Like a ton of bricks, the holiday season t’is upon us. Deck the halls, hark the herald, and while shepherd wash their socks by night, all seated on the ground…
A ton of bricks may be somewhat easily removed, where the holiday season isn’t so quickly dismissed. It weighs upon us beginning on January 2, as soon as the stores can get their holiday clearance sales underway. Black Friday is nothing compared to the “90% off gift wrap” sales found in the week following New Year’s Day. Relief comes in the form of liquid late on New Year’s Eve whence we can celebrate the end of “White Christmas” on the radio.
Christmas music, gifts, shopping, mayhem in the market, attitude absurdities, cries of “Merry Christmas” as the middle finger pops up in parking lots and freeway entrances the world over…It’s simply madness. This is all aside from the regular pressures the season brings; getting together with family that hasn’t called, written, nor Facebooked in at least a year, perhaps longer. In fact, who the hell is that guy in the corner over there? When did he marry into the family and why hasn’t he at least said “hello?” How do we know he didn’t just crash this party and my niece is holding hands with him because he’s kinda cute? And what’s up with these “catch up letters?” “Me and John have been doing the same thing all year, but want you to know that our cat has figured out the litterbox, and we got a new car in spite of the bad economy and…” Like any of us really give two sh**ts? If you can’t be in touch with me during the year, you’re not any more appealing in a letter mass-emailed to anyone who might be part of the dirt supporting the family tree.
Yup, it’s Christmas time. (say this in your best Will Farrell voice. Repeatedly. “Yup!” while nodding head vigorously)
Don’t mention the airfares that triple for two weeks, the grimaces on the faces of those stuck in bus stations as they bear the cold and grouchy agents. Don’t mention the frustrations of shipments from FedEx that are delayed for days on end, nor the barely tolerant employees found at the local electronics, department, or lingerie store. Every shopper thinks they are the center of the world, yet with so many centers, it’s all chaos and the world spins sideways for about four weeks. Even the counter person at Starbucks gets into the spirit with “Have a very happy holiday sir, that’s sure a nice hat” when it’s actually a horribly ugly hat, given to me by my auntie Jeannie. I wear it when I suspect she might be within eyeball range of my head. She knitted me sweaters when I was a kid. One arm longer than the other and both arms too short. As I leave Starbucks, I find myself thinking, “could I have a little less idiot with my latte, please?” Even if he meant the hat comment as a snarky sarcasical quip,.. whipped cream isn’t supposed to be red n’ green! When it melts (and it does melt fast), it’s about as visually appealing as regurgitated gummy bears. Jesus.
Seriously, JESUS! How the hell did Jesus and Santa Clause ever form this more perfect union? Even as a kid, I struggled with this concept; as an adult I find it contemptible.
“If you don’t behave, Santa Claus won’t bring you any toys” is the message of the week. But on Sunday, it becomes “Let’s remember Jesus was born on this day, and we need to be good for Jesus.” Making the connection between a lump of coal and going to hell isn’t all that difficult. It would have been easier if we were just brainwashed to think that Jesus was going to bring us a lump of coal. At some point, I realized that Santa Claus is really just Jesus really old. The long hair, trimmed beard, deep blue eyes…the hair and beard turned white, the eyes turned twinkley, the stern ruddy face turned rosy. And voila! Santa Claus was born!!
With this logic in mind, Santa talks to God, right? And God knows everything we all do. But no matter how much I misbehaved with behaviors such as gluing Mr. Shelton’s butt to his chair in 5th grade, or spinning up rubber bands in Margaret Mitchell’s hair, or even being caught kissing Lisette Merritt behind the shed (where the cesspool is) it didn’t matter. I still got that GI Joe I wanted, and the Major Matt Mason doll (later known as “Action Figures”). Yep….some serious miscommunication between God and Santa occurred THAT year. A young friend recently confided in me “My parents apologized for teaching me to believe in Santa.” Hmmm…Well, did they apologize for playing along with Tooth Fairy, Checks in the Mail, and This Won’t Hurt a Bit?” Did they apologize for the whole lump of coal and burning in hell thing too? What the heck? Apologizing for giving your children a magical mystery tour through their early years in wonderland? Apologies to my daughter, I’ll burn in hell before I apologize for perpetuating the myth of Santa as long as possible. I LOVE Santa. Even the big giant inflatable one next to the i-15 near Murietta. Makes me smile every time. It reminds me of a great man named Tony Zucca who hired me to act as a Santa Claus for him two years running. One year I got so damn sick I wanted to die, but I still managed to “Ho, Ho, Ho” my way through the night. Tony was the Macy’s Day Parade Santa for a few years. Hi LIVED to don his red clothes and make children laugh. And in my view, Christmas is ONLY about the children, whether it’s sacred or secular. Give it up for the kids. They haven’t developed the holiday weirdnesses that adults so diligently try to teach them starting with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, what is this “Novembeard” phenomenon? I walk into a local Best Buy store and EVERY male employee is sporting some sort of facial hair. Even the peach-fuzz kit that looks like the head of a 70 year old comb-over on his chin…it’s silly! When I asked about it, I was told “It’s November. All guys grow their beards in November. Truth is, I couldn’t grow a decent looking beard if I tried. OK, I decided to try it. A couple of people close to me told me to try for the “scruffy look.” Well…I am. It itches. It’s ridiculous. I feel like I’ve got the wrong side of Velcro on my face. Haven’t had the opportunity to kiss anyone with this stickly prickly stuff on my chin, but it’s sure to feel like a porcupine assaulting their cheeks when I do. I know I wouldn’t want to kiss myself. Aaaahhh…. the pain some of us endure for our loved ones. Oh yeah, almost forgot about our loved ones…the ones we run all over town for, fighting over important gifts such as the KISS box of cologne (normally worth around 5.00, but specially priced for Christmas with Gene Simmons tongue, at a value of just 39.99), or better gifts such as underwear and books. One can never have enough underwear nor books, right? That’s been my Christmas list for like….30 years Mom, and I still wear 30-32 under wear, so please don’t buy me 50-54 ever again. That’s my oldest brother, not me.
I’m not a fan of shopping to celebrate the Soltice/Festivus/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Duwali/Christmas/SeasonsGreetings/Merry
/Happy/Joyous time of the year. Thank God (or Al Gore) for the internet and Paypal. And eBay. Hopefully I’ll find a way to come off like Santa with the demeanor of Jesus. By the way, I did receive a really cool hat from a skydiving friend to replace the ugly one knitted by my auntie. Instead of being weird orange, yellow, green, red, and teal, this one is blue/yellow, has a closing pin (skydiving thing), and it looks pretty good on me. Along with it came a box of my favorite confections; macadamia nut and milk chocolate. Oooh Yeah! I’m off to solitude and I don’t mean the ski resort. See you next year.
May your days be merry and bright, may the weight of this season upon you be light.