Oh, on Christmas morning you woke up, walked downstairs and opened presents while your parents watched? How quaint. Did they say they love each other? Was there hot coco? How adorably old fashioned! Well, I'd love to chat about it, but I need to get going. I'm due at my step aunt's in 30 minutes. Mom's already got the car warmed up.

But hey, nice talk. I hope you enjoy whatever you do for the rest of the day while I'm literally getting bruised from all these hugs. Cause I'm just getting started, really. After this and my step aunt's, I've got a 12:30 at my dad's and then an early dinner at one grandparents' and a late dinner at the other. So, really, and I mean this, have fun sitting around all day.
Jetsetting all over these suburbs, I'm just a busy kid in high demand. People want to see me, and I do not disappoint. There are some sacrifices, of course. I don't have time for small talk, can't act faux-nice to weird 3rd cousins. I never get a chance to stare at a wall for hours or whatever you do after your presents are opened. But you know what? You know what? I'm okay with that. That's just not my thing anymore now that I'm a star. There are eight families waiting to greet me. I got to move, got to make my appearances. Mom drops me off and everyone gives me a hug, I eat a couple cookies, chug some nog, tear open those gifts, and bounce. Kid Out. "Next Stop, Mom!"

So let's compare what we got: Your one lame baby Christmas with one little baby cluster of presents versus my eight Christmases with eight gift openings. Hmm, I just did some quick math and it looks like my Christmas just won. I got more weight in wrapping paper than you got in presents. I got so many Lego sets, I could build a new Star Wars themed Christmas block by block that trumps your little refugee camp celebration. You humming Bing Crosby? I'm caroling Jock Jams, kid. You'll be finishing up with your associates degree by the time you have as many Christmases as I have every year.
Whoa. Sorry about that. Things got real for a second. It's not that your Christmas is bad. It's just that mine is better. Different tiers, is all. Different goals. I reach for the prize and I got the magic to do it. Want to know my secret? Two words: Custody Battle. Best thing that ever happened. Love's been replaced with guilt, family switched with presents. Which parent is better? Hmm, I don't know, maybe an objective comparison on gift quantity might help? Do I like the new step-dad? Let me just fill out this present rubric I've prepared. Your Christmas? That's boring, that's gone. Welcome to the Battle Ground. The floor cluttered with ribbons and empty cans of caffeinated soda I'm not supposed to have as my parents fall over themselves struggling to prove their worth in blatant consumerism. You think I care about sentiment when I have this? I snap my fingers and it's mine. This is living. This is Christmas. Are you still there? Can't see too far over this wall of gifts I got. That's fine, though. I don't need parents or family. I don't need you. I don't need anyone.

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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