Tag Archives: Christmas

A few of my (ever-delightful) theories on Christmas (that are sure to piss off the Catholics)

Now that Christmas is fully upon us (it’s Christmas Eve already? WTF), it’s time to clear up a few things about the popular holiday. There are more than a few lies going around about this whole Christmas business, so of course, being my typical opinionated self, I figured I’d dabble in my own theories on the joy and wonder that is Christmas.

Santa Claus is supposed to be mysterious and unseen, not ho-ho-hoing at me while I shop for overpriced gifts. I’m all about the real Santa but I’m not too fond of the idea of getting a picture taken with some creepy wannabe at the mall. If you think about it, every department store Santa whose lap you’ve ever sat on was just some creepy fat guy who put on a red suit and fake beard (unless he had a real one, which is more likely these days). Without the red suit, he would just be some creepy fat guy and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t let my kids sit on the lap of someone who is probably a pedophile. Just saying. I wonder if the department store Santas have to endure a rigorous screening process before being hired?

And even if I did agree with the idea of letting my child sit on some strange man’s lap, doesn’t that kind of kill the magic of Santa Claus? Because that child is going to believe one of two things. 1. They are going to think the creepy man’s lap they are sitting awkwardly upon is the real  Santa Claus, thus ruining the magic. You aren’t supposed to see Santa, you’re just supposed to know he’s there and he’s always watching (also creepy, what about when I’m on the toilet? I don’t want him seeing that). Or 2. they are going to know he isn’t the real Santa, because c’mon, how many fake Santas do you see over the course of about two months? They clearly can’t all be the real Santa, so then you have to wonder why are there so many impersonators? And if this is an impersonator, and you are acknowledging the fact that he’s not the real Santa but simply a fraud, what the hell are you doing sitting on his lap? This is just going to confuse kids and make them resent their parents, who have forced them to, essentially, cuddle up to some strange, smelly man they don’t know. Clearly why most photos with Santa end up looking like this:

scared santa

Retail stores invented the idea of gift-giving. Just like most holidays, I’m convinced it’s the retail stores that somehow incorporated the idea of spending money at Christmastime. I like buying people presents; nothing delights me more than watching their faces light up when they unwrap that thing they’ve been hoping for all year. But we live in such a consumerist society that it makes me vomit in my mouth just a teeny bit. I turned on the news this morning only to hear about mass graves in South Sudan, meanwhile people here in my country are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to buy last-minute presents for people who probably don’t deserve them anyway. If we’re going to spend money and give gifts, why not give them to the people that actually need them? A few years ago, I suggested to my family we no longer buy each other Christmas presents. As the baby of the family, it seemed a bit silly to be buying presents for each other when we could be putting that money spent to better use. For the last few years, instead of buying friends and family presents they really didn’t need, I’ve been buying presents to donate to Toys for Tots. So the next time you’re about to ask someone to buy you something for Christmas, maybe think about how lucky you are to have the things you already do have and ask them to spread the wealth, instead.

And for that matter, if you want to argue that the idea of gift-giving came from the idea that three kings (it was 3, right?) brought baby Jesus presents on his birthday, which is “supposedly” why we celebrate Christmas in the first place (tell that to anyone who buys Christmas presents), well then why does everyone else get presents? Shouldn’t we just be buying them for a tiny, baby-Jesus-like person? Or just leaving them in a barn somewhere?

I’m going to hell for that one. Moving on.

Anti-environmentalists started the tradition of the Christmas tree. I think it’s pretty obvious that anyone who hates the environment would decide to chop down an Evergreen and put it up on display in their living room. Now don’t get me wrong, my family and I used to cut down our own tree every year when I was younger, and it was one of my favorite traditions. The lights,  the ornaments, the smell of the pine needles permeating the house. But I would still mourn the loss of that tree’s life, especially once the season was over and we had nothing to do but haul the dying tree out to the woods to rot. It’s very similar to the idea of mourning the turkey I eat on Thanksgiving. I’m still going to eat it, and it’s still going to taste delicious, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard, simply because someone long ago decided a turkey would be the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite in your eyes, but I don’t really give a tiny rat’s ass. Besides, this post isn’t about my hypocrisy in life, of which there is probably an abundance, it’s about my theories on Christmas. Anyway, I can’t imagine why people are so eager to destroy the plant and animal life around them, without ever any regard for any other living thing but themselves. It’s like when I am constantly yelling at my students for ripping the leaves off of trees, reminding them that they wouldn’t like it if someone pulled their fingers off one by one. Oh, you don’t want me teaching your child? Get over it.

cat ate birdChristians clearly feel the need to one-up the Jews. Think about it. Jews have 8 days of Hanukkah while Christians feel they need to have Twelve Days of Christmas. Who invented that song, anyway? What the hell is a partridge doing in a pear tree, and why would anyone want that? If you ask me, those are terrible gifts to receive.

