I know, I know. “Bah humbug,” right? No. Hardly. I’m not in this to demean the season. Christmas is cool. But there are definitely a few things about it that really bug me. Not the lines and mall parking lots and how people seem to forget how to drive the last few days before the big day. No, those really piss me off too. I’m talking the odd things here and there that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. Like a stupid conversation at the table next to you while you’re dining out, these things just annoy me to the point that my holiday experience in toto is diminished.
Everything’s Closed. “We will be closed on December 25 so that we can spend Christmas with our families.” Really? Honestly? What about people without families? What about those folks who don’t celebrate Christmas? Shouldn’t they be working? No way. Christmas is a holiday and pretty much everyone takes it off regardless of religion or intent. Like how you willingly take Memorial Day off but don’t bother even a second to remember the men and women who’ve sacrificed for our country while you grill hot dogs and sun yourself at the beach. Not that I begrudge anyone a day off but I just resent having to limit my cuisine choices to Chinese food if I choose to dine out on 12/25.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Well, keep it to yourself. I’m sick of hearing about it. You want snow? Then you want traffic fatalities and freezing temps and ice storms and old people being stacked up like cordwood. Snow sucks. You like snow? Move to Greenland!
The music. Sure Yule ditties like Wonderful Christmastime and Feliz Navidad, just to name two, should be lumped in with water boarding as forms of torture, but I can narrow down my seasonal bile to one song, one moment that so irks me I can barely type this because it makes me think of it. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. The original Brenda Lee version. I try to block it out of my memory but it’s when she sings, “Rockin’ around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.” Then there’s this note – this evil note – that sounds like some instrument being strangled. It goes up in pitch a bit. I can’t even describe it. I don’t know music well enough to understand its origins. I only know that were I certain what instrument made this sound I might go on a one-man crusade to destroy each and every one of them to ensure this sound was never recreated ever again.
Naughty or nice. Even as a kid, this moral absolute bothered me. I could be pretty good all year but do one bad thing and all that good was cancelled out? How naughty did you have to be? I mean, I knew some nasty bullies that always seemed to get stuff from Santa every year. What the heck was the fat man’s criteria? And no one ever got coal or switches. The whole thing seemed like nothing more than a way for parents to control their kids. Which it was.
The Nutcracker. Don’t get it. Never will. It’s ballet. Church is bad enough – now I have to watch ballet? Dammit.
The science of Santa. It never fails. Every year some goon releases statistics on how fast Santa’s sleigh would have to travel to make his rounds and how, using wormholes and tesseracts and whatnot, he could actually deliver the presents in one night – and even how, through genetic engineering, possibly create a flying reindeer. Every year. IT’S PRETEND, YOU UBER-GEEKS! At the very least, it’s magic. So shut the hell up.
Which brings me to …
Legit news going soft to track Santa. I just went to CNN’s web site. On the front page is the headline “Santa makes first US stop in Florida.” NORAD is tracking Santa, they claim. I even heard on NPR earlier that the US government had lifted airspace restrictions to allow Santa to fly on his rounds. Again: IT’S PRETEND, PEOPLE!!!!! I’m all for creating a mystique for kids but I resent the lessening of legitimate journalism through fictitious means. Somehow I just don’t see Edward R. Murrow making up this crap.
A Christmas Carol. Not that it’s a bad story. Hell, it’s a great story! Wonderful characters and bits and Dickens proved he was The Man! But every time I read it or hear it read or see it portrayed, I can’t help but think that Scrooge was really a great big a-hole and that he was the last person on Earth to deserve such a wholesale shot at redemption by the entire netherworld.
It’s a Wonderful Life rip-offs. Every sitcom seems to do one. Every character seems to have that George Bailey moment. Every one of us, we are led to believe, has a guardian angel ever ready to make us see the light. Which, of course, is complete BS. Would the world really be worse off if Boner from Growing Pains had never been born? Don’t know. Love to find out though.
Tangerines and nuts in stockings. Lame. Just bloody lame. Even Tiny Tim wasn’t this lame.
Sparky MacMillan still wants a hula hoop.