Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Twelve Abominations of Christmas.

Have you purchased your partridge in a pear tree, yet? No? Well good luck, because between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you'll be lucky to find a crow in a cedar shrub.

The Twelve Days of Christmas is the ultimate holiday shopping song, full of gratuitous spending, overconsumption, and joyous gluttony. It's an apt representation of the Christmas season, a time when we come together to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus and logs of Hickory Farms summer sausage large enough to beat a horse to death with.

In deviant fashion, I have compiled the following list, a mini retrospective of my own Twelve Abominations of Christmas. To be honest, I had a hard time stopping at twelve- the holidays really are a time of excess everything. Including snark.

Lara's The Twelve Abominations of Christmas

1. Tinsel.
What is it with holidays and obnoxious, messy, shredded crap? Tinsel is exactly like Easter grass, only metallic. It comes in packs of about 500,000 strands for a buck, and if you get one single, solitary piece wrapped in the brush of your vacuum cleaner, you can expect to invest half of the burgeoning new year trying to wrastle it out. No one has ever used tinsel effectively except Merv Griffin and he is dead. We should have buried tinsel with him.

2. Blinking icicle lights.
Driving home last week, I was stuck at an intersection directly opposite a house covered in a net of blinking icicle lights. I came about five seconds from having a seizure. I couldn't entirely look away, because I had to watch the traffic, but when I eventually turned my vehicle onto the road, I was extremely disoriented and totally could have run over a pedestrian. Every day thousands of people are confused by icicle lights, resulting in deadly car accidents that kill, foremost, young, attractive white women. That is a completely unfounded speculation, or as Fox News would call it "a fact".

3. Gift wrap.
There is nothing more maddening than attempting to swathe gifts of manifold size and shape in paper that inevitably rips or is too small for the object you just measured it to fit around. I don't know who invented this means of disguising items, but this year I am going with the towel-and-hot glue gift wrapping method, and I suggest you do as well.

4. Similarly, tape and scissors.
Another fascinating and enraging aspect of the gift wrapping process involves the fact that even if you have six pairs of scissors and a dozen rolls of tape arranged in a wide, circular perimeter around you, when you need to cut a piece of paper, or tape a querulously- folded edge, you will be utterly unable to locate either tool. It's part of the magic of X-Mas that the rules of science and physics bend at will to inconvenience you.

5. Giant Santa hats on phallic-looking trees.

This is a new one for me, but I was downright disturbed one day to drive past a yard with a tall, narrow arbor vitae tree topped by a long Santa hat that resembled a giant, festive condom. I'm not certain what the message is supposed to be with that, but it was disorienting in a different way than the icicle lights.

6. Carolers. You don't want the Jehovah's Witnesses at your house pushing a religious agenda, so what's so great about a bunch of Christmas carolers doing it? Because they're singing? Don't be easily fooled, fool! Put that wassail bowl away.

7. Mall Santas.
Not only do you have to wonder about their professional motivations, they're probably giant jolly bowls of H1N1. If you want to spend your holidays downing Tamiflu instead of eggnog, go for it. But don't say you weren't warned.

8. Christmas trees.
You can't win no matter what route you go with the traditional Christmas or Solstice tree. Plastic trees are tacky, probably don't biodegrade in a landfill, and
may require dusting. Real trees smell awesome and look cool, but pose the likelihood that at some point you and each member of your family will experience pine needle foot impalement. This will almost inevitably happen while you're trying to get everyone to sit-still-for-one-God-damn-second-and-smile for the family holiday card picture.

9. Window cling decorations.
Kids love them. They don't stick, they curl up, and they obstruct the view from your window, rendering you unable to determine if you need to dodge your crazy, perennially shirtless neighbor when you go out the door. Some people abuse them to the extent that they appear to be using them in lieu of curtains. That's even worse than Blues Clues bed sheets.

10. Old Men get more Old Spice.
Because there is nothing else the grandkids can think of to buy ol' gramps, and he's been a fan since long before his olfactories started to fail. It's the end of the year. He HAS to be running out, for how much he bathes in every day. Kids, for the love of baby Jesus, just draw grandpa some pictures this year and spare the general public another 12 months of old man smell.

11. Drunk uncles.
Everyone has one, and you know you're going to see him at Christmas. He could be intoxicated any of the other 364 days of the year, but he has to choose this one to get utterly bombed. Remove any mistletoe that's hanging at the family Christmas venue; it's a family Christmas, after all, but drunk uncle will forget what that implies.

12. The whole "virgin birth" scenario.
I'm surprised, frankly, that this excuse isn't used more often among teenage mothers. It worked once, to profound effect. Additionally, I don't see what the big deal is regarding the whole "born in a manger" situation. I had a baby at St. Cloud "hospital" and I seriously doubt a manger could have been worse. They tried to feed me hospital cauliflower that was so mushy you could practically spread it with a knife.