Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Merry Bitchmas

I have a bone to pick. (What the hell does that mean? How do you pick a bone? Why is bone picking a euphemism for complaining? It sounds incredibly gruesome, as if it has to do with picking clean the bones of a corpse. Which I also intend to do today, but later. For now, I just have a complaint I want to share with you.)

It's about Christmas. Actually, I have a list of complaints. I've tried writing them all out in list form and sending them to Santa, but the asshole never responded. So I'll post them here for you, not because I think you can do anything about them, but because there's no real joy in being grouchy unless you can infect others with your misery.

1) Why am I being tortured for a month and a half with the worst music ever created? Everywhere I go the same 15 bad songs are playing over and over, til not even the voices in my head can drown them out. I'm humming them under my breath while I wash dishes, to my unspeakable horror. They're more catchy and insipid and torturously omnipresent than Madonna songs were in the 80s. And it's not the subject matter of the songs (Christmas and Santa, etc.) that grates on me, it's the bad music itself. Somehow in every other aspect of the music industry, making a meaningful song with a good beat is the focus. (Not that they always succeed, but at least that's the goal). Yet when it comes to Christmas music, you can put out any piece of half-baked crap you want, and if has the word snowman or Christmas or sleigh in it, people will add it to the cartoonish loop of bad music that we're forced to listen to exclusively this time of year.

2) Why can't I go to the mall for the entire month of December? Every store in town is bulging with angry, frantic people and their crying children, and they've all gotten together at some point and made a pact to drive no faster than a turtle with Muscular Dystrophy can crawl. No checkout line in town has fewer than12 irate, eye-rolling, toe-tapping people in it, and every cashier is sullen and bitter. I know better than to wait til the last minute to do my Christmas shopping; I'm usually done well before Thanksgiving. But if December rolls around and I decide I need a new pair of jeans or a spice rack for my kitchen, the world suddenly conspires to prevent me from buying those or any other items. Oh sure, I could go out there and do battle with the mall traffic and the disgruntled customer service agents and the hateful shoppers, but someone's going to get hurt. And don't underestimate me. I'm small, but I'm scrappy.

3) Why do I have to send a card to everyone I've ever met? I understand why I'm expected to send them to relatives in Canada that I never see, but why do I have to send one to my friend who lives 10 miles down the road from me? Here's how most Christmas cards are conceived: You buy a box of 50 or 75 or however many identical cards, and you send that same card to everyone on your list. Very impersonal. Worse, you don't even include a handwritten message tailored to the individual recipient, just your name scrawled at the bottom. When the stack of cards with the signatures is ready to be stuffed into the envelopes, it's totally arbitrary which addressed envelope gets which card, because the cards are identical, inside and out; totally impersonal. If you've enclosed a picture of your kid, that's a different story; everyone likes getting pictures. But why must I send an impersonal card with my illegible signature to my neighbors who live down the block? The only time it's worthwhile to get a card in the mail with nothing but a signature inside is when that card is coming from an incredibly famous celebrity whose signature is worth big bucks. Even better if the celebrity manages to die in the few days before the U.S. mail delivers the card to you--but that's a long shot. Don't even dare to hope for that.

(That said, do not take me off your Christmas card list. There's nothing sadder than a mantle in late December that's completely devoid of Christmas cards except for the one from your insurance agent. As an adult, we get few opportunities to look really popular, and an empty mantle in December smacks of extreme unpopularity. If necessary, I can forge your signatures on cards I buy myself, and put those on display to fake popularity, but do you really want to reduce me to that?)

4) Why does a holiday for which everyone is expected to travel have to occur in the dead of winter? Who wants to pack up the family and travel across the state or country in December? I spend the entire winter season thinking up excuses not to leave my home. Now I have to bundle up and leave my nice, warm house to take a trip across the state? Can't we all make a pact to use the Easter holiday for cross-country family bonding from now on, and just sit at home with our immediate families at Christmas?

5) Why do I have to engage in a whole decorating project just for this one holiday?

I have to redecorate my whole house? I have to hang wreaths, put up cutesy little knicknack snowmen, big gold bows, garish silver garlands, fake greenery, hideous red tablecloths and sappy welcome mats? I have to use Christmas plates? Christmas napkins? Everything in my lovely, tasteful home has to suddenly turn red and green, the two worst-matched colors on earth?

I'm expected to climb up on my goddamn roof and risk life and limb to put some lights up there that are only going to cause a fire hazard and potentially burn my home to the ground with my family inside?

