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A real family gift guide

We're at a time of year when some of us have to say, "Give me a new vacuum cleaner only if it is part of the divorce settlement."

Just in case there's any doubt.

Because not many people I know are waking up to the big red bow on the Lexus.

And sometimes those around us need a kind of FAQ list to guide them through the holidays.

For instance:

* Yes, they sell gaming chairs at Sports Authority. That doesn't classify Xbox as a sport.

* Yes, we will celebrate all eight nights of Hanukkah. But don't be surprised if on some of those nights, the gift is dinner.

* Yes, we can buy a new wireless router. But first, somebody explain to me what it is.

* No, the dogs that sang Jingle Bells were not abused; that's an urban myth.

* Yes, I know our dancing dreidel lights offend the neighbors. But that's a little bit the point.

* No, I don't think it's unwise to buy a new Gameboy to replace the one that became the dog's chew toy.

* Yes, we believe in Santa Claus. He's the orthodontist who told me yesterday my kid can wait another six months for braces.

* No, the kids don't get to watch the South Park Christmas special.

* A wristwatch for the boy? Probably a good idea. A floor-length mirror for the girl? Got to wonder.

* Yes, I hear the cell phone ringing when I'm out shopping. I don't answer because in the old days, you shopped all day without picking up a phone.

Dinner came together, teachers' gifts were bought and nobody needed to be making a U-turn on Dale Mabry while discussing it all to death. It's called an old-fashioned Christmas, and it's what I want.

* No, we cannot have a second dog; not unless somebody buys me a state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner. And we all know where that will lead.

Happy holidays!