Sean's Guide to Gift Giving . . .

Welllll, Black Friday is behind us. Small Business Saturday has concluded and only Cyber Monday stands between us and the grind of the "holiday season." I hope you're making the most of maxing out your credit cards, draining your patience, and piling crap, especially chosen, for people you "love" good and high.

They're going to appreciate it. Really. For at least 30 minutes. Or until the next gift is opened. Truly. Yes. Get the fancy wrapping paper and the ribbon with the bendy wire in it so the bow can be "just so." Seriously. I whole-heatedly endorse this. And don't just take a square of wrapping paper as the gift tag. Nope. Get the cute ones that coordinate with the paper for another $1 each.

Yes. Tis' the season indeed. Here's what your favorite contrarian is doing this holiday season . . . I'm doing every drop of my holiday shopping (beside for my daughter and niece that won't appreciate my spiteful ways and should not any more than the rest of you) at Dillons (nope, not a possessive s) Marketplace.

WHAT? You exclaim. POPPYCOCK! You shout (and for that, I salute you). THIS BOY'S DONE LOST HIS DAMNED MIND! You espouse. Nope. My sanity is right here - in my breast pocket.

Here's my thinking . . . I'm going to go to Dillons. Get a bunch of cheese wedges, a box of Triscuits, and maybe some of their super-absurd donuts that are glazed, frosted, dipped in crushed cereal, and then accented with frosting dollops. I'm going to get double fuel points for some of the purchases and then I'm going to pick a handful of folks and make a point to spend 30 or 45 minutes with them during the month of December. I'll customize the gifts, to be clear. Make them special for each person . . . so-and-so likes a soft cheese, that person is part of my Hummus Nation, some of you assclowns can't have any gluten so you'll require alternative crackers, and there are a handful of you that will require booze, sweet desserts, or both.

Here's what the rest of you will get - an actual, honest to it HOLIDAY CARD. Yes. One requiring stamps and a good, ballpoint pen. I haven't mailed true holiday cards since 2003 but I'm bringing sexy back. NO group text messages, NO awkward, pre-written "newsletters" about my family's happenings (newsflash - my family failed in 2012 and we'll allllll be happier for it by this time 2013). No photos where Ava wrestles Lily and the stupid cat she and Joy love so bad in front of a mantle with stockings hung with care. NONE of that is real life (as cute and appreciated as those cards/photos are, folks (keep 'em coming - and let me know if you need my new mailing address). Nope. Cards. With individual notes where I'll wish you a customized greeting and spell words wrong I should not botch.

And if you get NOTHING from me this holiday season beyond a generous smile, a hug of appreciation for your friendship, and a genuine wish for great things to come in 2013 - don't worry, I still love you best.

Put DOWN the credit cards, folks. STOP stressing over what shade of pashmina your wife will love best. Your husband does not need any more power tools. Those kids will be more than happy with one or two toys, a sweater, and a book to nourish the soul. Your every acquaintance does not need you to write something sweet to them on their Facebook wall. You need not Tweet out your deepest, most condensed holiday greetings (in hopes of a RT, no less). You don't need to spend every waking moment driving yourself crazy this December. None of it matters if it is not genuine, from the heart, and within your means.

Take three hours. Sit on your couch. Put on a holiday movie or CD that makes you happy. Write cards. Take 30 minutes each night in December and make three, 10 minute phone calls to friends you can't see in person. Make plans to see those you can. Just an hour. Everyone is busy. Enough time to sit, chat, enjoy each other. MOST IMPORTANTLY - Enjoy yourself, your family, your home, your best self. THAT is the reason for the season - reflection, appreciation, extension.

Now - if you'll excuse me - I'm going to fight a total stranger over a Cabbage Patch Kid.