Sunday, December 14, 2008

Challenging Some of the Conventions of the Holiday Season

Eleven days until Christmas. I'm not a total Grinch, but I don't really get too over-the-top about the Christmas season, either. I love the quiet side of the holiday, and the spiritual aspects: singing carols, candlelight services at church, enjoying the tree and the lights and a nice fire. It's the other stuff that gets to me...constant rushing, pot-luck lunches, family arguments, over-sugared shrieking kids, more family arguments, etc. And there are several other things that, even though they have become irrevocably bound to the Christmas tradition, still bug the heck out of me.

Sexy Mrs. Santa Outfits

You know, this just doesn't make sense to me. I've never pretended to understand men, but I can't even begin to imagine why a guy would want his lady friend to dress up like Santa's wife. For me, these outfits conjure up a couple of possible scenarios, and neither of them is very appetizing. Are we supposed to see Mrs. Claus as a vixen-ish, Desperate Housewives-type, just waiting for Santa to leave town on Christmas eve so that she can hook up with the sleigh repairman? Or should this kind of outfit lead us to believe that Santa and the Mrs. are both swingers, and he just puts on the jolly-old-elf persona for Christmas? Are all the elves traumatized by the things they've seen through the windows on the way to the workshop? Either way: ewwww. I prefer the traditional, matronly Mrs. Claus, with a stout figure, rosy cheeks, long dress, and housecap...and without visible cleavage.

Chestnuts Roasting

Oh, I'm not opposed to the song--it's beautiful. (Particularly the Nat King Cole version.) It's the actual chestnuts roasting that I have a problem with. I have a Turkish co-worker who travels home a couple of times a year. After each trip, she brings big bags of chestnuts in to the office and proceeds to roast them, not on an open fire, but on the stove burners in our breakroom. It stinks. Maybe it's because we're missing the whole open-fire thing, but one bag of chestnuts can funk up the office for days. I'm not one of those people who is super-sensitive to smells, but this odor is strong enough to make me nauseous. I propose that we keep the pretty song, but change that line to evoke an image that's not quite so smelly.

"A Christmas Carol"

I know it's Dickens, it's a classic...I don't care. I don't like it. The first time I read this story, I was probably in third or fourth grade. I was a pretty soft-hearted child, and the pathos of Tiny Tim was nearly too much for me. And then, just as I'm trying to deal with the thought of this poor, cold, lame, hungry kid whose dad has to work for a total jerk, you're gonna throw ghosts into the mix and scare the bejesus out of me, too?!? Thanks a lot, Mr. Dickens. I might be willing to make an exception for the Patrick Stewart version, though, because I love his voice and I think he's kind of hot.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas"

I actually love the poem itself. I get a warm fuzzy every time I hear it. But it brings back bad memories, too. Have you seen the commercial where the little girl is agonizing over trying to learn all the reindeer names for her Christmas pageant? That was me, Christmas 1978, except that my teacher decided I should recite the whole poem. I was a basket case for weeks--I said it in my head, over and over, all the time. I can't remember a single thing about that pageant, other than how hard my knees shook, and how sweaty my palms were. That, and the incredible sense of relief I felt when I finished my recitation. That was a lot of stress for an eight-year-old, and it was just pure luck that I didn't wet my pants from nervousness. If elementary school kids still recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas," teachers may want to consider breaking it up into manageable chunks. It could keep some poor kid from having a breakdown.

These are a few of my least favorite things, as the song (sort of) goes. Feel free to add any of your least favorite Christmas traditions in the comments, if you like. Grinch-itude is always welcome here.


JD at I Do Things said...

First, I think Patrick Stewart is kind of hot, too. He can Scrooge me any time.

My personal Grinch-sim has to do with our family's present exchange routine. I wish we could just get each other one thing--a surprise, a true gift--rather than present each other with lists and then proceed to just buy everything on the list. Instead of, "Here's a heartfelt gift I bought because I put some thought into it and really hoped you'd like it," we have "Here, I bought this so you didn't have to."


JD at I Do Things

absepa said...

JD: I really can't explain the Patrick Stewart thing. Maybe it's his voice.

My family does the list thing, too, and it does take a lot of the fun and spontaneity out of gift-giving. We don't have any kids in the family, so I've tried several times to get everyone to agree to just stop giving gifts altogether, and make a donation to a charity or something. No one will go for it.