Since I have to pretend to be merry and jolly (neither of which are in my natural repertoire) for at least one more year as a family, I figure I can share my grinchines with you and maybe a little coal dust for your stockings!
When I was a kid, the Christmas situation was unpleasant: My dad decided that since there was no date given for Christmas in the Bible, it wasn't meant to be celebrated at all. This led to some problems with my mom, who is Catholic. At first, there was an underlying tension, which in later years turned into full-out warfare. Is it any wonder my favorite Christmas special is Raging Rudolph? It captures the spirit of Christmas as we celebrated it in my childhood, except the special has slightly more blood and significantly less cursing (and what there is comes pre-bleeped.
We were also regaled, year after year, about the pagan origins of so many Christmas traditions that have since been adapted to more Christian symbols. If it wasn't in the Bible, it was probably Satanic,
[Side Note: I remember watching the original broadcast of this song on Saturday Night Live back around the inception of the PMRC. I wonder how it is that someone can can be as miserable a human being as Rob Reiner and still make such great satire as This is Spinal Tap, such an amazing adaptation as Stand By Me, and something so all around wonderful as The Princess Bride. It boggles the mind.]
Anyway, eventually I escaped from home and went to college. Unfortunately, colleges don't typically allow students to stay in the dorms over the holidays, and so I got to spend most of my holidays right back in Happy Land. And being painfully introverted and shy, I didn't even have any real friends who wanted to trade gifts before the break.
I DID spend one year working at McDonald's, where they started playing Christmas music in mid-October, then played the same 45 minute loop over and over and over and over and over until mid-January, which is why, to this day, I can't tolerate any traditional Christmas music to the point that I won't even embed it here because NO!
When I finally escaped by joining the Navy, I spent a Christmas in Boot Camp. I had been in just long enough that my company was allowed to leave base, escorted by families and church groups, to go to homes and gatherings for Christmas dinner. I ended up being bussed to a church where they sat us down and preached to us for about forever, then showed us a video about the evils of heavy metal music, which has been a recurring thing in my life. I sat through the video, counting the albums that were highlighted that were in my personal collection: Quiet Riot. Check. Iron Maiden. Check. Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Twisted Sister. Check, check, check.
After the lecture/sermon and the video, we were given a traditional dinner which was slightly better than the galley food we had back at the training center. And then they took up a collection. So, hooray Christmas.
The following Christmas was one of the best I had ever spent: the Navy sent me to San Diego for Hospital Corps school and I stayed right there afterwards for medical lab school, which was a year long. People kept asking me how I would get along without a White Christmas, and I told them that I would pine for the snow, which I hate, while I was sitting on the beach. That usually shut them up.
Unfortunately, this was also the time I was sinking deep into alcoholism, so I ended up not going to the beach, but sitting in my roach infested apartment getting hammered while watching Star Trek:The Next Generation.
I spent pretty much all of the next ten or so Christmases pretty well wasted.
The next really rotten one I remember was 6 years ago. She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were not speaking, as has been the case off and on through our twenty years, and frankly entirely "on" for the last year and a half. Even though we were fighting, I made sure there were plenty of gifts for the kids and took the kids out to pick out gifts for her and I had something nice from me. She gave me a pamphlet for marriage counseling.
And now we're up to the present, no pun intended, and I have about had enough. the spirit of Christmas always seems to be gimme, gimme, gimme. And buy, buy, buy.
[Heywood really is a national treasure, isn't he?]
And that's why I hate Christmas. And it really won't matter much longer, because everybody knows these are the End Times, and North Korea or Iran is going to nuke us all straight to heck, even before we get to nuke the moon.
And if I haven't ruined your Christmas yet, here's a song that has started making favorite Christmas song lists, lately: Fairytale of New York. [Warning: There's an Irish a-bomb in there and a gay slur.] It's about how dreams go to New York to die.
Oh, and Kirsty MacColl, the woman who sings in the song was apparently an addict who cleaned herself up, found Jesus and then was killed saving her son's life in a boating accident of Cozumel.
And then there are a few that are too rude to actually embed, so I'll just link 'em and let you view at your own risk.
Bob and Tom: I Hate Christmas
Joe Pesci: If it Doesn't Snow for Christmas
Dean and Jerry: Under the Mistletoe
Merry Christmas. Humbug,
You know, just as an aside, last year, I decided to send an old friend that hadn't spoken to me for some time a gift. It was more than I usually spend on a Christmas gift, but I figured, hey, best case scenario, maybe it will thaw the glacial ice that had built up, worst case they spend the next few years thinking about me every time it snows. Well, worst case is what I got, and I was considering doing the same on a smaller scale this year (Rough year financially), and I heard a Voice that told me to take a tag from the Giving Tree at church and use the money for that. "Do something that will glorify My works and not your own," was what I heard.
So I did.
And let me tell you, somewhere out there is a ten-year-old girl who is going to get an awesome Christmas gift, and Jesus Christ is going to get the credit for it.
And I feel really, really good about that.
And this is my gift to you:
P.S. Everything I related in the main essay is actually true, but I ha, over the years come to appreciate the Season, somewhat. I prefer Easter, though, because Spring is my favorite season, and because, as a wise woman once told me, without Easter, there would be no Christmas.
I still can't stand traditional Christmas music, though, and I really hate Irving Berlin for writing White Christmas, which combines two of my least favorite things in the world: Christmas music and snow. Yuck.