I have so many more theories about Christmas, life, the universe, everything… But I think that’s enough to get your own brain thinking as you tear through your presents tomorrow morning. Or at the very least, I’ve given you something to bring to the dinner table tomorrow when you can’t take anymore of your great-aunt’s cheek-pinching or your baby cousin’s crying or your uncle’s inappropriate comments.

Until next year, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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12 last-minute Christmas gift ideas (that are sure to “wow” them)

Over the years, I’ve written some cynical posts about Christmas trees and wish lists that would never be granted. But amongst all my nonsensical ramblings, I’ve yet to write anything on the topic of Christmas and gift buying, never once touching on the types of gifts that should be under everyone’s tree (or pants- more about that later). So for those of you last-minute shoppers (we in the literary world like to call you “procrastinators”) who haven’t yet decided what to deck your friends’ halls with, here are 12 last-minute gift ideas that are sure to wow them. And give Santa a heart attack.

12.) Bankruptcy. Whether you get it for yourself or for someone else, it’s a gift that’s sure to last for years to come.

11.) A flea infestation. If you get this for me, I will have to kill you. And regift it (preferably back to you). Been there, done that.

10.) A gym membership. Nothing says “I love you” and “Merry Christmas” more than telling someone they’re fat and out of shape.

9.) Identity theft. Perfect way to ring in the new year. 

8.) Broken bones. Hit them with a baseball bat, run them over with your car, whatever gets the job done.

7.) Front row seats to a Justin Bieber concert. This present is especially perfect for anyone over the age of 18 who actually has good taste in music.

6.) Diarrhea. Just squirt some eye drops into their eggnog. Or feed them McDonald’s.

5.) Jail time. Accomplice to murder, co-conspirator to a coup d’etat, grand theft auto. The choices are endless.

4.) A divorce. Because who doesn’t love getting their heart ripped out on Christmas?

3.) Fruit cake. No comment necessary.

2.) A hooker. But only if the recipient is a woman. Clearly what every woman wants for the holidays.

And a herpes new year.

MERRY-CHRISTMAS-YA-FILTHY-ANIMAL

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Choosing a tree (and other reasons why Christmas is tragic)

Oh, Christmas tree.

Whether real or fake, it has long been a tradition to put up a Christmas tree for the holidays. I’m not even sure where the tradition began, and why. Who decided, hey, let’s go outside, cut down a tree and bring it into our house. And while we’re at it, we might as well drape lights and shiny plastic and glittering globes of various colors from its branches. It’s kind of a strange tradition if you think about it.

I also wonder when the idea to incorporate fake, plastic trees into the tradition came about. Either way, I’d say the loyalty is split about 50/50 nowadays.

One of the many trees we brought into our home, loved, and discarded.

We always had a real tree growing up- although I can’t necessarily vouch for my early years of life; it’s very possible we had one or two fake ones when I was a baby, but with my dad’s less-than-friendly disposition toward the idea, I think it’s safe to assume we never did. As a kid, the mess and maintenance involved with having a real tree never mattered to me; my dad always took care of the setup, watering and break-down. Sometimes I’d help by vacuuming the stray needles that littered the floor after bringing the tree in and out of the house. But that was usually the extent of it. Instead, I got to help with the decorating and simply enjoy the tree’s beauty and ambiance. And there was always something comforting and homey about having a real tree, between the scent and the look of it.

Sometimes we would just pick one out among the many pre-cut beauties, deciding which ones were ugly, which were too small, which were too big and which was just right.  Usually we’d cut one down ourselves, though, trudging out into the fields, in the snow and cold, searching for that perfect one. My dad always did the cutting (naturally) but it became a tradition that made the whole concept that much more intimate.

But now, this being my first Christmas in my own place, the idea of a fake tree doesn’t seem as unpleasant. I decided to forgo a tree this year, unsure whether I’d even be around to enjoy it or not. But, although it saddens me to think I won’t have a real tree again (at least for awhile), the ease and convenience of a fake tree is becoming more and more appealing. The cost of a freshly-cut tree can get expensive, up into the hundreds for a real good one, and when you’re done enjoying it for a month or so, you throw it out. Sure, a fake tree (a decent one, not one of those ugly, tacky ones) is probably not cheap either. But what, you spend a few hundred once, and then you have it for years to come. You pull it out of storage once a year, set it up, and that’s it, no watering, no maintenance, no falling needles to litter the floor and prick your feet. The idea still bums me out, but I still have a year to think about it.

For now I will just try and focus on not thinking about what’s coming next, what happens to the real trees after they’ve served their purpose- or for those unlucky ones that were never bought, after they’ve been rejected over and over again. I always wondered what happened to the ones nobody wanted, but the older I get, the less I try to think about it. The outlook is bleak, and the more I let myself dwell on the thought, the more depressed I become.

