This book of holiday essays should probably get the award for longest title on record. Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and Other Seasonal Scourges by bestselling author and blogger Jen Mann (take a deep breath here) is one of the snarkiest and funniest books I’ve read in a long, long time. The holidays can sabotage our desire to be good people when we least expect it and Jen just lays it all out there for the world to see, all those secret thoughts every adult has at one time or another when holiday stress gets the best of us. And she delivers it in bite-sized essays perfect for reading as you try to chill out after yet another holiday disaster waiting to happen raises your stress level to the max. And two of you are going to win a copy of your own to help you put a little more ho-ho-ho, or at least a secret chuckle, back into the holidays – so be sure to enter our giveaway!
“I wrote this book because I come from a long line of Christmas overachievers on my mother’s side of the family.”
You know you’re in for a ride when the Introduction to a book of holiday essays is entitled “Why I Hate the Holidays.” Who in their right mind would have an intro to a book about the holidays about why they hate them? Jen Mann is who and that intro sets the tone for the rest of the book. I laughed until I cried, I squirmed, and I identified far too well with some of the things Jen wrote about, even though I’m not a parent. Hint: She also includes embarrassing holidays from her childhood. Friends on Facebook who are parents, I thought of some of you and what you’ve shared that you go through during the holidays as I read this.
“It’s not my family’s fault, however, that I ended up so grumpy during the holidays. It’s not like I had to share a turkey with a drunk uncle or had a teenage cousin who said, ‘Please pass the potatoes, I’m pregnant’ during the Yuletide meal. So while we might not be fully dysfunctional, we are a bit…odd, as my mother would say…It’s not that I hate the holidays; I just despise all the nonsense that goes along with them.”
Jen is married to the Hubs and has two children, Gomer and Adolpha (not their real names, which she insists are even worse). And the Hubs is Chinese, which creates all kinds of fun cultural disconnects when it comes to holidays – or it’s even more likely that his family would be considered a bit weird no matter their heritage. And then there are the unrealistic expectations 21st century moms labor under – jeez, how does each generation manage to up the ante to the point that it creates a stress maelstrom?
Section One is Christmas Memories I’d Like to Forget, and contains the following essays:
Before Toddlers & Tiaras There Was Me
The White Trash Dollhouse
Like a Neon Virgin in Guess Jeans and Swatch Watches
The Dreaded Annual Christmas Photo
Doesn’t Everyone Wrap Christmas Presents in Their Underwear?
Hey, Santa, Keep Your Yule Log to Yourself!
Section Two is Making My Own Christmas Memories (Note: They Still Suck), and contains the following essays:
Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Raa, Ra-Ra-Ra-Raa: My Christmas Story
Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies
One Man’s Junk Is My Precious Children’s Gift
Wait. Who Is the Reason for the Season?
How Shopping With Me at Christmas Time Is the Best Birth Control There Is
Sometimes It’s Hard to Tell the Difference Between a Home Invasion and an Overzealous Crew of Christmas Carolers
You Can Keep Your Cookies, I’m Just Here for the Booze
Suburban Moms’ Endless Christmas Conversation Loop
I Should Have Had a Damn Holiday System
Annual Christmas Letters: The Art of the Humblebrag
Section Three is Other Holidays (That Still Annoy Me), In No Particular Order, and contains the following essays:
Why You Won’t Be Invited to Our Chinese New Year Party This Year, or Ever
Nice Halloween Costume. Was Skank Sold Out?
Thanksgiving Day Parades Suck When They’re Not in HD
My First and Last Mother’s Day Present
The Easter I Blew Gomer’s Mind
As the daughter of a mother who was a Christmas hoarder and fanatic, and who inherited that genetic tendency, I found myself laughing and blushing as Jen disclosed her battles with her mother’s Christmas hoarding, her shock at discovering herself doing things her mother did at the holidays she swore she’d never repeat, and her horror at discovering her daughter had inherited the Christmas hoarding gene.
I don’t think there’s a woman on earth, or at least in the U.S., who won’t be able to relate to many of these essays. Even if you don’t belong to a faith that celebrates Christmas, you still feel the pressure from your kids to be like those kids who do. Growing up, I was always jealous of my Jewish friends who I was sure got the most amazing presents for eight whole days, and they were always jealous of me for Santa Claus and what they imagined was a mecca of magical treasures all deposited while I was asleep on Christmas Eve. No one escapes the holidays and, for all we pretend otherwise, we’ve all got stuff about it – and Jen nails every one of those suckers to the wall. Booyah! If I were a young mom, this would be my present to all my friends. If I had a grown daughter with kids, she’d be getting this as my secret “Just to let you know that I know what it’s really like” gift.
Can’t wait to read it? Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat is available from your favorite online bookseller below. Grab a bunch of them to give your friends you wouldn’t want to punch in the throat. 😉
I’d love to get your comments on Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat , Jenn Mann and/or her other work, and/or this review.
Two lucky readers will win a copy of Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann! Please note: One reader will win a finished trade paperback copy and one reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy). Which will receive which will be decided by randomizer software.
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 12/12/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
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