Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Holidays: Putting the woe in my "ho-ho-ho"

It started just after Halloween. You know what I'm talking about. I'm standing there at Kohl's looking for jeans for my string bean of a teen and suddenly the chords of "Jingle Bell Rock" hit my eardrums like an electric shock. Momentarily stunned, I suddenly have the urge to run from the store screaming, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Let's just define and outline what's going on here. "The Holidays" - and I use that term loosely - is a period of time between mid-October and early January where advertisers, marketers, retail conglomerates, the internet (yes, I'm talking to YOU, Pinterest) and Facebook friends with perfect families turn the positive emotions up a notch that drive the rest of us who are simply trying to muddle our way through to February to the point of insanity and utter despair.

What. Too much?

This is not me.
Come on. You know as well as I do that "every kiss does NOT begin with Kay" unless Kay is some high school slut hell bent on setting a little record of her own. And the fact that "He went to Jared" is a fine marketing technique but NEVER have I had one of those touching moments where I'm lying on a car hood in the snow with my boyfriend and he reaches in his pocket and hands me a box of diamond loveliness. And where do they get those ginormous bows that they put on top of those brand new cars? WHO THE HELL GETS A CAR FOR CHRISTMAS?????

My teenager is not going to bound through the door with his buddies to find me decorating homemade Christmas cookies and wanting to help, nor will we sit around high fiving each other and smiling while enjoying the finished product. You are not going to get four or five kids in headlamps sitting on the couch waiting for Santa without a fight and at least two broken headlamps. I'm lucky my kids agree to sit with me at church on Christmas Eve (one on either side because otherwise they'll poke each other and make me say things that are not so Christian.)

The people who work at the radio stations that play "All Christmas - All the Time" for the 30+ days preceding HAVE to to be highly medicated and/or plugged into Spotify or Pandora. As I would be if I worked in ANY retail store during the holidays, which I would probably do only after repeated failed attempts at slitting my wrists.

I did not take this picture.
And don't get me started on Black Friday, which has now turned into Blacker than Black Thursday. Here's how that sales meeting went. "Look. The families are already together on Thanksgiving, but then they go home, and they might oversleep. So let's get them while they're half-drunk and under the influence of tryptophan and completely sick of each other and open our doors the NIGHT BEFORE so they can stampede each other EVEN EARLIER to spend money they DON'T HAVE on things they DON'T NEED! All in favor?" "Aye."

OK. So I'm a little jaded. And perhaps envious of those who embrace the holidays as a month and a half to be full of good cheer and wonderfulness. But to me, I can do all that without Neil Diamond's Christmas Medley (I love him but the guy is JEWISH, for God's sake!) and not make such a jingly production of it. I can do without the gift-giving expectations or the guilt felt when I don't - or can't - reciprocate what I am given. I can do without the sparkly holiday dress and the endless holiday gluttonies that pack on the pounds right before I settle in for my annual winter slump. And I can certainly do without the commercials and TV shows that remind me that I am so far from a Hallmark moment it's not even funny.

Here's an idea. Let's all go buy a coat for a kid who's REALLY cold. Let's feed someone who's REALLY hungry. Let's spend some extra time with our kids if they'll let us and hug our families even if they may drive us bananas at times. Let's go to church and remember why we're really supposed to celebrate this holiday and know that it has nothing to do with ANY of the crap that we've created today. I can do without the remixed Christmas carols, the Black Friday follies, the sappy commercials that AREN'T REAL and the pressures that I allow myself to be put under to make this "the best Christmas EVAH." I just don't have the money, nor the time, nor the patience or the holly jollies. Just hook me up with some spiked eggnog and let me know when it's over.

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