Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holidays- The Horrible Truth

It's that time of year- overeating, overdrinking, oversleeping and pretty much overdoing everything that's bad for you. Yes, the holiday season is upon us in all of it's fury and we are once again caught up in it's throes. In America, the holidays are like a kettle that's placed upon an ever-increasing flame starting at Thanksgiving, brought to a whistling boil at Christmas and allowed to percolate through the new year, at which point the kettle is hurled out the window.

It all begins with the after-Thanksgiving sales: after our yearly worship of gluttony, companies prod you to indulge your lavish side on crappy gifts that the people you're buying them for probably don't even need or want. Does your Aunt really need another pair of slippers? Are you sure your nephew wants an E-Z-Bake oven? It doesn't matter: they're on sale, and so you will buy them. We stress over gifts for a month, worrying that we're getting the perfect thing for someone when in actuality they'll stuff it in a closet for a year before they pass it on or they return it (but only for store credit!).

If you don't celebrate Christmas, there's still room for you in the gift-buying season. It doesn't matter if you're Jewish or you worship an obscure Norse pantheon; somewhere, someone is having a "pre-Ragnarok" sale. It's not as if Christmas is a religious holiday; not really, anymore. Oh sure, there will be someone who puts out a "Jesus is the reason for the season" bumper sticker: that person will then take the proceeds from the sales of those and put them towards XBoxes and soft cardigan sweaters.

The tumult continues unabated for a month, everyone swept up as if in a rolling ball of pure consumerism that rolls into a mall, rumbles around, and then rolls out covered in gift cards. Not that you have to endure the people who are semi-decent to each other in the spirit of the season: You can avoid all of the cheery decorations by ordering your gifts online.

Then, on December 24th, all is quiet. The dust settles in empty shopping malls. NORAD tracks "Santa", which is actually just a spy satellite decorated with a little tinsel. All is calm, except for those parents who attempt to deceive their children about Mr. Klaus by wrapping and assembling all of their presents the night before.

Then, the shutters fly open and a man yells out to the Cockney lad, "What day is it?" and he shifts his weight from one patchworn shoe to the other and yells back "Whoy eet's Christmas daye!" The children run downstairs, tumbling over each other and ignoring their fracture wounds to get to the tree to open the toys that will be obsolete by the next year. Tired parents torture their kids by making them wait until after breakfast to open the shiny, shiny gifts. Then, it's time for all to enjoy their ill-gotten goods. Look, it's a Galgatron for Jimmy! Oh, he wanted the Galgatron X with the extreme lasers. And Sally gets a gift card to an office supply store because she didn't make a Christmas list. Dad gets a handmade card from his kids, which is plenty of recompense for the loads of debt he went into this season, and mom gets another sweater that doesn't fit. Grandma and Grandpa are oohing and aahing over the gifts and are just happy to be included, even though nobody got them anything or even really acknowledge their existence. Then, it's a huge meal and everyone hurries off to their individual rooms to enjoy their gifts without the others annoying them.

This may sound a little...bitter, perhaps? Maybe, but isn't that what the season is all about- anger and frustration? Okay, perhaps not, but I'm trying to end on an upbeat note:

How about the fact that many people celebrate not only the commercial side of Christmas, but also genuinely care for their families and look at the holidays as a time to come together?

How about snow? Everyone loves snow who doesn't have to deal with shoveling it.

Eggnog made with a little too much rum so that Uncle Gene tells you about that hooker he picked up? Dazzling strings of lights that urge you to convert or be roasted in the flames of Hell forever? Families going a-caroling in period garb and then asking for something called "figgy pudding" which sounds a bit lewd? That one Chinese food place that's the only place open on Christmas day?

How about the saddest Christmas tree ever? How about that, Charlie Brown?


At 12:19 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Bitter? Nah! Cynical? Maybe... makes two of us. The whole retail frenzy bores me to tears! And returning gifts is rampant in my family... we have to keep receipts because inevitably it happens.

Now excuse me while I indulge in overeating, overdrinking, oversleeping and brushing sand from my toes. Ho Ho Ho...

At 12:20 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

And a Happy New Year! Hic... What do you mean it's over? :P

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Mahd said...

And to you. Now, we had new years day yesterday, and a co-worker just called in and asked if it was okay that he sleep his hangover off. My question is- what kind of party was he at to need two days rest?

At 2:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....


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