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Friday, December 21, 2007

Various Humbuggery

It's that time of year, and everyone is all a-twitter over the Christmas season (that started on November 1st). While I'm totally Jewish, I can still accept Christmas for what it is (or what it should be) and I can't avoid being dragged into it - since it's not like any of my friends are Jewish.

So as the season once again has pressed on and is drawing to a close, here are a few random thoughts I've been having. Perhaps you Christians out there can help me figure out some of these Christmas Conundrums or add to my humbuggery.

Conundrum #1: Christmas Shopping

I've discovered that the REAL humbug of doing your Christmas shopping is NOT the stores themselves! I keep hearing people yammer about how crowded every store is and everything's gone from the shelves and everything's so expensive and it takes forever - but I didn't run into that. I did almost all of my Christmas shopping in one night, no car, in moderately popular stores. I mean I was in Best Buy, for cryin' out loud! While there were certainly PEOPLE about, I still managed to not only chat with two different employees about items but spend only 30 seconds in line with my purchases before checking out at a cashier.

The REAL humbug is the mystery of who to buy presents for. Some would argue that it's more a problem of WHAT to buy for people, with the whole "thought that counts" argument and whatnot - I would have to disagree. Knowing who to buy for is the hard part - once you've got THAT list down, a series of gift card purchases at the very least will take care of that (the thought is in figuring out where to get the gift card). Some people will easily make your list: family, close relatives (if they will be attending some large function), closest friends. Once you get past that level and into the sublevels of interhuman connections, it all becomes muddled. You start having to base holiday purchases on the probability that that person used a similar probability and is buying something for you.

You know what we need? A website. Perhaps one already exists, but I'd like a website where you can tag people to let them know you're getting them a gift. Then they would know and could tag you back that you will be getting a gift. You could even have a wish list page to help people decide what to get for you. I bet that if you made it a sign-up site, you could work the HTML to display all items on the receiver's page if you're the receiver, and givers could tag items so they wouldn't display for anyone else. That avoids double-gifts, and the registry logging-in necessity makes it so that receivers can't see what's been blacked out on their own wish list (and certainly not by whom). The problem would be getting everyone you know to sign up for it - because without that, it's still useless. Probably best to make it an add-on for Facebook or something so your lazy friends and family don't have to sign up for anything extra.

Conundrum #2: Christmas Movies

Sure, you can lay claim that Christmas movies teach about faith and family and togetherness and the spirit of giving and all that jazz. Bells ring and angels get wings because it's a wonderful life and God bless us, every one. I'm talking about the lesser movies out there. The ones that make you really shudder during the holiday season.

Things I've learned from annoying Christmas movies:

- You will always get the present you want if you mention it enough times, despite its unavailability or expense or subjective nature or even the fact that you'll shoot your eye out.

- There will always be arguments between family members, but everything gets worked out in under two hours, give or take.

- The only reason caroling exists today is theft. Odds are that if carolers are at your door, someone is in your house taking your shit.

- Christmas decorations are never a celebration of Christmas spirit. They are a means of competition with neighbors. Overelaborate displays are only beat by more overelaborate displays or a Hatfield-McCoy prank-filled rivalry - never with a noise violation or other form of citation.

- Any string of Christmas lights can support an adult male's weight. This can either save his life from falling, or allow him to perform awesome swinging stunts - probably after they've saved his life.

- Santa always has more trouble with random problems than with visiting every child on the planet in one night. Seriously, it's either a marital dispute or something going wrong with the elves or the reindeer or not enough people believing in him or he's kidnapped or rendered unconscious or something. Never about the whole stress of his job description - always the little things that get him into hot water.

Christmas Conundrum #3: Christmas Music

I want to shoot every executive at every radio station involved in the "let's be the first to switch to all-Christmas-music this season" idiocy. It's one thing to play a few Christmas songs once the commercial season starts up - maybe play an hour's worth once or twice a day. Devote maybe the entire 24-48 hours before Christmas to the all-Christmas-music notion. But seriously - there's just not enough Christmas songs to make this a feasible plan. And for fuck's sake - these are PLACES OF BUSINESS having this tripe pumped in.

It's bad enough that I go to have lunch somewhere and realize that my lunch hour for two months is going to be in the presence of 24-hour Christmas. Then I have to feel eighty times more sorry for the poor employees who work there and listen to it for their entire shift, day in and day out.

I honestly can't believe there aren't more Christmas-music-related shootings come Thanksgiving time, let alone around the 20th of December.

"I swear ta God, Mabel, I hear 'bout mommy kissin' freakin' Santa Claus one more goddamn time, I'm puttin' a bullet in mah head and y'all can finally let me be at peace!"

Also, I'm sorry, but I can't stand Barbra Streisand singing Christmas carols. I love Barbra as much as any heterosexual male can, and I know she's got an awesome singing voice, but you can't hear a single one of those songs without thinking, "This voice is Barbra Streisand, and these are Christmas carols, and my mind wants to evacuate my head out any possible orifice so it can stop having to make this mental connection." At least I can't.

Any shopping anecdotes or commiseration over gift-giving?
Any movie lessons you'd like to add to my list?
Your favorite and least-favorite-mind-numbing Christmas songs?

I'm all ears. After all, 'tis the season!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further innovates, the possibility of downloading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I dream about all the time.

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