The holidays are here, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
Call me jaded, cynical, or even morbid, but as time goes by it becomes harder and harder to enjoy the days between November and January. I can’t help but dwell on issues that the holiday season resurrects every year at around this time:
1. Let’s get this one out of the way: The commercialization of the holidays. From October trough December we’re inundated with the trappings of Christmas. Forced on to us is the idea that Christmas is about buying crap that we don’t need for people who don’t want it. Stores begin setting up their Christmas displays in October. We’ve been sold on the idea that it’s “traditional” to begin shopping in earnest the day after Thanksgiving (aka: Black Friday). Heck, even Disneyland has the tinsel and holly oozing out of every pore before the end of October. Come on people, at least pace yourselves. One holiday at a time please.
2. People are so sensitive nowadays that they’ve become uncomfortable uttering the words “Merry Christmas” for fear of insulting someone. No, it’s not “X-Mas”. It’s pronounced “Christmas”. What the hell does the ambiguous “X” stand for anyway?
3. Forgotten is the fact that Christmas is a religious holiday. Deal with it. You don’t see me getting bent out of shape over Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Eid-al-adha.
4. Family gatherings often seem forced and uncomfortable. Coming from a large extended family, seeing them come together once a year reminds me why we all live far apart. I’m not sure how many more stories I can handle from my cousin who works in an Alligator farm in Australia, and I never look forward to seeing the smarmy uncle who always belittles your hard-won accomplishments.
5. The ailing relative who’s obviously not going to see another holiday. Go on, try to be cheerful while having an enthralling conversation with the gaunt hollow shell of Aunt Louise as she slumps immobile on the couch, forcefully sucking on an oxygen tube, her glassy eyes well aware that this is her last Christmas. Pretend nothing’s wrong. Act casual. Smile. I dare you.
6. The boss asks you to work during the holidays. Having served in the Air Force, I have a hard enough time trying to understand why veterans have to work on Veterans Day. Why do Christians (or anyone who observes the holiday) have to work during Christmas?
7. Buying gifts for the boss. It’s a time-honored tradition of sucking up that I hate but is almost required nowadays, especially if you have a boss like mine who actually does his job and runs interference for me so I can do my job. As a gripe, this ranks quite low on my list.
8. Traveling. Honestly, any form of traveling during the holiday season is an exercise is frustration and a source of deep seated smoldering hatred for all mankind. From the freeways to the airports to the parking lots, it’s during this most joyous of seasons that you realize that there’s far too many people on the face of this planet.
9. Rosie O’Donnell. A single season can not contain the amount of disgust I have for this hate-filled woman.
10. The influx of people in the gym on New Years day, taking up all of the equipment, failing to wipe their sweat off the bench after struggling to lift ninety-five pound reps, and refusing to rack their weights after use. Like clockwork I witness this phenomenon occur at the beginning of every year. These “resolution” crowds taper off after a couple of weeks, disappearing completely by the beginning of February.
Please, don’t misinterpret this post. I really do love the holidays. As the year winds down I can’t wait for Halloween, admittedly I’m a bit blase towards Thanksgiving, but I look forward to Christmas. Setting up the tree and decorations, wrapping gifts, and drinking enough eggnog to choke an inebriated indentured elf are among the things I like the most. If I can just avoid the pitfalls from my top ten list I’m good to go.