Holiday Season Advice Column

Meiya Weeks and Elijah Sippel

How should I pick a white elephant gift?

The name of the gift exchange game originates from Siam, modern-day Thailand, where the king would give the annoying people in his life an albino elephant so as to also kindly share the gift of the unbearable financial burden associated with keeping the gentle giant alive. In the original spirit of the game, you have two options:

One, pick a gift as close in shape and size to a white  elephant as possible. Obviously, if you have the funds to import a living, breathing, albino elephant from Thailand, do that!

Two, consider a suspiciously large teapot or a stay-puft marshmallow man costume. Sign them up for a subscription to Elephant World magazine (be sure to use their credit card information)! Cancelling one’s subscription to this elephantidae digest is notoriously difficult—perfect for that fatuous friend who aggravates you to no end!

How do I cook a Christmas ham?
As a kid, I was always insecure about my culinary skills. In seventh grade, the salad I made for my cousin’s bar mitzvah sent a shockwave through the Jewish community. I haven’t been invited to one since. That same holiday season, I resolved to tackle my cooking problem once and for all. After countless sleepless nights, stress acne, and a few run-ins with the Cambridge fire department, I stumbled across the perfect recipe just in time for Christmas. This dish saved my grades, reunited my parents, and motivated me to spend my weekends volunteering with the Red Cross.

I’ve now been making this recipe for my aunt’s kids since the day they popped out of the womb. Now, they’re both
6’5 in 4th grade. I’m sure it will fundamentally change your life like it did mine. Be sure to tag me on Instagram @foodfetish if this recipe helped you!

How do I write a family newsletter?
There are actually a few unwritten rules you’ll want to keep track of as you write about the year’s ups and downs.

Rule #1: Don’t mention the downs.

Rule #2: Hyperbole is everything.

Rule#3: Contrast the kids’ ages with the magnitude of their achievements.

The Register Forum is committed to your holiday success, so we’ve created a fill-in-the-blank template for you to use! “Great news from the _________ (family name) family in our 2021 newsletter! (child 1 name), (child 1age), is training day-in and day-out with hopes of making the all-star team this year. They have since developed a stunning six-pack and massive biceps. (child 2 name), (child 2 age), recently discovered a cure for cancer in their free time between volunteering at the Cambridge fire department and self-studying for 12 AP exams.

What should I do if carolers knock on my door?

You have a door. Shut it.

I put a Santa up on the roof last week, but it has since broken through the skylight, dragging my metal reindeer down with it. I didn’t mind seeing a Rudolph nose poking out of the kitchen island, but it has since started an electrical fire. What should I do?

Cambridge Fire Department: 617-349-4900.

This piece also appears in our December 2021 print edition.