By Jeff Girod
Happy Holidays! Yes, ’tis the season when everybody treks into the dark recesses of their garage, untangles dusty holiday crap, tacks it up around their houses and on their roofs, then waits until almost Martin Luther King Jr. Day to take the whole mess down. It’s what Baby Jesus wanted.
Everyone feels the pressure to get a Christmas tree. And if you celebrate Christmas you really should, if for no other reason than that’s one more tree that gets cut down in the prime of life. (Don’t kid yourself. If the situation were reversed, that pine tree would cut you down and everyone you love.)
And if there’s one thing we want to teach our kids about nature, it’s that living things should be sawed off at the legs, brought into the house, tackily decorated with SpongeBob and Batman ornaments, then discarded on the curb three weeks later like an old French whore.
I’m also a big fan of manger scenes, which if you’re not familiar with your New Testament scripture, illustrates the immaculate birth of Christ in a hay barn surrounded by fair-skinned parents and three blond wise men somewhere in Norway. Even the farm animals are blue-eyed! The only thing that could appear more Caucasian would be a Mitt Romney family reunion.
But by far, my favorite part of the holiday season is Christmas lights. Me? I don’t have Christmas lights. You’re lucky if I turn on the porch light for the Domino’s pizza guy. But everyone else in my neighborhood takes the month of December as a personal cry for attention.
Hey, I can appreciate that Home Depot is having a sale on glowing gnomes. But have some respect for narrative and production value. On any given lawn you’ve got nutcrackers sharing crabgrass with drummer boys and penguins.
Are you telling the Christmas story via searchlights and colored plywood? Or are you forcing me to relive my most frightening psychotic hallucination—the one where Christmas carols come to life and I’m forced to play freeze tag with Rudolph and Christmas Shrek in an igloo?
And what part of that thing hanging off your rain gutters is supposed to look like an icicle? It looks like Santa hocked a loogie. And that inflatable in your front yard? It’s great when it’s lit and full of air, but during the day I have to explain to my kid why the neighbors shot and killed Frosty the Snowman.
The average December temperature here is 60 degrees. I’ve lived in Southern California for almost four decades. Forget snow, when somebody says “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” I imagine relatives in jean shorts fighting over candied yams, long lines at BevMo and strangers flipping me off for a parking space at Sears.
Your best bet during the holidays? Make believe it’s some kind of anthrax attack and hide inside your homes. Avoid strangers. Eat lots of canned meats. Roll up moist towels and shove them under your doors. Shove them under other people’s doors. Instead of watching Claymation Christmas specials, relive the magic and splendor of Seasons 3 to 5 of Magnum P.I. (After enough eggnog, Rick and TC look Claymated.)
The holidays are stressful enough trying to remember who’s whose secret Santa or not making jokes about the fat kid’s reindeer sweater. Relax. Take a load off. While your neighbors risk permanent paralysis hanging wreaths the diameter of truck tires, you’ll be safely tucked indoors eating gingerbread cookies from whoever’s aunt or cousin.
And if you ever feel a pang of guilt to “give back,” goodwill toward man and all that, just remember: Amazon.com ships and gift wraps just about anything and Vons has a surprisingly diverse selection of gift cards. Or just pull an old can of soup out of your cupboard and draw antlers on it.
And come Dec. 26, when everyone else still has Christmas junk littering their front yards, won’t you look like the eager young go-getter and the first house on the block to take your decorative lights down.
Looks like someone’s getting a head start on next year’s “nice” list.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.