Friday, December 24

This Is Sparta

Dear Christmas,

Oh, you've gone and done it now.  Yeah, I get it, you're kind of a big deal, and you've had billions of accomplices, but this situation has gotten completely out of hand.

First, we need to discuss your arrival date.  You show up earlier and earlier every year.  A once mild-mannered winter holiday is now a flashing neon train wreck that eats up half of fall and would keep going right on through January if folks would allow it.  That creeper Santa Claus shows up on everything from tinsel to toilet paper.  The world is awash in red and green.  Know what other colors are awesome?  ALL OF THEM.  Yellow and orange are far more jolly than red and green, but do they get any play?  Hell no.

And the expectations.  Man.  The perfect presents.  The perfect party.  The perfect decorations.  The list goes on and on ad nauseum and settles in the stomach (or possibly the colon) like one too many egg nogs on a belly full of fruit cake.  What began as a quiver in the tummy travels up the spine, and by the time it reaches the brain stem, it's a bubble of CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY!

So people get in their cars and drive frantically all over town, recklessly, might I add.  This isn't the holidays.  THIS IS SPARTA!  People getting trampled over gaming consoles.  Fist fights over (shudder) Tickle Me Elmo.

Tis the season of self-importance.

Because you know what?  It's not even about Christmas any more.  It's not about an infant savior king and familial love and conjuring light and warmth in the depths of winter.  Oh hell no.  I have to have the perfect present.  MY party has to be the one everyone talks about.  If I don't do everything right, I WILL BE JUDGED.

So we suck it up and deal with it.  We get in the car and begrudgingly brave the teeming masses of the big box stores and shopping centers.  We travel hundreds of miles to be with family members.  We drive ourselves to distraction trying to figure out which material thing will most please the ones we love.  Hell, some of us get stuck buying presents for people we don't like.  And occasionally, we even drop a couple bucks in the Salvation Army's bucket just so the DINGALINGALINGALINGALINGA will stop long enough that we can enjoy the blissfully bell-free two seconds in which the bell ringer says "Thank you!"  The month of December is lost in a blur of obligations and stress.

And if that weren't bad enough, there's the music.  It starts as early as November, piped into every office, shop, and restaurant.  The same 20 or so songs that we hear year after year.  New versions surface.  They don't help.  It's just a new coat of varnish on the old mental refrain of "STAB STAB STABBY STAB STAB"  Sometimes, entirely new songs surface.  They're usually worse than their predecessors.  The contrast of the warm, wholesome, relaxing time to reconnect with family that seems to be the theme central to almost all of the songs that don't discuss the Christmas story to the rage-inducing shit storm that is Christmas preparation is maddening.  Stores, take note.  I really don't want to hear about baby Jesus coming to bring peace and goodwill to men while some crazy old codger is attempting to cut in front of me and my five items with his full cart in the self-checkout line.  This old fart did not get the memo, I'm filling with rage, he's edging his cart ahead of me, JINGLE BELLS!  JINGLE BELLS!  *death glare at old man*  *old man retreats*  Sorry fella.  If I had a full cart and you had five items, I'd gladly let you cut ahead of me, but that's not the case so stop acting like I'm not going to notice what you did there.  For the record, yes, I am ashamed of myself for death-glaring an old man over something so stupid, but I'd probably be a hell of a lot less grumpy if it weren't for all the holly jolly horse shit that December 23rd, OMG LAST SHOPPING DAY, brings.

So, Christmas, here are my demands.

1.  No more showing up before December 1st.  Period.  No advertisements, no music, no lights, NOTHING before December 1st.  Total compliance is mandatory.

2.  Tone it down on the music, ok?  How about we spend the first half of December listening to music that is appropriate year-round, then crank up the Christmas tunes on December 15th?  Let's be fair.  If there were only 20 light rock hits of the 70's and 80's available for general public easy listening pablum the rest of the year, there would be a full scale riot.

3.  Now, about the obligatory shit.  Presents?  Let's limit those to best friends and immediate family only, no more than three per person from any individual.  Parties?  Let's keep that in the family, too.

4.  As for stress?  Everyone age 18 and up will be issued exactly 30 Xanax at the beginning of December.  Use them wisely, and remember that if you take one THEN drink at the office Christmas party (should your office defy demand #3), there will absolutely be xeroxes of your ass taped up around the office the next day.  You have been warned.

5.  Should you fail to comply, I will have your drunken frat boy cousin, New Year's Eve, kick your ass.

Just for the record, I'm not so jaded that I can't enjoy you with my family.  But I'd be so much happier if we could all just step back and take a deep breath and get to what's really important.

Tentatively yours,

PS  You do know that all of the other winter holidays are laughing at those of us who are still crazy enough to celebrate you, right?  Throw me a friggin' bone.  Better yet, throw me a friggin' valium.


  1. *holds hand out for xanax/valium* Thanks!
    Lovely, this letter, fantastic! Took the words outta my mouth, only made them sound so much classier than if they had left my actual mouth! Ha! Hope you have some quality fun times with fam/friends. Take care! <3

  2. I love Christmas! But I really hate how drawn out and flashy its gotten, I remember sitting around the tree with only a few family members and it was so nice and cozy and PERSONAL. I would rather have one good gift from a family member given with genuine love than a dozen boxes of generic and horrible chocolates given to me by people who have nothing better than talk crap behind my back the other 364 days of the year.

    This letter takes the words out of my mouth!

  3. Amen! Hallelujah! Sing it sister!!

    I love this letter! I mean, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, but he's just gotten too much to be around! I miss the good old days- I mean, why were there Dickensian Carolers in the train stations of Philadelphia on Nov. 1st?!

  4. I might need to send this exact letter to all of my family! Well done!