Dear Andy,

Our families have been friends for a long time now — long enough for me to know how much you dislike the holiday season. That's why I recently asked our faithful Deseret Morning News readers to send me their pet peeves so I could present you with this special (anti-) Christmas letter. You'll be happy in spite of yourself (I promise!) to learn they're lots of people who have issues, too.

Yes! I know! Very generous of me to do this for you! Especially since I'm one of those annoying people who actually digs December! But whatever.

Anyway, here's what our readers said.


• Traffic. Congested parking at every store you go to INCLUDING the grocery store. ("Why is that?" one of our readers asked about the grocery-store part.)

• Expensive ward parties held at venues other than the church house.

• Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

• Christmas music before Halloween.

• Certain Christmas songs, including "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "The Little Drummer Boy" or any tune with the word "rock" in the title. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would also add any song involving "red shoes" and "dead mothers.")

• Especially if you have to listen to those songs before Thanksgiving.

• Or Halloween.

• Mall Santas that don't look like Santa.

• Candy-cane overkill. "I know they're a holiday tradition," comments one reader, "but who really likes them?"

• Carolers. Another reader writes that "they ring the doorbell, and I'm required to OPEN THE FRONT DOOR, LET IN ALL THE COLD AIR, AND PRETEND TO LOOK LIKE I LOVE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE SINGING TO ME IN THE COLD FOR FIVE MINUTES."

• Lawn ornamentation involving large inflatable things.

• Lawn ornamentation involving six or seven large inflatable things. "I didn't mind them at first," a reader observes. "How cool to have a life-size (times three!) Grinch in a Santa suit on your front lawn." And then, because this is America, the day after Thanksgiving we all went to Wal-Mart, where large inflatable things were on sale, and bought way, way, WAY too many of them.

• People who ask, "So, are you ready for Christmas yet?" Especially when they ask this question while they're trick-or-treating. "I am NEVER ready for Christmas," writes one reader, "it just comes."

• Feeling pressured to keep up with the neighborhood's elaborate light displays. "I look forward to this time of year because THE YARD IS DEAD, and I don't have to pull weeds, rake leaves, fertilize or edge," says another reader. "Why would I relish the idea of climbing ladders and figuring out extension chords ... in sub-zero weather?"

• Just feeling pressured. Period. "I am not going to exhaust myself," one reader vows. "I'm just going to let Christmas happen and try to enjoy it."

So there you go, Andy. Feel better now? Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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