Ba Ha Humbug

Greetings, faithful readers! It’s the Christmas season again, the most exciting, frustrating, merry and dysfunctional time of year. It’s a time for joy and fighting strangers over parking spots and this year’s hottest toys. People become weird, overdriven versions of themselves, and we can’t get through it unless we’re able to make fun of it all, and of ourselves.

The season’s festivities are always entertaining, watching families try like hell to keep it together and mask their dysfunction, much like what goes on with the Griswolds in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the greatest Christmas movie of all time, hands down). I think back to Christmases past, where a yearly gathering on the eve found friends of the family bringing several pounds of pistachios in strange and different containers each time. To this day, my mom still makes my brothers and I march upstairs for cookies and milk while she sets up the old-school VHS camcorder to film us discovering the spoils and tearing the room apart. Memories of my Aunt Jeanie (may she rest in peace) sending gifts from sunny Florida each year still bring a smile to my face. She must have single-handedly kept The Sharper Image in business (funnily enough, they’re now out of business), always sending quirky gadgets, like mysterious gravity devices, money trapped in a plastic marble maze, robots that sumo wrestled and robots that vacuumed the floor.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve wanted for less each Christmas, my wish lists growing shorter and less expensive. However, I retain my abject inability to complete Christmas shopping in any sort of timely manner, and my terrible wrapping skills. My love for the holiday has not lessened though. I still adore the lights, the food, the music. Ah, the music. Even though everyone and their mother (and possibly even my neighbor’s dog) has covered the song “Last Christmas”, and though there may not be a worse idea for a song than an Italian Christmas donkey (that’s right, Dominic), Christmas music still puts a smile on my face. Each year, my obsession with U2’s version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” grows more intense. Clocking in at only 2 minutes and 21 seconds, the song is maddeningly short. The irony here is that this song is one of the few instances where I can stand to deal with Bono for more than a few seconds at a time, and it should be for you too. A guilty pleasure of mine lies in Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and I love the explicit version of the more-or-less defunct Texan pop-punk band Fenix*TX’s “Feliz Navidad”. In the latter tune, the lead singer wishes “a fucking yeast infection” (something I’ve never heard wished upon anyone, for any reason) upon his ex-girlfriend for dumping him at Christmas time.

As I wrap this blog up, I contemplate the real tree/fake tree debate, and long to drive around aimlessly and look at decorated houses. What I would love to do now is put on my Santa hat, relax with a quart of egg nog and watch Clark Griswold inadvertently terrorize his snooty neighbors again and again. Alas, I have no egg nog. Oh, well. Merry Christmas!