'Tis the season to be happy, be kind to your fellow man, and appreciate your friends, family and the life you live each and every day.
The stock-in-trade Christmas Season, as Hallmark would have you believe, is that from Black Friday to January 2nd, each and every day is an opportunity to smile and be merry. Unfortunately, that isn't quite the reality -- it would be nice, of course, but it rarely fleshes out to be 45 days of sheer joy.
Part of the reason why that sense of sheer joy is a complete fabrication is somewhat akin to why people hate voting and elections; it's not the actual day, nor is it the actual act of voting (or spending time with one's family). It's all the crap surrounding the actual event. To wit, each time an election is on the horizon, all you see on local television channels during the two weeks preceding the election are pre-recorded phone messages and TV ads denigrating the sponsor's opponent, so much so that once the thirty-second ad is complete, you not only wonder how the sponsor's opponent is running, you wonder why he hasn't been imprisoned or brought before a firing squad.
With respect to the impending Christmas holiday, everywhere you look, listen or read, there are holiday ads aplenty. There are mass-marketing appeals for you to save your money by spending it all on all kinds of useless, meaningless, pointless chazerai: bedding, lighting, furniture, clothing, electronics, personal entertainment products, hair-care products, footwear, lingerie, jewelry, housewares, books, music, cars, dvd's and the ever-popular gift certificates if none of the above blows your skirt up. In short, there is an infinite list of items by which you need to get out of your bed and your abode by 5AM so you can beat all the other imbeciles into JC Penney to get a free tissue-box holder for the first 100 stampeding consumers. If it was funny, it'd be a joke; but they actually manage to line people up outside every store from here to the Mason-Dixon Line; you know when Boston Market is selling gift certificates for free mashed potatoes and chicken pot pies, something's amiss.
And yet, what's even more disturbing is that the alcohol industry, which shutters its advertising department almost entirely through the year, suddenly wakes up, blasts its wares everywhere, and from Thanksgiving to January 2nd, suddenly you need to go buy cases of champagne, gin, vodka and beer -- that is, if you're actually going to properly celebrate the holiday.
Traditionally, I've heard over the past 20 or so years how difficult many people find the holidays; people who are far from their families and/or alone over the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's are more likely to commit suicide than any other time during the year. Why is that? Probably because anyone that despondent would have access to lots of suicidal thoughts, plenty of instruments by which to enact these thoughts, and no Aunt Mildred force-feeding you Christmas fruitcake to prevent you from doing a swan-dive in front of a minivan filled with midget cross-dressers recently escaped from Rahway State Penitentiary. Put another way, with credit to George Carlin, the reason why you don't get laid much on Thanksgiving is because all the coats are on the bed.
This year, it's likely I'll be all over the place for the holidays; regarding Chanukkah, which I usually celebrate with my family, I'll likely be spending somewhere at a friend's party in New Jersey or Connecticut -- someone will eventually let me know where it will be -- at some point this weekend. It's looking more and more likely I'll be spending Christmas, and the day after, my father's birthday, somewhere in Cali; and then New Year's in San Fran. Everything is up in the air, of course; but somehow, some way, I'll happily survive the holidays, even if it means watching Bad Santa on DVD and making sure South Park's own "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" is in constant rotation on my Video iPod.
One thing I am hoping for this holiday season is to find a group of carollers who know the words to (Warning: Adult Content) "The Most Offensive Christmas Song Ever" (honorable mention goes to "The Lonely Jew On Christmas"). Anyone who is willing to hold a candle while shivering through the lyrics to either of the above tunes are welcome on my stoop; any Jehovah's Witnesses come by and I'll wish them a happy holiday with my 12-gauge Remington.
Merry New Year! Care for some beef jerky?