Quite frankly, I mourn for you, Christmas tree. Not only are you disrespected by the millions of plastic wannabes that adorn shop windows the day after Halloween (and sometimes before), but for those who are lucky enough to be cut down and loved (for however long a time) your life is short-lived. When we’re done using you, when we’ve gotten everything we can out of you, when we no longer need you or care about you, you are tossed out, lost among the other trash, the crumpled wrapping paper, the empty boxes, the broken ornaments. You are nothing more than a decoration, and once you’ve served your purpose, we move on.

You mean nothing. You are forgotten.

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What I want for Christmas (and other unlikely things that will never come to pass)

Every year, friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas, and I never really have a good answer. More often than not (especially now, in my current state of holiday grinchy-ness) I convince people not to buy me anything, mainly to avoid the sheer uncomfortable nature of the whole gift-giving tradition. But every year, millions of kids around the world write well-thought-out (albeit highly grammatically incorrect) letters to Santa, describing their biggest dreams and ultimate desires, trying to convince him that they’ve been extra special good and deserving and could he please make sure to bring everything they ask for. So I’ve decided it’s time to write the fat man himself and get him to straighten out a thing or two in my world.

 

 

Dear Santa.

Look at that face. That's the face of someone on the nice list.

I know you are real, even though as a small child (and by small child I mean probably 11 or 12 years old) my parents- effectively ruining my life and crushing my hopes and dreams- told me that you did not exist. Even though there was a boot print in the fireplace that one year. And the cookies were always gone. Although, the milk was still there, I don’t know what that’s about. Anyway, here’s my Christmas list. I think I deserve everything on it because I’ve been pretty good this year. In no particular order, here’s what I want for Christmas:

A British accent.  But not a fake one. I have an impeccable British accent, but it’s fake. I want to be British and have a real British accent. Then I can move back to London and not feel creepy talking to people with my British accent.

The ability to talk to animals. Like Eliza Thornberry. But better looking.

World peace.

A new government. Because ours sucks. The end.

Jesse Lacey.

To find Atlantis.

The end of homelessness.

My dead dog Ninja. Because she was my best friend. And she’s better than your dog.

A haunted castle. Because I’m creepy and I want to meet a ghost. Plus who wouldn’t want a castle?

To meet aliens.

To dive the Titanic.

A penguin.

Self-driving cars. Because sometimes I’m just too lazy to drive.

My own country.

Smaller feet. 

The end of animal cruelty. Because I like animals better than people.

A submarine.

Antarctica.

Tim Burton’s brain. Because he’s an artistic genius.

Halloween year-round.

Love,

your biggest fan/admirer/advocate/supporter/enthusiast/believer/any other noun that will sway you to concession,

Julia

 

P.S. If you don’t bring me everything I ask for, I will have no other choice but to poison you with sour milk and raw cookies next year.

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Why I believe holidays are pointless (and other cynical thoughts to bring you down this Christmas)

The biggest consumerist holiday is officially underway.  Every year we as a society lose sight of the true purpose of the holidays, giving in to the greed and hunger of material things, all-consumed by excess. We have this constant need to show off and compete, and meet unrealistic expectations that society creates for us. As someone who has worked in retail and dealt with it first-hand, it’s really quite disgusting. Our society is driven by the need to please, and we live from one holiday to the next. And all holidays have become are another reason to give and receive material gifts.

First of all, I’m in no way a supporter of the “fake” holidays, more specifically the famous “Hallmark holiday,” Valentine’s Day. If I’m single, why do I need a blunt reminder that I am alone? And if, like me, you’re not alone and you do have a significant other, you shouldn’t need a specific day out of the year to remind them you care. I even tried looking up the origin of St. Valentine and it wasn’t even just one guy. The holiday was fairly non-existent then and it’s completely non-existent now.

This is great when you're a kid (and still believe in Santa) but it seems a bit much as you get older.

And as for the other holidays, namely Christmas, people have lost the real reason why we celebrate them in the first place. And frankly, I don’t need the pressure of remembering every acquaintance I’ve ever known, trying to figure out what they’d want as a gift and then having to endure the resulting pressure of whether or not I succeeded in producing something thoughtful and remarkable. The only thing I enjoy about these times are the pretty rad candies they come out with (but you can dye them any color, Peeps will taste the same regardless..) It just makes me long for certain aspects of lesser-developed societies, ones in which relationships are determined by emotional and intellectual connections, not by a bank account. I’m not saying I’d give up luxuries such as running water and electricity, as I do enjoy a hot shower every now and again, but to be so happy and carefree when you have none of these other things getting in the way must surely be relieving. Despite the convenience and comforts of civilized society, I have to say I’m strongly considering a deserted island with just some tasty coconuts and edible sea life and maybe a pretty awesome volleyball I can call Wilson..

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