Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are trying to recuperate from all that Christmas shopping and decorating and consumption of Christmas spirits, so we are running our “Ring in the New Year” piercing special, wherein we will insert a ring most places you might want to put one, although there are a few places we won’t go. We do have standards here. Also, we are running our “New Year’s Hair Resolution Surprise” special wherein we will give your hair a new color from an unmarked package of dye. We got a real good deal on some unidentified colors, and we will pass on our savings to y’all. You just might be surprised at how good you’ll look, or at least you’ll be surprised somehow. Now lessee what we got in the mail:
Dear Ida B. This Christmas I got a lot of nice presents that I can’t use and I’m too embarrassed to ask the givers where they bought them or if I can have the receipts to return them. What should I do?—Overly Gifted
Dear Over-burdened: I have addressed the issue of re-gifting before, so pay attention this time. This is how re-gifting works. I hope you carefully unwrapped your gifts and didn’t just rip them open. You can save a bundle by reusing the wrappings. Before you start the re-gifting process, make a note of who gave you what, what it was wrapped in, and what color ribbon it had. Iron out all the paper and ribbon so it looks more or less new. Carefully alter the gift tags so the “from” is changed to “to” on each tag and vice-versa. Decide who you think would like which present, or at least who will take what you give them. Then wrap that present in paper that the recipient didn’t use and tie with a ribbon that wasn’t used with the original wrapping. Add the newly-altered gift tag. Do this for all the gifts that you got. If you are lucky, everything will come out even and your Christmas gifts are taken care of eleven months early, and it didn’t cost you a cent. You might want to make notes of who’s getting what (some folks who have been doing this for years and who have a lot of friends keep a computer database) so you won’t make any mistakes when you re-gift the following year. Once you get in the swing of things, you can keep passing gifts around until they become valuable antiques. An alternate way of re-gifting is to not open any of your gifts at all when you get them, especially if in-laws that you don’t much like gave them to you and you have no faith in their taste whatsoever. Just put on new tags that assign each giver a different gift than the one they gave. Of course, a problem is that they might all be doing the same thing as or that some of the gifts might be perishable food items, but that is just a chance you have to take.
If all of y’all would just get each other gift certificates for services here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop, everybody would be happy with what they got and there wouldn’t be none of this re-gifting necessary. After all, who can’t use either beauty services or bait, or a combination thereof?
Dear Ida B. How do you store an artificial Christmas tree so it will look nice the following year and not all bent out of shape?—Neat Freak
Dear Freaky: You don’t. You take the decorations off and store them. Then you get a nice pot and stick the undecorated tree in it. For the next eleven months, it will be an artificial houseplant. If you want to do something seasonal with it, hang some hearts on it in February, some shamrocks on it in March, some eggs on it in April, etc., but that really isn’t necessary.
Dear Ida B. What are the odds that we’ll have a snowy winter this year?—Weather-watcher
Dear Needs Watching: The odds of anything—whether it’s the weather or whether it’s getting away with something you ought not be doing—are always 50-50. Either it will or it won’t. The exception to the 50-50 odds is the work we do down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, where odds are good that you will look much better when you leave than when you came in. Thanks to the industrial-quality hairspray we use, your new hair-do will stand up to the fiercest winter winds and will be able to hold its shape under several inches of snow if we get any and if you don’t have sense enough to go inside during a blizzard.
Dear Ida B. I just decorated my basement rec room for our New Year’s Eve party. I had to take down all them red and green streamers that we had up for the Christmas party and replace them with blue and white streamers for New Year’s. My husband and kids are always wanting to celebrate holidays but they are too busy to help with decorating. What can I do?—Too Busy Mom
Dear Over-worked: The idea is to leave up some of the old decorations. Never take down the white streamers at all. After New Year’s, take down the blue and add red for Valentine’s Day. Then take down the red streamers and add green for St. Patrick’s Day. Leave the white and green up and add yellow and blue for Easter. Then take the green and yellow down and add red for Fourth of July. You get the idea. If someone is having a wedding at your house, try to get the bridesmaids to wear dresses in whatever color is already hanging up. That shouldn’t be difficult because one of the rules of throwing a wedding is that bridesmaids have to dress tacky to make the bride look better.