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The Globe and Mail

Nitpicker? Eternal kid? Which holiday type are you?

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THE PROCRASTINATOR

Defining characteristic:

An inability to learn from every other year and get shopping done at least one week before Christmas, a failure they berate themselves for. As a result, the Procrastinator usually gives less than perfect gifts — with the clock ticking there's no time to be thoughtful.

Natural habitat:

Anywhere but the mall, except for the two days before Christmas, where he (it's always a he) can be found frantically shopping.

How to deal with them:

Ignore them as best you can. Their perennial scramble is exhausting, but while they're at the mall you get to be at home eating Turtles.

THE ETERNAL KID

Defining characteristic:

Juvenile enthusiasm. Gets more excited in toy stores than actual children, is apt to start snowball fights even when no one is in the mood, and is likely to shake presents to guess what they are.

Natural habitat:

Wherever there is tobogganing, you shall find the Eternal Kid.

How to deal with them:

Patience. Their love of the holidays can be infectious — admit it, you do want to build a snowman. If you need them to give it a rest, you can coax them to do whatever you want with the promise of hot cocoa. Just don't forget those little marshmallows.

THE NITPICKER

Defining characteristic:

Fussiness. The Nitpicker has been known to move ornaments from one branch to the one right beside it — that's where it belongs. Also loves obsessing over place settings and giving you condescending looks as you wrap.

Natural habitat:

In the kitchen, updating a to-do list and wondering if the font on their to-do list is the right one.

How to deal with them:

A Janus-like approach whereby you agree to do whatever they say to their face — "Yes, I will put exactly four pine cones in that bowl" — and then go back to doing whatever it was you were doing. Nitpickers really want to do everything themselves, anyways.

THE MISER

Defining characteristic:

Trying to buy the cheapest gifts possible and hoping to get out of all social obligations that come with a financial cost, whether it is dinner with friends or tickets to the Nutcracker ballet.

Natural habitat:

At home watching television, which they already pay for so why bother going out. When dining out in large groups, can also be found talking to waiters about putting themselves on a separate bill.

How to deal with them:

Gentle mockery. They know they are cheap-o's, and however much they might resist the joy of the season, they can be convinced to indulge in it through humorous prodding. Start with Scrooge jokes.

THE NOSTALGIC

Defining characteristic:

An unflagging sentimentality in which every aspect of Christmas prompts a wave of positivity and memories of Yuletides of yore.

Natural habitat:

Flipping through family photo albums to dig up pics of Christmases past. Can also be found with an old box of decorations, taking them out one at a time and telling a story and/or making the sound people make when they see a puppy.

How to deal with them:

They'll gush over the cookies you made even if they're horrible. And they'll tell you about that time when someone did something heartwarming. It's up to you to listen, perhaps share a special memory of your own, and then move on.

ILLUSTRATIONS: MURAT YUKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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