Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Season's Beatings

Christmas time is here, and yours truly is fighting the force-fed holiday cheer. While the typical regiment of lights viewing, ornament hanging, and presents wrapping begets its own joys, it’s been somewhat quelled by the media’s persistent projection of our impending economic doom. Santa’s here at FAO Schwarz to ask all the little boys and girls what they’d like for Christmas but also to remind them not to get their hopes up! As much as I’d like to ride a float and yell via megaphone “LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE!!!,” I readily admit that there are some seasonal traditions and festivities that I will never get into. Among them, egg nog. I’m pretty sure nog is not a word, but rather a sound you make while drinking it or a racial slur of some sort. It's offensive any way you slice it. And unfortunately the promise of brandy is not likely to change my disposition and justify consuming its other questionable, sallow constituents.

Part of me wonders if my holiday season funk is due to an aversion to most if not all Christmas music. And before you crucify me over being entirely out of sync with the rest of rosy-cheeked, doe-eyed, wreath-hanging America, I challenge anyone to try and endure a single track from any of Manheim Steamroller’s god awful albums. If you’re wondering what this listening experience is like, let me save you the sonic assault on your eardrums. It sounds like Satan decided to join Wham! and play rhythm keytar. It also doesn’t help that everyone and their mother has a Christmas CD recorded. Forgive me for being less than enthusiastic over The Jonas Brothers’ jaunty rendition of “Santa Baby.” I’m also perturbed by everyone’s perennial insistence to perform Handel’s Messiah, which is actually an Easter piece.

No, it appears that the only seasonal music I can endure for any length of time is the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sure it’s depressing as all get out, but it’s musical Lithium in my opinion and quite possibly the only thing that can procure patience when stuck behind the Duggar family’s 18 squawking offspring in the check-out lane. Hi I’m Santa’s liaison, and he’s seen fit to give you condoms this year. Merry Christmas, mom and dad. Welcome to the exciting world of prophylactics. Please refrain from procreating any further, and give your uterus and pocketbook a break.

It’s not the kids themselves that make me want to drink. As an uncle of two lady killers in training, I can attest to the fact that children make the holidays worthwhile. Their first Christmas dinner, first snow, and first pants-pissing on Santa’s lap all make for indelible memories. No, it’s the parents who have the potential to derail the Polar Express. Their commercial bloodlust is matched only by their hatred for other consumer parents, also vying for hard to find Nintendo DS games. This year alone, I’ve seen not a few pack mothers adopting the facial expressions of the wolfman, Shaun Ellis.

Truth be told, I would probably rival Clark Griswold’s enthusiasm were Christmas not so stressful. A fact cemented this year by the trampling death of a Wal-Mart employee on Black Friday, all in efforts to acquire $400 HDTVs. Anyone who scheduled Christmas in Pamplona can apparently save a trip. The only appropriate response is, “Are you f$%king kidding me?!” And yet I’m not surprised. This is just another product of a culture that froths at the mouth over all things Hannah Montana. I’m disturbed not so much by 6-yr olds wanting shower gel that will make them smell like Miley Cyrus as I am the not exactly target audience of middle-aged men exhibiting similar fanaticism.

The fact remains that a holiday season proposing selflessness and goodwill toward others is repeatedly anything but. For some reason, we as humans consistently feel the need to outdo each other, even in our seasonal charity. The very fact that banks have Christmas Club savings accounts proves that we spend too much money on each other. Nothin’ says I love you like credit crippling debt, schnookums. Thanks to Rent a Center, we can have this 42” big screen TV that we’ll pay for at least 3 times due to the 29% APR. Maybe one day we’ll get a house together, and it’ll hold all our hopes, dreams, and possessions that we have yet to pay off. Merry Christmas babe! If you hear a stir in the night, let’s hope it’s Santa and not the repo man!