Friday, December 08, 2006

What I "like" the "best" about the "holidays".

By which I mean: "hate", "worst", "stupid holidays".

1. Holiday Driving

Everyone writes the same postscript in their greetings cards - "Be sure to stop by sometime!" which is vague and passive-aggressive at best. But at the very least you have to show your mother in law that you love the reindeer-embroidered vest that she gave you (with matching dangly earrings!) and so off you go, braving the icy roads to find drivers who have thrown peace and love out the window in favour of special holiday rage and a very merry price-gouging at the pumps. Santa's magic sleigh begins to look all the more reasonable - fuel efficient, and no need for snow tired! Amen to that.

2. Christmas Kiosks

One day, midway through November when the malls were starting to crowd with waves of shoulder-to-shoulder holiday shoppers, a little boy grew tired of walking and his mother picked him up. An astute mall manager spotted this extra 4 inches of space and decided to capitalize on it by squeezing in a small cart selling Christmas Crap, and the annoying mall kiosk was born.

Around the holidays, the number of kiosks grows exponentially because nothing says "I care" like an acne kit endorsed by a pop star, or better yet, a bunch of fake hair that claims to be "real" but feels more like "real fake hair", probably made in the same factory as plastic cutlery and jelly sandals. And of course there's the calendar kiosk reminding you that you're getting older but not wiser, that you never made good on last year's resolutions, that your womb is drying up and your turkey is drying out, and by god there are only 6 more shopping days until Christmas. But my favourite by far is the Hickory Farms kiosk - every year when I'm buying love at the Sony Store, I pass the time spent in line wondering about what kind of person is keeping these guys in business. How better to say "I love you" than with questionable cheeses and an assortment of jellies never meant for human consumption?

3. Really "great" holiday music

a) I have never in my life encountered any nut roasting on any fire.

b) Nothing says Christmas like your intoxicated grandmother getting trampled to death by a herd of prancing deer.

c) My friends do not call "yoo hoo". If they did, the next line of the song would be "Stop wasting my god-damned weekend minutes!"

d) Jingle bells do not "rock" in any sense of the word.

Oh what's the point? There has not been a new Christmas song since the Era of Lawrence Welk, and quite frankly, when every song is basically propaganda for a couple of guys no one's ever seen, well, this stuff is just too easy.

4. Secret Santa

Because obviously you love your coworkers. Even the lady with the inspirational cat posters who drinks tea out of mugs with 'clever' phrases written on them like "Born to Bingo" who tells your boss that you were 4 minutes late, and even the guy who parks his car diagonally across 3 handicapped spaces and never holds the elevator, even your boss who puts his name on your ideas and who smells suspiciously of sorority vomit on Monday mornings. Clearly you want to buy them lovely things, and trust them to buy you something lovely in return, which clearly can be done for the agreed-upon $15 limit which you exceed slightly in the name of good taste, and which your secret Santa apparently took as only a suggestion when he picked up this 2-pack of car air fresheners at the gas station his morning for 67 cents.

And the best part? It's secret, so you can't even take credit for giving that great bottle of wine to the guy who never washes his hands after using the bathroom and makes creative use of the office photo copier. Good times.

5. "Delicious" Holiday Treats

Cranberries: what the hell is up with cranberries? As if they weren't annoying enough in awful juice format (slogan: even your urinary tract would prefer a glass of oj), along comes Christmas and its damn Christmas bird. Take your pick: turkey, goose, tiny little hen....either way, who was the first person to think "I think I'll plop some of this useless little fruit on top"? And then the guy after him who couldn't even be bothered to do that, but instead a tin-can-shaped blob of red stuff in a dish that we generously called "cranberry sauce" but might more accurately be named "a middling source of dietary fiber and manganese, whatever the hell that is."

Eggnog: Friends and fellow countrymen, repeat after me: egg is not a mixer.

Fruitcake: Way to take a good thing (namely, cake) and fuck it all up. I mean, it wasn't enough to put fruit on top of your meat (see above diatribe against the unholy cranberry), you had to foul up dessert as well. And it's not that I have anything per say against fruit, but fruitcake doesn't even pretend to be good. And according to wikipedia, a fresh fruitcake has not been baked since 1913, instead the same 12 have just been circulating ever since, occasionally being wrapped in new cellophane (well, I'm paraphrasing). But there's not a lot of good to be said about a so-called dessert that's primary ingredients are not about taste but about "preventing mould" (and I'm not even making that part up). Some people claim fruitcake gets better with age, but I'm betting these are the same cranks who think headcheese from a mall kiosk makes an excellent gift.

6. Santa Hats

You know who should wear a Santa hat? Santa. And even then, I would strongly suggest he switch over to a more stylin fedora, or even a cute beenie if warmth is his main concern. But every year it seems that people go rummaging through the storage space under their trailers for their grubby, tatty Santa hats so they can wear them around all December long looking like a festive hangout for fleas and other vermin. And for some reason, every single homeless person has been provided with a pre-infested Santa hat, which the homeless person then generously shares with various mangy dogs. And people still think this is a good style to copycat - I mean, obviously a big fat man wearing a red velvet jumpsuit is a fashion icon, am I right?

7. Poinsettias

You know how right before Easter there's always a public service announcement about how rabbits don't make a very good gift because you have to be prepared to care for it for oh, the rest of its life, after the cuteness of it wears off 2 days after the holiday has passed? Well, the same should be done for poor poinsettias. They're living creatures too you know, and yet they are unceremoniously dumped right after Christmas. In some parts of Mexico it is actually referred to as "excrement flower" and this surprises me not one bit.

8. X-mas

Who agreed upon this spelling? Since when does X = Christ? Is this the "new math" or some sort of old "arithmetic" from before algebra was invented? Was Jesus an X-man? Or did chat-room illiterates come up with this along with their other ridiculous acronyms and alternate spellings which I refuse to even acknowledge (and still to this day will reject the friendship of anyone who CUL8R's me). Either way, I take offense. I mean, if you believe he died for your sins and will come again to judge the living and the dead, I'm thinking you might want to take the time to spell his name correctly, eh?

9. Schmaltzy Sitcoms

Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80s, but the mere thought of a dysfunctional TV family who spends 22 minutes week in and week out airing their "hilarious" grievances with each other Tuesday night after Tuesday night suddenly banding together on a special holiday episode where for that night only they suddenly all have pianos in their living rooms, and they suddenly all burst into Christmas carols at the exact same moment (even though just last week Steve Urkel was barely allowed inside the house, let alone to put his arms around "the big guy" and croon about their hot nuts)....well, it drives me crazy. Anything with a "touching theme" or "holiday message" or "sentimental tribute" is laxatives to me.

10. Christmas Tipping

Once upon a time, a tip was a little something you gave someone out of the goodness of your heart to reward them for exceptional service. I swear it's true. And then it became expected. And then it became demanded whether service was adequate or not. And then it was requested just because a certain date on the calendar was fast-approaching, and anyone you came within a 10-mile radius of is suddenly crawling out of the woodwork, palm up, looking for a fat envelope, to which I say: scrooge you.

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