I have to chop down a live tree and drag it INTO my house? A beautiful tree that was formerly growing just fine outside, where God put it? Now I'm going to kill it and schlep it into my freaking living room? Then cover it in trinkets and more fire-hazardous lights? Am I really going to celebrate Jesus's birthday by killing one of his trees?

6) Why do I have to feel guilty about writing the word Xmas instead of Christmas? It's just faster and easier, which accommodates my incredible laziness. Anyone prone to indignantly shouting, "You're trying to take Christ out of Christmas!" is overestimating me. That would indicate that I'm ambitious or dedicated to a cause of some kind, when the plain fact is I'm just trying to shave off a couple of letters so I can finish writing whatever it is I'm writing and go take a nap.

Now that I've gotten my list of grievances of my chest, I will say that I love one thing about Christmas--the gift buying. I really do love buying things for people, and I put a lot of thought into what I get each person. Oh wait, I love another thing: The booze. Well, okay, and the food. And the family. In that order. Wait, no--put booze at the top of the list. Really, the booze is the only thing that keeps me from losing it when I hear "Jingle Bells" for the 2,679th time, and stabbing the nearest 5 random people in the eye with a photo Christmas tree ornament.

40 comments:

AnonymousCoworker said...

Try working at a record store during Christmas. There are only about 100 Chritsmas CDs out there, and they're all so short that you hear them 3 or 4 times a week. By December 24th you're only one verse of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" away from breaking a CD in half and stabbing someone in the neck with it.

Bunnzy said...

i havent started my chirstmas shopping yet - i'm busy planning a wedding!!!

But its ok, because here in Australia it is the middle of the summer where the average temperature is 35 celsius (not farenheit) on Christmas day and we all have prawns, and a barbeque and go to the beach.

Plus we have fake trees and dont go as over board to decorate our whole house, inside and out.

So na-na na-na-na-na!

miss kendra said...

i used to work in a restaurant with sattelite fed radio.

same songs over and over because the customers aren't ever there more than an hour or so.

ARGH!

(ps- email me you address so i can include you in the holiday goodness campaign! i promise i won't stalk you or sell it on ebay.)

undercover celebrity said...

I like to think of Christmas cards as a post-high school popularity contest. You go into someone's house during the holidays and if they have a lot of Christmas cards up, they are social royalty.

I think this year I'll make a bunch of cards and put them all over the house -- artifically inflate my status.

Christi said...

I am living proof that you don't "have" to do any of that stuff. When I do get cards, I lose them before they could even imagine being seen! I don't decorate, although I guess we'll put up a tree and a couple of lights for TJ's sake (what sucks is that we're moving the 17th of Dec.--who wants to decorate for a week!). I'm too poor to shop, so everyone gets homemade stuff or nothing, oh yeah! And, if you don't like writing out the whole word, just don't write it at all...I sure don't!

Carie said...

lol I used to love christmas...but people just get mean now lol...and we do the whole big yard decoration, but we live in a bad neighborhood so at 11 we go out and bring it all in just to do it again tomorrow...and I don't do christmas cards lol I used to but then my cat just saw them as a way to annoy me by knocking them down when I pick them up.

jules said...

My kids are all gone this year. I'm saying "screw it" to putting up a tree, buying gifts, etc. And only special friends are getting a card.

jon deal said...

My insurance agent doesn't even send us a card.

Now I'm all sad inside.

Bev - Living In Hormoney said...

LMAO... I love it!!!

Neil said...

Ha ha I'm Jewish! Suckers!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

For such a young person, you're extremely bitter. And extremely smart to be so. Screw all that nonsense. Bah humbug. Booze rules.

Amy said...

this post was kinda great, Karla. Well Sed. And I think booze should always be at the top of any list.

tmz_99 said...

Listening to your mp3 player can drown out the music as well as provide you with a good reason not to talk to pushy sales people, simply point to your earphones and walk on...

The whole xmas is cold thing only applies to the norther hemisphere, fuck tradition and fly the whole family to fiji this xmas.. (or next xmas as some amount of forward planning would be benificial.)

Nicole said...

I'm something of a minimalist when it comes to Christmas decorations. I believe a tree in my living room and stockings on my mantel are enough to show my holiday spirit. One wreath on the front door is acceptable. I am anti-lights on the house, anti-knick-knacks at any time of year, and I refuse to change the color scheme all throughout my house to accomodate the holidays. I won't keep poinsettias on accounta they are poisonous to the puppy. And I don't need mistletoe to be kissed.

