"I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed."
—Charles S. Brown
With those immortal words, we now enter the impiously stressful time of year known as "the holidays." Are you ready? Got enough money and Percoset to get you through? Even I can see that the Pixy can only help us so much.
There are more things to loathe about December than there are to like, to the point where I just needed to stop writing or start a whole new blog just to rag on Christmas. So I tried to narrow it down to this ranty little list; let me know your thoughts. Trust me, it will help to get it out, and may also save a life.
10. Ridiculous decorations
Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas lights just as much as the next person. But what is up with those giant, inflatable snowglobes everyone is tethering to their front yards, thousand-watt spotlights trained on them and giant, energy-sucking fans blowing asbestos-laden "snow" all over the place? Whenever I see these things, I immediately start imagining a Hindenburg-style disaster or picture Dad innocently plugging in a new power tool and sending the whole neighborhood into blackout. Also, they don't seem to work very well because 10 out of every 12 I see are lying flaccid in someone's front lawn with some hapless flunky pulling their hair out trying to find the leak. Because that's what Christmas is all about: bending over on the front lawn with your crack hanging out trying to fix the latest decoration mishap.
9. Unclear plans from family
"OK, we're going to go to Bev's for brunch and then Dick and Martha's for lunch, but we might go shopping at some point, depending on when Doug and Barb show up because they're opening gifts early because the kids are doing dinner with Grant's family on Christmas day, but then Brenda wants us to have dinner over at her house and you know how upset she got last year when we went to Hal and Char's instead after she made all that food, so we'll need to get there by 8 and on the way stop by Meijer so Dad can do his shopping. So just meet us at the mall around 3:30, but keep your phone on just in case things change. Oh, and don't forget to wrap those stocking stuffers before you leave and drop them off at Gwen's so the kids will have something to open later tonight."
8. The "War On Christmas"
Those godless liberals are trying to make us forget about Jesus for two seconds by replacing "Christmas" with "Xmas. Never mind that "X" actually means "Christ"—that's not important right now. "X" makes people think of X-rated movies and s-e-x and we just can't have that during this time of year that's all about love!
7. Horrible Christmas specials
It's the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree with Regis Philbin, Hilary Duff and Jenna Morasca! Happy Holidays from the Simpsons—featuring Jessica and Ashlee in a classic-in-the-making duet of "Little Drummer Boy"! Up on the housetop...with the Bush family! The plus side of all this madness is unintensional hilarity. Remember the Ewok dance number from the "Star Wars" special years ago? Kathie Lee trotting Frank and her future-meth-addict kids out to sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to an uncaring audience? "A Very Brady Christmas"?
My current "favorites" are the jewelry ads. If they are to be believed, the mere glimpse of something shiny in a small box will cause a woman to immediately drop to her knees and administer the sexual favor of your choice. Just once I'd like to see some truth in these commercials. How about one that shows some nine-year-olds mining diamonds with guns to their heads and the tagline "Sure, they come from a dark and corrupt place, but who cares? These kids think having toilet paper is a status symbol! And they're shiny!"
Also of note is the M&Ms ad that has been running for years where Santa sees the M-men, gasps "They DO exist!" and faints—good lord, film a new frigging commercial already!—anything that bastardizes a Christmas song with greedy new lyrics and (as usual) anything dealing with Wal-Mart.
5. The Salvation Army
For an organization that aims to make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone, they certainly are losing credibility with that annoying bell-ringing. Everytime that bell rings, a homeless person loses more of a chance of getting a hot meal on Christmas Day.
4. "Secret Santa" gift exchanges at work
This phenomenon is a highly underrated annoyance of the holiday season. It's fun and everything...if you're 10 and you're trading trinkets with people who are happy with a notepad with little kitties wearing Santa hats all over it. But when you're drawing names from a pool of people you barely know and largely don't like much anyway, it really is the dumbest idea in the whole world. What are you going to get for the chick you make small-talk with at the coffee maker a couple times a month or the guy that was behind you in line for the copier last week? The answer is always the same: a mug filled with holiday Hershey kisses. Why not just call it a mug-filled-with-holiday-Hershey-kisses exchange and get it over with? Let's just be realistic here.
3. Bratty children
Here's a little game; while you're out and about this December, count how many times you hear a derivative of the classic empty threat "If you don't straighten up, Santa's not going to come this year!" I'm going to bet that Santa stops at every single one of those houses anyway. Talk about not saying what you mean and meaning what you say. This alone just lets brats know how much power they really have. Santa is also an anagram for "satan", you know, so I guess that would make children satan's minions.
No need to expound on this.
1. The Doorbusters
This is what Christmas is all about, folks: who gets there first, who gets the last one and who steps on the most people to do it. So the next time you're at the bottom of a pile of warring shoppers punching each other out for a $14 DVD player, just remind yourself it's all in the spirit of the magical holiday season.
Happy holidays, everyone!