One: no matter how many Sundays in Advent you announce warnings that your 4 PM Christmas Vigil Mass will look like a stampede for free Super Bowl tickets when the doors open at 3 PM, you will still get the running of the bulls at Pamplona at 3 PM.
Two: As a corollary to number one, a number of parishioners will complain they didn’t get “their” seats.
Three: If you have a second or overflow Mass in another facility like a social hall, and you temporarily hide the collection in the refrigerator for later retrieval, don’t defrost said freezer till you’ve checked it carefully.
Four: Have a strategy in place when one of your “royal families” sends one person to reserve the front two pews at the 4 PM Vigil. (And when you come up with a good one, kindly share it with us.)
Five: If you have a visit from Santa before Christmas Eve Mass, make sure he sticks to the pastor’s script and hasn’t had a few dips in the egg nog beforehand.
Six: If parking is usually a problem in Ordinary Time, for Christmas you want to have a chorale in the lot singing either “Let There Be Peace On Earth” or “We Are Farmers, bum bum bum bum bum bum bum.”
Seven: If you take the time to correct everyone at Christmas Masses who receives communion in a liturgically inappropriate fashion, you’ll be at it till January 7.
Eight: If you are a pastor, do not schedule yourself for both Midnight Mass and 6 AM Shepherds Mass.
Nine: Have your furnace or air conditioning vendor on speed dial on Christmas Eve.
Ten: Keep a roll of scotch tape in the sacristy so you can tape the identifying card or tag to the right present. Trust me, does that ever save embarrassment.
Eleven: Rein in the diva cantors.
Twelve: (For pastors) I would wait till the church lot clears before you transport all those bottles to your car or over to the house.
Thirteen: After your church has offered hundreds of hours of confessions during Advent, someone will ask at ten minutes to midnight.
Fourteen: Yes, people do call for the time of Midnight Mass.
Fifteen: Someone will complain of being allergic to poinsettias.
Sixteen: Somewhere in the Christmas sermon there will be the mandatory inclusion of the word “materialism.”
Seventeen: There is no aroma anywhere exactly like the empty church immediately after Midnight Mass.
Eighteen: If history is any teacher, there will be folks in church watching the Chargers and the Raiders game on their phones this year on Christmas Eve.
Nineteen: Eating Christmas cookies for dinner during the Christmas Eve schedule does save time but results in the worst heartburn during Midnight Mass.
Twenty: Someone will demand to know why you don’t have a Christmas Mass in (insert any language).
Twenty-one: All savvy Christmas church announcements from the pulpit contain a reminder that it is not too late to make a sizeable gift for year-end tax advantage.
And this really happened to me once: I was shutting down the church for the last time after the final Christmas morning Mass, when a man I recognized as a very irregular attendant came into the sacristy and said that he had accidentally dropped a $100 bill in the collection plate, and could he swap it out for a $5. You don’t want to know what I said.