Cynical Dad to the Rescue! 9 December Dilemmas

Tricky Holiday Parenting Questions Answered

By Harry H Harrison Jr.


Parents of all stripes have to deal with a series of confounding questions this time of year.  Today, we will strive to answer most of them.

1. Should I stand in line for four hours so my 3-year old can talk to Santa at the mall? 

Let me rephrase this and I believe the answer is apparent. “How long should I stand in line with my three-year old to talk to Santa Claus when she won’t remember it day after tomorrow?” 


2. Should I stick to the spending agreement I made with the mother of my children?

My wife and I agreed not to spend more than $100 on each of us.  But I’m worried she won’t be happy with just new scissors, a scotch tape dispenser, a magnetic paper clip holder and a thong.  

When the most expensive thing you’ve bought your wife for Christmas is a thong, you should be worried. Never, ever honor the $100 agreement you made with your wife. It’s a setup. A husband should always take the agreed upon amount and triple it. At least.

RELATED 10 Rules for Couple Gifts


3. Should I serve liquor at our family Christmas dinner?

My wife’s brother is an alcoholic and last year started a fight with the turkey.

Serving liquor is fine if you have only one bottle to serve 10 guests. Anything more than one bottle invites problems with the teenagers and the uber-consumptionists.  And tell your brother in law not to bring his own liquor because you have it.


4. My teenage daughter wants an $800 purse for Christmas. What should I do?

Buy her a $50 purse and tell her to it’s a great place to save the $800 she’ll earn next year working at the Gap.

RELATED 10 Adorable Tween and Teen Girl Gifts Under $50 


5. When will my son be old enough for a bb gun?

When he’s 30.


6. My wife wants a mink coat for Christmas but wouldn’t a better gift be a 70-inch, 3-D flat screen LED 1080P TV to watch all the bowl games?

You have to ask?  


7. How long should I leave my Christmas lights up on my roof before the neighbors think I’m weird? 

I have personal experience here.  I’ve left my Christmas lights on the trees outside all year. True, I received odd glances through March, but then people assumed it was Easter decoration, then July 4th decoration, then Halloween decoration, and then Thanksgiving and I was home-free. 


8. What should I give my husband for Christmas?

You have to ask?


9. Last year everybody, everybody (and I mean everybody) returned the gifts I gave them for Christmas the next day. What should I do this year?

Buy them the same things. And keep buying them until they learn their lesson and at least have the decency to re-gift your gifts to other fortunate people.

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Harry H Harrison Jr. is a NYTIMES best selling parenting author with over 3.5 million books in print. He has been interviewed on over 25 television programs, and featured in over 75 local and national radio stations including NPR. His books are available in over thirty-five countries throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Norway, South America, China, Saudi Arabia and in the Far East. For more information visit

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