Friday, November 16, 2007

Christmas Story

I am going to post this a day early, as I will be traveling this weekend, and Saturday is the big OSU / Michigan game. Since I will be immersed in the insanity that is Columbus while this event is going on in Ann Arbor, I felt it best to get it out of the way ahead of time. My travels will continue into the next week, as I journey to fair Kansas City; but my ability to produce my particular brand of lunacy will not diminish. (no matter how much you wish it would)  

Well Halloween is over and we are fast approaching Thanksgiving, which means that the Christmas season is once again upon us with a vengeance. The stores have put aside all of the candy, relegated any turkey-related displays to secondary positions, and begun to throw all of us (willing or not) into a Christmas shopping frenzy. All now are beginning to look forward to the arrival of that white-haired, fat guy, with a beard (but enough about me). 

This is a time when families gather together, trees are decorated, and aggressive shopping becomes a Olympic level sport. It is also quite frankly, the time of year when I most question the intelligence of my fellow man. You think I'm kidding? Then answer these questions for me: 

 - When did people start waiting in line all night in front of a store like they it was an Stephen Spielberg movie premier? Do we really need to shop at 5AM in order to save a couple of bucks and buck up the sales of bloated retailers, or would it make more sense to at least wait until the sun comes up before doing our part in the massive consumerism that is the US economy? Has anyone bothered to think of those poor schmuck store employees who have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to face the thundering herd waiting on their doorstep?  

- What part of the Christmas spirit is it to fight with your fellow man over the over-hyped gift that your kid just has to have or the adult toy that you can't live without? People are fighting over the latest game system or a $200 laptop that probably won't do much of anything anyway! Forget the religious implications here folks, if Santa sees this you are definitely in line for a rock in your stocking.  

- When did we become so stupid (or is this merely the assumption of the advertising companies and retailers) that diamonds, big screen HD TV's, and expensive automobiles are the only Christmas presents that will make us happy? I watched "Charlie Brown Christmas", and I know and accept that Christmas has gone commercial. I just missed the part where it became "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". 

- What part of the Christmas spirit is it to run up all of your credit cards buying expensive, over-hyped presents for everyone in your family, to the point that it will be next Christmas before you get them paid off again?

- What happened to the toy commercials (or have I just not been watching the right channels)? The Christmas hype used to always be about the kids. Now all of the commercials are about adult toys. Is this about the spirit of giving or just who has the most disposable income? (We know the answer to this of course, but I had to ask the question anyway.)  

- Will they be playing "Miracle on 34th Street" over and over again this year, with the black and white version preceding the colorized one? Is this some new, diabolic plot being perpetrated on us by evil corporations, or have this just finally worn out the copy of "A Christmas Story" that we have being bombarded with for the last couple of years? (On the other hand, could this be an even more devious plot than I have reckoned, and just the warm up; with "A Christmas Story" yet to follow?) 

- Why do we feel the need to overindulge at Christmas parties, as if we had taken a vow of abstinence since the 4th of July? 

My personal advice would be to take a pass on all of them. If the cops don't get you for a DUI (which can tend to spoil the whole family's holiday), the odds are that you will do something either personally or professionally humiliating in a very public place. The ensuing period of guilt and retribution can also make for less than a jolly holiday season. If you feel the need to over-serve yourself on adult beverages, do so at home while watching "Miracle on 34th Street". If you nod off and miss some part, don't worry, it will be on again. 

Listen folks, I may not be the Spirit of Christmas (though I am getting close enough in size and appearance to qualify for the Spirit of Christmas Present role in the upcoming holiday spectacular); but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that somehow we missed a turn from society's GPS system. I know that this is really just a pagan Holiday (Mithras) adopted by Christians way, way back to reconcile the unknown date for the birth of Jesus Christ with an already existing celebration. I also recognize the significance of the day in terms of religious belief, as well as the pagan desire to celebrate a mid-winter festival. In either Christian or pagan incarnations, this holiday was supposed to be about fellowship and good cheer. Let's not try to loose sight of that as we try to celebrate this special time of year. So lighten up everyone, and in the words of Tiny Tim (no relation), "God bless us, every one."


Hooda Thunkit said...

This sir, can only be classified or categorized as the rantings of a sane man, BRAVO!

Maybe this year, we (at least those who still have faith and still believe) should focus on the REAL reason for the season.

What a refreshing change that would be!

Chad said...

Jingle Bells!

Tim Higgins said...


Like a number of my fellow bloggers (you among them), I continue to rail against the failings of society, even though I am oft-times as guilty as any.

It does seem a shame though that in this country founded on the principle of tolerance and religious freedom, we choose to celebrate by embracing a sort of rabid consumerism in its most degraded form.

It may not be pretty, but it certainly does give non-Christians comic relief.