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'Tis the season. We all know it. Peace on earth. Good will to all. And some of the worst driving conditions of the year.

Folks who would normally avoid a shopping mall like the plague flock there in droves. It’s a time of year when we see commercials in which loving couples give each other brand-new cars priced for the holidays. It’s a time of year when the vast majority of us do not receive brand-new cars priced for the holidays as Christmas gifts.

I’ve spent many years trying to figure out how to beat the Christmas driving nightmare, and I think I’ve finally got it: You can’t beat the traffic, but you can change up your ride. The key is driving the right vehicle at the right time. I’ve done my research. I’ve calculated the factors. I’ve matched the right car with the right time. I’ve cast aside cost and reality and gone with a best-of-all-possible-worlds scenario. This is the ultimate Yuletide fantasy. What follows is the “12 Cars of Christmas” but, instead of 12 cars, there are eight.

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Dec. 4-7: Ford F-150 XL

F-150-XL.jpg

Colour: A festive red

Early in the season you’re lugging stuff such as horrifying inflatable Santas for the front lawn, snow blowers and ice-rink kits. You’ll probably buy a tree around now, and with a pickup truck you can just throw it in the back. Christmas driving during this period will not have reached its worst in terms of congestion, so the extra size won’t be an issue. Also, a Ford F-150 also gives you a little swagger. Pickup drivers are generally “can do” types.

Dec. 8-10: Fiat 500

FCA US LLC

Colour: Bianco (to match the snow)

This is the third weekend before December 25. Congestion-wise, it’s often one of the direst. You will see some of the worst driving of the year. The Fiat 500 will allow you to dart through traffic and park in the snuggest of spots. Fiats are peppy cars and you will need a little extra pep because, even thought Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, you will already be feeling your energy sag and your nerves fray.

Dec. 11-14: Porsche Panamera 4

Colour: A jolly metallic green

Mid-December is a time for end-of-year business meetings and work parties. If you’re like me, it’s a time to convince yourself that you’re doing well and deceive others into believing the same. Nothing will do the trick better than a Porsche Panamera. This is a vehicle you want to park out in public. You will dream of being stuck in traffic. You will forget that you still have so much to do. Terrific.

Dec. 15-17: Chrysler Pacifica LX

FCA US LLC

Colour: Billet metallic (to match Santa’s beard)

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You may be one of those people who turns their nose up at the idea of driving a minivan. My advice is to get over yourself. There are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who drive a minivan and those who are going to drive a minivan. This is the second-last weekend before Christmas. Traffic is starting to reach peak awful. None of your loved ones, especially your children, will have done any shopping. They will all need lifts.

Dec. 18-20: 2019 Holiday Rambler Endeavor RV

Colour: Spokane

By this time, the driving is at its worst. Parking is impossible to find. The solution? Leave town. Get in your RV and hit the road. The Holiday Rambler Endeavor is a full living space with kitchen, living room, bedroom and toilet. Leave a note for your friends and family and go. Go alone. After a few days away, you can decide whether to return for Christmas or to simply keep driving and never come back.

Dec. 21-23: Lexus LC

Colour: Infared

So, you opted to return! Good for you, but you need to understand that things will be getting real by this juncture. A wave of what can be best described as “festive panic” will be flooding our roads. The parking lots will become gladiatorial arenas in which drivers “honk to the death” in their quest to find a space. You’re going to want the cool-yet-game vibe you’ll get from driving a Lexus. Practical luxury.

Dec. 24: Mini Cooper S 5 Door Premier Line

www.guenterschmied.com

Colour: Chili red

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By Christmas Eve, there will be a large part of your psyche that is telling you that you need to be driving a Hummer. Fight that urge. The best choice for this special day is a Mini Cooper S 5 Door Premier Line in a chili red. Buy some reindeer car antler decorations and a red Rudolph car nose and you will be the picture of the automotive Christmas Spirit. The Mini Cooper is so small and cute you could practically fit it into a stocking. The driving nightmare that was the run-up to Christmas will be a distant memory.

Dec. 25

Don’t even look at an automobile. Instead, take a ride in the La-Z-Boy Luke duo® Reclining Chair and A Half in a bright cranberry. This sleep-inducer has a side-mounted two-button control panel that allows you to recline and raise the leg-rest. It has a built-in USB port. You can plug some sound-blocking headphones in it so you can’t hear anybody. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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