The presents in the back wrapped in red with white snowflakes are the reason my brother's house is now covered in glitter.

1. Sparkly, glittery wrapping paper looks fantastic. In the store. From a distance. It will, however, coat the table, the floor, the rug, your face, and the cat with glitter for the next 6 months. Just say no. Step away from the glitter.

2. Shopping the weekend before Christmas is a sport which requires knee pads and a helmet. It’s also important to have combat training or some sort of self defense tactic. On no account should this include mace.

3. The amount of tape available will always be one square less than needed for the last present. Duct tape, packing tape, Gorilla Glue: all work. In the rush to get the paper off the box they’ll never notice how you stuck it together.

4. New, warm, fluffy socks are the root of all happiness.

5. The number of stamps you need will always be two greater than the number you have. Be sure to prioritize your list so that the important people get the stamps first.

6. The amount of wrapping paper available will always fall an inch shorter than needed. Become an expert in the art of camouflage with bits of extra paper.

7. Time spent with family and friends is the best gift of all. Sappy but true.

8. Cats and small children will always have more fun with the box and wrapping paper than the actual present. Save money, wrap an empty box and a wooden spoon. Hours of entertainment to be had by all.

9. Saying Merry Christmas does not mean the person wishes you a miserable Hannu

10. Children given any sort of paint will immediately paint everything within arms length: the chair, the table, their face, the sofa, the cat…

11. An inexpensive gift given with love and real thought of the person will trump large amounts of cash spent on something generic.

12. A so-called friendly poker game with the family can turn deadly serious the minute the $5 buy-in is on the table.

13. There will always be a kid’s table. And that’s not a bad thing.

14. When making glazed carrots it’s important not to glaze them too far in advance, lest they end up looking like shriveled bits of dried camel dung.

15. A Charlie Brown Christmas is still full of wisdom and truth. It should be required viewing for everyone on Christmas morning, before the paper begins to fly.

So tell me, what did you learn this holiday?