And like you, I hate generic, impersonal cards with no photo and nothing inside but an illegible signature. But that could be because of the hours and hours I spend not only writing personalized messages, but also making every card. By hand. From scratch.

It's become something of a sickness, really. Last year, I had seven completely different designs for the 35 cards I would send out. So far this year, I have 14 entirely new designs for the 50 cards I will send out. I fear next year, I will become even more seriously addicted. What's worse, I spend more on these homemade cards than if I had just bought a pack of 50.

I think the only cure for my card-making obsession may be my eventual children -- I don't see how I'll have the time or energy (or creativity, for that matter) to do such a project after I've been running around after one or more toddlers all day.

But I do love the gift-giving (and getting, of course!) and the delicious food and the massive quantities of alcohol. So Merry Christmas, everyone!

CommonWombat said...

Okay, get ready to add this to your "reasons I hate Wombat" list: I LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC.

Not ALL of it. There's a metric ton of crap holiday music. Hey Urban Outfitters, if Avril's singing it, it ain't a christmas carol! However, that being said, some of the "classic" christmas songs are AWESOME. They are versitile, they are beautiful, and they are FUN TO SING.

At the risk of causing bile to come rocketing up your throat, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that "The Christmas Song" (have yourself a merry little christmas...) is one of my favorite songs EVER. Not favorite "holiday" songs, FAVORITE. SONGS. EVER. I prefer it a little jazzy (my favorite version is Lena Horne's) but I'll take it any way they can record it. I actually look forward to Christmas time just so I can start singing it in the car. In fact, I've been known to sing it in August.

And before you all start grinching out on me, I have more cause to hate Christmas than any of you. My JOB is Christmas. I do christmas 10 months out of the year. If I can find it within me to love the holidays than so can you.

-sigh!-

Okay, I'm with you on the cards though. That shit is just a conspiracy to line the pockets of the paper companies. I call bullshit.

Also, in the bit about decorating your house, I read "decorative mats" as "decorative meats." For a second there, the casa de Karla got a LOT more interesting...

Pirate said...

I have alwas wondered ht you would hear if you played Andy Williams version of "Silent Night" backwards. I think that most of the Christmas music is aproduct of corporate America to hypnotize us ino dragging out the plastic (not latex) plastic, charge cards.

As for the pissant attitudes at the mall. Why do you think people are trying to rename Xmas to Holiday season?

Don't travel. Let the old drunk fst bastard bring me gifts.

As for the gift exchange I'm all for it when my name is on the tag.

Masked Mom said...

I used to be a very gung-ho Xmas freak, but nothing will cure you of that like a decade or so of working retail at the holidays. I've actually seen a middle-aged woman jumping up and down, red-faced, fists clenched because a book she wanted wasn't available in hardcover--it was only in quality paperback (which, clearly, is not an appropriate gift on her lonely little planet).

I think Scrooge was really on to something.

H0kie Erin said...

Oh I hate going to the mall during this time of year! If the crabby people in the store aren't bad enough, the people driving are insane. Noooo thanks. I'll just do my shopping online, thank you very much. Then I can tap my toe at the mail man.

I also agree with the redecorating of your house. Of course, I think I have gotten bitter since I have a mother in law that decorates for EVERY season/holiday (I kid you not). She has three huge rubbermaid tubs for Thanksgiving alone. No one but The Hubby and I see the decorations (except for one day) and we don't care. Insanity!

wordgirl said...

Just stick to the stuff you want to do and forget the rest. Everyone else will be so wrapped up in their own insanity that they won't even notice.
Except the Christmas cards...people seem to get pretty bent out of shape about not getting one of those.

the Caitlinator said...

For a moment at the end of your post, you reminded me of Steve Martin and his five wishes for Christmas, only yours may have actually been mildly funnier. Rock on.

Margo of Mystery and Mayhem said...

A couple of years ago, I went all out for Christmas with the colored lights around the roof, every bush or tree in my tiny yard haphardly strung, every plastic creature available at a yard sale or thrift store under $5 displayed prominently, cards taped to the windows, tree spray painted red on the front porch, family, friends, and neighbors now encourage me not to decorate.

Heather B. said...

Watch Jake turn into a christmas loving little boy, including shrieks of "Santa, Santa" everytime you come within 50 feet of a man with a white beard.

Just Some Gal said...

