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ten reasons why i hate christmas

12.19.98

It's beginning to look a lot like Hell...uh, I mean Christmas. Every year around this time, I spiral into a bottomless pit of anger and depression. Here's why.

(1) CHRISTMAS CARDS

Nothing says "I don't really give a fuck about you" like a Christmas card that comes out of a box of twenty identical Christmas cards. Far worse is the Christmas newsletter: "Hi, I can't be bothered to write each of you a personal letter, so here's a computer-printed newsletter to brief you on my boring year." Also on the Rob shit-list: cutesy family Christmas cards with the whole family posing on the front; Christmas Create-a-Cards; and Christmas e-mail postcards. And if anyone e-mails me a snowball this year, I will track them down and do interesting things to them with a fork.

(2) CHRISTMAS TREES

At our house, we have the same artificial tree we've had since I was a baby. And these days, you can buy an artificial tree that looks exactly like a real one. So why buy a real one? For the pine scent? (Go out and sniff a pine cone, asshole.) For the joy of vacuuming pine needles off the rug every day? What?? I don't get it. And then, after New Year's Day, you see the most depressing thing ever: all the dead, rejected trees sitting out on the sidewalk, waiting to be taken to the dump. Mutilate a living thing, take it home, hang shit on it, then kick it to the curb: That's everything evil about America in a nutshell.

(3) CHRISTMAS PARTIES

Especially work-related. My Christmas party this year comes after a 9-to-6 day for me. After such a day, I want to go home and be alone. I don't want to hang with the same people I've been looking at all day. Then every year there's some sort of idiotic theme to the gift-giving (more on that later). Last year everyone had to write a poem, which was kind of cool; I can handle that. This year, though, everyone had to buy something red. (I was going to give a vial of my own blood, but I didn't think that would go over.) Question: If the point of these wingdings is to enjoy each other's company, why not just forget the gifts?

(4) CHRISTMAS GREED

This time of year is when you start overhearing the little brats screaming to their parents that they want the toy du jour -- this year, of course, it's a Furby. Parents are caught in a cruel bind: They can't very well say "Sorry, kids, Furbys are expensive and hard to find," because then the little shits will just ask Santa for one. So the parents pretty much have to pay through the nose for a Furby. Christmas is one compelling reason not to have kids unless you're Jewish or some other religion that doesn't celebrate Christmas, like Wicca.

(5) CHRISTMAS CAROLS

Ken Souza, who shares my hatred of Xmas music, swears by the three TWISTED CHRISTMAS discs -- and from the tracks we've all heard on the radio, they're pretty damn funny. I also like Kyle's "A Lonely Jew on Christmas," Cartman's cattle-prod rendition of "O Holy Night," Tom Lehrer's "A Christmas Carol" (quoted above), Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis," Bob and Doug MacKenzie's "12 Days of Christmas" ("On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me -- a beer"), and the Kinks' "Father Christmas." And I always welcome Adam Sandler's two Chanukah songs. As for the other muzak, I'm all for dumping it into a large hole, setting it on fire, and pissing out the flames.

(6) CHRISTMAS MOVIES

I only recognize two Christmas movies: SCROOGED (for Bill Murray) and ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS (for sick laughs). Then there are the Xmas horror flicks, like BLACK CHRISTMAS (which John Carpenter clearly saw before making HALLOWEEN), CHRISTMAS EVIL (a favorite of John Waters), SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, and JACK FROST (the one about the killer snowman, not the Michael Keaton one). Everything else, I can live without -- even IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, though it features my favorite actor, Jimmy Stewart. Then there's A CHRISTMAS STORY. (Okay, I can only speak for myself here, because I am definitely in the minority on A CHRISTMAS STORY, which everyone else on the planet adores, and which I loathe with the intensity of a laser beam. There's, like, one good scene -- the visit to Santa -- but everything else in the movie, I despise, beginning with Jean Shepherd's annoying, ineptly written narration: "My fevered brain seethed with the effort of trying to come up with the infinitely subtle devices necessary to implant the Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle indelibly into my parents' subsconscious!" Mr. Shepherd, meet Mr. Strunk and Mr. White.) As for Xmas specials, there's A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL, which I haven't seen in years. Everything else? Yawn.

(7) A CHRISTMAS CAROL

There are several good modern variations on it (see above), but you know what? Dickens' perennial fable of redemption is the granddaddy of a thousand lame movies: REGARDING HENRY, THE DOCTOR, LIFE STINKS (a lot of them seemed to come out around the same time), dozens of others -- they're ALL basically the Scrooge story: Mean person learns to be nice. Or the '90s version: Busy dad learns to spend more time with the kids. Yes, the working dad has become the Scrooge of the '90s -- witness HOOK, LIAR LIAR, and JACK FROST, to name but three.

(8) CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

The insanity begins the day after Thanksgiving, when anyone with two brain cells to rub together will stay the hell away from anything resembling a retail store. Somehow, though, the idiots come out in force every year. And there's no let-up until at least the second week of January, because even after Christmas, people return their shitty gifts (see below). And it's not as if the Christmas shopping season begins in November: you start seeing Christmas commercials and store decorations as early as October. Which brings me to...

(9) CHRISTMAS SHOPPERS (EARLY-BIRDS)

The only thing worse than the moron who waits until December 24 to do all his or her Christmas shopping is the smug bitch who has all her shopping done by July. That's not misogynist: It's always women who shop this far in advance. (Name three guys who have their shopping done before December.) Now, so as not to irk those (women) who conscientiously buy their Christmas gifts a little at a time during the year: I am speaking here of the ones who can't resist telling you, "Oh, I got all my shopping done before July." In other words: It's fine by me if they do it; I just don't want to hear it. Because it makes me want to divide such people into 17 asymmetrical pieces. So for those people, some advice: If the topic comes up ... lie. Claim that you're even farther behind on your shopping than the rest of us. That's the best gift you can give your friends.

(10) CHRISTMAS GIFTS

The whole giving-and-getting thing: ick. When you exchange gifts with someone, you feel bad if the gift you gave them is cheaper than the gift they gave you; you also feel bad if it's the reverse. "Wow, a DVD player! Uh ... thanks ... I got you a bag of chips." You calculate just how much to spend on each person, which means you're basically putting a price on your love. How much is Mom worth? $150? $200? How about your cousin? One great reason to stay away from romance is the agonizing over what to get your boy/girlfriend that first Christmas. And what to get his/her parents, siblings, etc....And of course he/she (usually she) will say, "You don't have to get me anything. Just as long as we can spend Christmas together." This, let me tell you, is horseshit.


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