Brett Herbers: Follow a tortuous path to happy holidays

You are about to embark on a holiday journey for the ages. Start by reading the column at (A), then, as you make choices throughout it, go to the corresponding letter to continue the story. Will you make it through the day with a smile on your face? Or will your plans unravel before your eyes? Read through it once, or read through it five times; it's all up to you! Choose your own adventure.

(A). The story begins with you cleaning your apartment. You have family coming over in an hour, and you are very much unprepared. Do you start by (B), cleaning the bathroom, or (C), cleaning the kitchen?

(B). The bathroom is a mess! You decide to shove everything that's causing this mess into the bathtub. Grabbing the mop, you start to wash down the floor. Time goes by quickly, and as you start to dry the floor, you realize that you only have 30 minutes left before your guests arrive. Do you (D), leave a wet floor to dry, or (E), finish what you started?

(C). You decide to clean the kitchen. Thankfully, dinner is already cooking, but there are plenty of dirty dishes to go around. You pile the plates, forks, and spoons into your dishwasher, but it refuses to start. How typical! Do you (B), abandon the kitchen for sake of the bathroom, or (F), start washing dishes by hand?

(D). You wash your hands and run out of the bathroom. There's no time to do the dishes! You run to your table, where several nice presents sit. These need to be wrapped! You grab an elegant looking vase and quickly turn to go grab some wrapping paper. Oh no! You slip on a rug and tumble to the ground. The vase shatters, and now your mom's present is ruined. Do you (G), run to the store to buy a new one, or (H), tell her that you don't have a present for her?


(E). The drying process takes longer than expected. Before you know it, there's a knock on your door. Too many things aren't ready for the day! What a disaster. Go to (L).

(F). You fill up your sink with water, and lift a dish out of it to wash. Out of nowhere, loud music starts blasting from the next door apartment. Startled, you drop the dish back into the sink, sending water everywhere. Do you (I), ignore the music, or (J), go next door and ask her to stop the music?

(G). You run out of your apartment, and only as the door clicks shut do you realize that you forgot your key. You're locked out of your apartment! Do you (J), run to your unruly neighbor's place for a spare key, or (K), call your landlord for a key?

(H). You're going to risk it. You wrap the other presents and soon there is a knock on your door. This is not the ideal situation. Go to (L).

(I). You ignore the music. Your uncle can't hear well anyways, right? Minutes pass. You try to tolerate the noise, but you can't. Do you (G), go tell your neighbor to quiet down, or (K), call your landlord?

(J). Your neighbor answers her door with a sneer. You share your request with her, and she scoffs "Get over it." The door is slammed in your face. As you turn to go back to your door, you meet your family. This is awful! Go to (L).

(K). He doesn't answer, and now your family has showed up. This is terrible! Go to (L).

(L). It's been a rough day. Nothing has gone quite as planned, but isn't that the case for most holidays? In the end, the events of the day don't really matter. You're with your family, and the laughs that eventually ensue are worth all the stress of the day. You end up having a lot of fun, and your family asks if you would host for the next holiday. Do you (A), say yes, or (M), say no?


(M). Wise decision. Happy holidays!

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