It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves are turning and the smell of burning wood is in the air. Mornings are darker than ever as we wait for daylight savings time and snooze just 9 more minutes, hoping to be cozy enough to drift back to sleep for what feels like an eternity. Halloween has sulked past us at a blistering 65 degrees, and we are barely into the eleventh month when Christmas throws up in our faces.
Merry Effin’ Christmas.
I Love Christmas. My favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve. There is magic and mystery. Love is in the air and everything smells like pumpkin spice and spearmint. The only problem is that it’s too early to smell Christmas. I am still reeling over the fireplace/dead leaf combo. Snowmen are not quite in my forecast just yet.
Two weeks ago, my neighborhood put up the street decorations. While I love the sense of community and festivity, I hate that one holiday is celebrated for two months. I understand the big to-do about Christmas… it’s a time of reflection and fellowship with family and friends. You get fattened up for the winter on chocolates and cake (and that badass stuffing that your mom makes). You gather with loved ones and exchange good tidings and cheer. You drink too much wine and reminisce of Christmases long long ago. There is always that one fight (or “debate,” as my Dad likes to call it) that happens, but all ends up fine and well in the end.
In reality, that is no longer the case (well, maybe the wine part is accurate because now you drink out of blind rage from the awful experience that Christmas has become). The joy of Christmas has been stripped down and bastardized into a commercial frenzy for the mindless consumer. We wait in lines on Black Friday, a day given to most of us to enjoy and relax with our families. Instead, we fight with other shoppers over the last Tickle Me Elmo gadget (wow, am I dating myself there?), stress ourselves out over not finding the closest parking spot and having to settle for the third closest parking spot (seriously, I thought they saw my blinker), and get all hot and sweaty (not to mention bitter and resentful) walking around crowded stores with bad music and complete chaos.
There are two scarcely known bank holidays between Halloween and Christmas. One is Veteran’s Day (11/11) and the other is Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November). While that last statement is purely sarcastic, it is metaphorically true.
Unfortunately, Veteran’s Day is not anticipated for two months, nor is it commercialized… you hear very little about it. Why is that? I usually make it a point to call my dad and wish him a Happy Veteran’s Day. He thinks this phone call is a little weird, but it is a great excuse to get to chat with him. Sometimes I get a Naval Fleet story, but I usually get a sports story. So what. Moral of the story: Call your dad. Thank a Veteran.
Thanksgiving is a different beast. We spend a whole day celebrating the things we are thankful to have, getting drunk on wine and turkey, watching football and the Macy’s Parade. The next day we go out and buy all the things that we will be thankful to have NEXT Thanksgiving in a midnight rush of complete madness, as if these items will never be on sale again or will no longer exist in a few hours.
Spending time with family turns into spending time with strangers and spending a week or two’s worth of hard earned income. And even when you have exhausted yourself in the first day of the official holiday season, you are never finished shopping. There is always something that you have forgotten that simply cannot wait until after Christmas when it will be half price or completely irrelevant to the recipient. Even when you begin your Christmas shopping in October, you are never done. You also forget to calculate just how much you have spent and everyone gets way too many gifts (as if that is such a thing). And you always wonder why you show up to your family/friend’s house with 3 bags of gifts and leave with a bottle of wine and leftovers (hey, that is good enough for me!).
Christmas has gotten out of control. I can’t imagine what the holiday would be like if (SPOILER ALERT) Santa actually did exist and managed to make and deliver all those gifts to good boys and girls. Life would be easier, if not better. The holidays would surround you in warmth and joy, not complete turmoil. Being good would reap its rewards, and karma would take a more tangible role in life. If you are good, then you get a gift. If you are bad, you get a lump of coal. Plus, Santa is doing all the preparation and all you need to spend money on is milk and cookies (and maybe some oats for those reindeer).
I would love to know the exact moment when that Advertising Executive said “Here’s a thought. What if we commercialized Christmas?” That must have come right after “Let’s make a fake holiday based on Love. We can put it in February since that is the suckiest month of them all.” I can’t imagine the other religious/cultural celebrations (like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) allowing their traditions to become so ridiculously overdone. Christmas has it’s own scent! And I am sure it is patented. It would seem that the economy almost relies on Christmas so all of these big businesses can meet their bottom line at the end of the Fourth Quarter. We literally need Christmas to keep the economy afloat? Really? Maybe. I don’t know. I may have just made that up, but it sounds like it could be true.
People, we are suckers…. Huge, gross, stupid, wasteful, stupid suckers. Why do we still have candy hangovers from Halloween and there are Christmas Songs stuck in my head? It’s November 1st, for baby Jesus’ sake! Ah yes. baby Jesus… the reason for the season. The Catholic/Christian meaning behind this specific holiday. I wonder if Jesus just has to have the new iPhone so badly that his entire existence relies on it. Can you imagine that prayer?
Dear Father in Heaven (AKA: Dad),
Please please please. I really need the new iPhone. It’s already been 2 months and Johnny has one and so does his sister. I promise to be good and make as much wine out of water as you’d like. I can throw a healing or two in there, if it pleases You.
Love your son,
Yeah. I highly doubt it. As a fictional character, Jesus would be pissed with how his fictional birthday is currently being celebrated. Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about giving. You can give your time and love and groceries to the needy. You can volunteer to feed people you don’t know, or help out a neighbor who is down on their luck. You can be there for a family member to console them or just crack open a beer and share a good story and a laugh. You don’t need useless things. The latest gadget is not going to love you the way that a person can.
Holy Christmas Rant. Christmas is still about 2 months away, folks. Let’s not lose our heads this year. I want to savor Christmas and get back the magic that was slowly lost in all of the hype. I am going to regain the Christmas Spirit by avoiding the crowds, surrounding myself with friends, family, and a little bit of solitude. The next month I will refuse to give into the early “Christmas cheer”, which resembles the fake smile on a mannequin. I will not sing carols until after Thanksgiving, and I will spend at least 10 minutes a day reflecting on the things I am thankful for, the people I am joyful to have in my life, and the places that I have been this year. I am looking forward to Christmas, but just not yet. I am waiting for the magic and mystery to come around. In the meantime, I plan on drinking wine, watching the leaves continue their ritual, and ignoring the Christmas Propaganda.
I love you.