Contrary to popular belief, the most wonderful time of the year doesn't just happen by itself. Sure, the weather helps (a picturesque blanket of crispy white snow spreads cheer better than a layer of gritty gray dirt), but the rest of all the usual holiday merriment? It takes some motherf@#king hard work to spread that motherf@#king cheer. Luckily, it can be done in three easy steps that can make even this sorry Santa smile again. (Although it may not help him be any less creepy...)

STEP ONE: GET YOUR TREE IN ORDER
Luckily, urban luxuries like credit card-accepting stores make procuring a pinus-scented coniferous much easier. (By the way, you can thank the scientific community's love of Latin for that hilariously named genus.) At Whole Foods, for example, you can pick up your tree while you're buying your flaxseed. Of course, if you leave flaxseed cookies out for Santa, he won't just not leave you presents, but he'll probably punch you in the face while you're sleeping, too. That said, it's probably better to hit up a local greenhouse instead. OLD CITY green in Shaw has some splendid tall and tabletop trees again this year (that's where your Scoutmob editor got hers), or, if you're closer to Capitol Hill, hit up Eastern Market. They always have a good selection.

STEP TWO: PUT SOME NUTMEG ON IT
Nothing says, "I'm filled with all the cheer," better than the aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice. A holiday-scented Yankee Candle can work for the laziest among us, but if that sweet scent is connected to a plate of fresh-baked seasonal cookies, you'll stay off the naughty list this year...at least for that reason. For the most pungent spices in town either get to Union Market (the spice stand is near the front entrance) or head to Georgetown's Spice & Tea Exchange. (Bonus cheer: we have the hook-up for that one.)

STEP THREE: DRINK ALL THE EGGNOG
Obviously, to bring out your most righteous cheer, drink a batch of this liquid deliciousness. While we've had a lot of trouble finding DC bars that serve eggnog, we did churn up a recipe you can make at home from the Columbia Room's Derek Brown. Click here to read the whole thing (the instructions are pretty specific), but mostly just make sure you have a whole heckuva lotta rum on hand. Logan Circle's Barrel House has a large enough selection to make sure you and Santa (you want all the presents, right?) stay nice and warm. Now, go forth and spread that dang old holiday cheer!—MP