My mother did not believe gift giving should be gratuitous. Every present had a purpose and often a moral. Some years back, we had to talk her out of giving a relative a bathroom scale for Christmas because "he obviously doesn't know how much he weighs."
It is in that spirit that I inaugurate this Hanukwanzaamas season with this 2011 gift box of gourmet truths, dark and light, hard and soft, all indubitable. Feel free to regift.
• Donald Trump will never go away, not until he dies, and maybe not even then.
• We could stand to lose a few billion pounds.
• Hollywood will stop making crappy movies when we stop loving them.
• None of our politicians' proposals to save the economy will save the economy, but that was never the objective.
• The Huffington Post's headline writers need to look up the word shocking.
• There is now more good television than there are hours to watch it, especially since we spend most of our time watching other people's animals on YouTube.
• According to yet another Gallup poll, we want to throw out the entire Congress but keep our elected representatives -- yet more evidence of how democracy doesn't work when too many people are stupid.
• Win Win was the truest movie of 2011, and none of you saw it.
• Not a lot of you are watching Louie, which was the realest television of 2010 and transcendent this year. I can't completely blame you; that thing is brutally true.
• We'd better get used to hurricanes.
• If we had any guts, we'd elect Ron Paul and get the whole thing over with.
• Newt's right: children should work, but not in ice cream parlors, because who wants to buy dessert from zitty kids, and not delivering newspapers, because it's the only thing keeping some adult male basement dwellers from becoming serial killers. Maybe in clean-coal mines.
• If it's not one thing, it's North Korea.
• Amy Winehouse's just released cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You" is so true it's unbearable.
• Old people need to grow up.
And its corollary:
• Instead of protesting, young people might want to try voting.
• We will miss books. And magazines. And unions.
• Congress should not be allowed to leave town until it does something to prevent another Chipwrecked.
• Overall, things haven't gotten that bad yet.
Merry Christmas -- a holiday that, truth be told, was invented by rich people to keep poor people out of their homes -- each and every one!
Originally published in a slightly different form at Time.com, Dec. 13, 2011