Written the week before Christmas 2021…
It starts sometime after Thanksgiving when we say to ourselves, “I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner!” More often, than not it is expressed with a feeling of anxiety and in some cases dread. Is it me or is this attitude becoming more and more prevalent? I was thinking maybe it has to do with getting older. Until the other day… I asked a 30-something “Are you ready for Christmas?” without hesitation, she finished my sentence — “to be over!” The next day I asked another 30-something the same question and he had a similar response. (Sophisticated research, I know!)
What’s causing the holiday “tude?”
It’s the dough…
I get it. Christmas is a pressure-cooker for many. It’s filled with expectations and emotions that run higher than at any other time of the year. Typically, the cash drain is considerable and most Americans find it easily justifiable to break out the plastic. Anything goes when it comes to Christmas, or so it seems.
Then there’s the family…
I strongly recommend taking a break to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (circa 1989). For the uninformed, this is must see TV. This classic is right up there with A Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. Some may think it is sacrilege to include this on their holiday viewing list. I say the benefits of 90-minutes of laughter are just what the doctor ordered during this time of the year. For enhanced enjoyment pour up your favorite adult beverage while viewing.
What about the shopping?
Who in their right mind would leave the comforts of their own home to go to a mall? This is when I’m thankful for Al Gore*. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have the internet and online shopping. As sad as it is that shopping on main street is becoming a thing of the past and malls are being converted into Amazon warehouses, I’ve never been a fan of holiday shopping.
Case in point. A couple of years ago I had to take a “quick trip” to the mall, for a last minute Christmas gift. The place was packed (duh). The worst part was fighting the traffic on the way out.
I was in the left lane of what I thought was a 2-lane exit. Suddenly it turned into a single lane and I accelerated to merge into the right lane. A woman in a B.A.T. (Big-Ass Truck – lots of those in Texas), for some reason did not want me to get in front of her and she too hit the accelerator. Suddenly, we both slammed on the brakes. She looked down at me in my SUV, flipped me the bird and mouthed the words, F*&# you (multiple times). I motioned to her to roll down her window and she obliged. Before she could get her window all the way down, I smiled and yelled in my jolliest voice, “Merry Christmas to you too!” Ah, yes the joys of holiday shopping.
My dislike for holiday shopping began with traumatic events I suffered through as a small child. Here’s one that sticks out… It was a perfectly enjoyable day, the week before Christmas. I was playing at home and got kidnapped by my Mom and my two sisters to go into Morristown, just a short drive from the house. I was not informed the purpose was last minute Christmas shopping. My mother knew, the only way I’d go without kickin and screamin was to tell me we were going to visit the “Morristown Square”. The square was an extraordinary place during the holiday season. From the day after Thanksgiving through January 1st it turned into a magical place for children. The trees were all lit up and the decorations were astonishing to a 6-year old. There was a Santa’s workshop, reindeer, a bunch of elves running around and an occasional visit from the jolly one himself! Talk about a Christmas buzz! I was high as a kite. Much to my chagrin my female loved ones had an ulterior motive. Suddenly, my euphoria turned to dread. The next thing I knew I was being dragged across the street and into Bambergers, for hours of Christmas shopping monotony. I’ve been scarred ever since.
So it’s time to remember the rest of the lyrics to the song. Tis the season to be jolly fa la la la la la la la la! (Did I get all the las?) I hope your Christmas weekend is filled with love, joy, and laughter.
A funny Christmas story from Wanda Sikes
“I love my family but my family — they’re the type of people that never let you forget anything you ever did… I was in the first grade Christmas play — I’m playing Mary. Now, during the course of the play, I dropped the baby Jesus… They still talk about this. I go to my family reunion, and one of my cousins just had a baby. So I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a cute little baby. Let me hold the baby…’ And my aunt runs over, ‘Don’t you give her that baby! You know she dropped the baby Jesus!'”
*Despite the multitudinous derisive references to the supposed quote that continue to be proffered even today, former U.S. vice president Al Gore never claimed that he “invented” the Internet, nor did he say anything that could reasonably be interpreted that way. The initial idea of the Internet is credited to Leonard Kleinrock after he published his first paper entitled “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets” on May 31, 1961.