With the utmost respect for people in recovery, I present The Twelve Steps of Christmas.

1. We admit we’re powerless over presents and that as a result our finances have become unmanageable. 

2. Came to believe that if our wives could stop buying coffee mugs and pajama pants for everyone, it would restore our sanity.

3. Regret the decision to turn our will and our lives over to our spouses after getting to know them a little better. 

4. Made a searching and fearless search of our closets to find something to wear to the ugly sweater party.

5. Admitted to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, while they looked down at their phone the whole time. 

6. Decided we’re entirely ready to have these defects of character removed but not until after the holidays.

7. Humbly ask to have our names removed from all e-mail lists 

8. Made a list of all persons we’ve given bad presents to and be willing to give them gift cards next year. 

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when they failed to keep their gift receipt. 

10. Continued to take a personal inventory of all the presents we received to determine who loves us the most.

11. Sought prayer and meditation in church to overcome our splitting headache from the mall.

12. Having had a Christmas awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this holiday spirit to others and to keep this joy in our hearts throughout the year.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.