Solstice.” Whatever. At least someone took the time out of their day to say “Have a great holiday season” to you. There is no need to be a dick. You don’t have to get your hackles up because you don’t celebrate whatever holiday they’re wishing you. Just say thank you, asshole.

Christmas music everywhere. I’m certain there are more than fifteen Christmas songs, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you hear the same damn ones everywhere you go. It also annoys me that stores start playing them in October. I guess I kind of understand playing Christmas music in retail stores, because it’s a subliminal message to get people motivated to start their holiday shopping, but there are some places it really doesn’t make sense. For instance, I do not need, nor do I want, to hear “Away in a Manger” when I’m pumping gas. I have to fill up my tank regardless of the season. It’s not like listening to holiday music will make me say, “Ooh, it’s Christmastime, I think I need to upgrade to premium gas today. A little holiday splurge!”

Bell ringers who hound you. Hey, [expletive,] I gave when I went into the store. Don’t look for me to give on the way out, too.

Kids home on winter break. This is another love/hate one. Each year, come December I have visions of the four of us decorating the house, baking cookies, and making homemade gifts for our friends, our family, and the neighbors. Then I wake up on the first day of winter break and the kids are fighting with each other and whining for television and food. We try to decorate the tree, but their “help” just creates more fighting and stress, because they’re moving so slowly and I just want it to be done already. We never bake, because none of us can make a cookie that anyone would want to eat. Adolpha and I can work in the craft room for hours, but Gomer always finishes his projects in fifteen minutes and then complains he’s bored. And the Hubs refuses to join in on any of the memory making, choosing instead to take a nap.

Moving the Elf on the Shelf. Obviously."

From the book SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT by Jen Mann. Copyright © 2015 by Jen Mann. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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