Friday, November 18, 2005

Review: "The Official Guide to Christmas in the South" by David C. Barnette

Normally I don't go in for the folksy Southern Christmas books, but David C. Barnette's "The Official Guide to Christmas in the South, or If You Can't Fry It, Spraypaint It Gold" ($14.95, William Morrow), had me chuckling just from the title. I had to dig into it.

It's often been said that the funniest stories are those that are true, and that's what makes this book such a hoot. If you've ever celebrated Christmas in the South, you've been involved in a few of Barnette's jokes. One of my favorite decorating tips: "While pheasant feathers and other hunting themes are in vogue, it is never appropriate to use red-and-white ribbon to `candy stripe' rifles." To be honest, I think that may have happened once or twice at a relative's house in the distant past.

The chuckles roll from the chapter titles - "The Divinity Code," "The Gilt Complex," "Party Like It's $19.99" - to the brief summaries that introduce each concept - "Christmas is no time to go for Yard of the Month honors. The measure of a well-decorated Christmas lawn is a visit from the police regarding traffic delays in front of your home."

"The Official Guide to Christmas in the South" covers everything you need to know to experience a true Southern Christmas this year, from lawn decorating tips by used car dealers to regifting to, of course, gold spray paint.

Barnette's book is a great way to get in the mood for the approaching holidays with a laugh, and, as scary as the thought may be, perhaps a few new ideas on how to celebrate this year. It wouldn't be funny if it wasn't true.