Ugh, I still haven't did my cards yet. First time in 4 years I've not sent them out early enough to not feel obligated...haha

The music...ah, I'm not a big fan of it all. blech. My first job was at Foley's and my manager in charge of the christmas stuff...ugh I figured out how much I hated manneheim steamroller that year. Ultimate elevator music. haha

Bah, Humbug.

;-) I can't wait to see whatever torturous outfit Jake gets this year...haha I swore I wouldn't...but I did cave and I loved it.

Anonymous City Girl said...

I have to redecorate my whole house? I have to hang wreaths, put up cutesy little knicknack snowmen, big gold bows, garish silver garlands, fake greenery, hideous red tablecloths and sappy welcome mats? I have to use Christmas plates? Christmas napkins? Everything in my lovely, tasteful home has to suddenly turn red and green, the two worst-matched colors on earth?

Yeah, I don't get you goyum.

And I say stay out of the malls no matter the time of year.

a fish on a bycicle said...

buy me some gift booze...and make yourself happy?

gina said...

hahaha you said schlep!! an everyday word in our house.

TSB said...

I linked back to you the other day, you gave me a great idea, and I hope you didn't mind me stealing/altering it. I linked back to you in the post.

I keep going back to the service dept and changing the music back to regular stuff and someone else keeps changing it back to Xmas music. aughhhhh. I'm there 14 hours a day, that stuff will drive you crazy.

j.dunaway said...

So it sounds like all you need to do is take the month of December off of work, stay intoxicated, and live at the mall.

Gerbera Daisy said...

AMAN Sister!!! You said it all!!! I won't even listen to the radio station I normally listen to the other 10 months of the year because they start playing that damned Christmas music non-stop, 24 hours a day before Thanksgiving!!

Did it ever occur to you the reason why cashiers are "sullen and bitter" and customer service agents are "disgruntled"??????????? Could it possibly be the customorons are hateful and nasty???????? HHHHMMMMM I work in a Big Bookstore and I see bad behaviour and hear hateful, nasty and down right rude comments all the time, but there is no better time than Christmas for the nasties. But the booze at the end of my shift makes it ALL better!!! Actually booze takes the edge off and makes everything a bit more bearable.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

mergrl said...

OMG you are hysterical, well you know how I feel about Christmas so I will just run away before you stab me in the eye with an ornament ROFL

*singing under breath* Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells :0D

Kiki said...

OMG Karla...I think I love you. You crack me up!! I have to agree with your list on all counts.

john boy said...

Here is some info to give the next fundie that freaks out about your use of the "X". Idiots... :P

Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of , “Christ.” In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, “Christian.” But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening pronounced (ksms). Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas.


Oh yeah, and the snow thing. Move. No snow on the palm trees here in southern California. Then there is the entire southern hemisphere of the planet that is enjoying summer in December.

Damn, you bring the bitchiness out of me. Ha!

Jessica said...

Karla, I feel like you should run for President. I mean, at least your priorities are straight!

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Dorothy said...

We recently installed a TV/DVD where I work, so I bring in movies to watch instead of listening to those Christmas songs they've got piped in. I turn their music down and my movie up. Oh, I so agreed with you on every point!

Leesa said...

Great post! Booze definitely top of list :)

Ariel1980 said...

Imagine it for me! All this festivness, and I get a dreidle.

tigger said...

OK, lie down on my couch. First of all, go buy yourself a CD of "A Chrlie Brown Christmas." Unless you are indeed THE Grinch in a Karla costume, listening to these songs will make you smile - and there's no "Santa" or "Sleigh" or "Jingle" to be heard.

Lastly, you don't HAVE to do any of that crap. Make your own rules! Turn your back to THE MAN. Where is it written that you will be turned into a headless monkey if you don't send out cards, put up lights and wreaths, and travel? Try it! If you DO turn into a headless monkey, can I have your car?

Lee said...

While I agree in large part about the music (though wombat's favourite is also one of my own favourite songs), and while I agree about the Christmas cards (as an adult, it is hard to declare popularity subtly to your friends and neighbours) I do enjoy the decorating. I enjoy sitting in the living room with the lights off and the Christmas tree lights on and the faint hum of the motorized elf hammering a shoe or whatever new trinket is on the tree... I enjoy those quiet moments, cuddling up with a cup of soup and the one you love and just being there, enjoying the moment while it snows outside.

That is Christmas for me.

And damn girl... you got hit by the xmas spammer? And I hear he checked his list thrice this year! I guess that's what you get for dissing Christmas in such a blatant (albeit humourous) way...

Anonymous City Girl said...

#78 gave me heartburn just reading it. :-)