by Matthew Chase
So, the end of November is upon us. I just cannot believe it! The Christmas season begins, although to the consumer industry, it began in October… as in October first. Maybe it’s just me, but was anyone else disgusted that Santa started to make appearances on store shelves before the vampire teeth were even in stock? Are there not two major holidays between October first and December 25th? Has anyone seen Thanksgiving??? Oh that’s right; it’s on that corner isle over there amid the candy corn…. To me it gets earlier and earlier in the year that the holiday advertising season kicks off. It wouldn’t surprise me if they began doing year round Christmas promotions, and all of the rednecks with the yard decorations that are up all year long will somehow feel vindicated.
I enjoy the Christmas season, or at least the idea behind it. I mean aside from being a wiccan/pagan type, I do believe that the man “Jesus” walked the earth, and had a lot of revolutionary things to tell us about life, loving, and living. The time of Yule has long been celebrated, and Christmas is yet another festival for the occasion. Sadly it seems more of a commercial holiday lately than ever. It could be that I’m just a grown up and the time of wide eyed wonder is over, and the time of dread and bills is now upon me. Or it could be that I’m right, and the season is loosing its hold on us as a time of warmth and love, instead being a time of buying and obligation. I look forward to seeing friends and family this time of the year, but it truly is daunting to have to spend all the cash annually, just prior to the expensive winter months.
I do put it all into a budget, but you know, I spend a lot of cash regularly at various periods during the year on these same people, what makes Christmas so different than any other day? Shouldn’t we all cozy up as a family and share a nice beverage instead? I mean the spirit of gift giving all aside; I think I would rather spend a fine afternoon having a beer with my brother then have a new pair of sneakers… (Not that I would MIND a new pair of shoes. But I would certainly rather be with my brother.)
It seems to me that every year around this time, instead of feeling all warm and fuzzy, I wind up feeling more pressure, obligation, and depression. I know that there are documented studies that show that this time of year is the most stressful of all. So why do we, as a people bother to continue making it worse in the name of profit? I get disheartened when I see the little stuffed and dancing Santas hit the shelves. It is a sign to me that the year is about to close, and sooner or later some asswipe will be ringing a bell annoyingly at the entrance to every store I go to. Constantly making me feel badly
So I feel more like my money will go more towards paying this badly dressed sap, then actually going to any really worthy cause. I still donate my spare change, but just once per visit. No matter how hard that guy shakes that damn bell. And have you noticed that it isn’t even a cheerful ring anymore? It’s not a jovial wave of the arm. It is a quick, rapid shake of the wrist that creates a siren like tone that tends to grate upon your very loving soul. Then there are the shoppers themselves. During this holiday season, there are shoppers everywhere. Buying up gifts for their loved ones and co-workers with such ferocity that other shoppers tend to be hurt and sometimes killed. How is this the joyous attitude we promote during this season?
I was just reading a couple weeks ago about the release of the new Playstation 3 game system. There were muggings, riots, and even a couple cases of a trampling or two. All to get the latest toy for the holidays. How horrible of us to go so far as to MUG someone for a Nintendo! There was a similar rush on the Cabbage Patch Kids in the eighties, and during the Furby, and Tickle Me Elmo crazes from just a couple years ago. I think it’s just awful that we can stoop so low in order to obtain a toy that will still be produced a month after the holidays. Just bite the bullet and give your gifts late, or try something else. Don’t hold up your neighbor just because they ordered one in advance. It makes you look even more foolish. I will never understand why we go so crazy over gifts that can wait if there aren’t enough lining the shelves right then.
I’m not exactly fond of the people who think that the amount of money you spend directly relates to how much a person loves you. Feeling badly because the new movie you got from Mom; is less expensive than the video game your brother got, is a poor way to repay someone’s kindness. My friend JaWa, had an awesome Christmas by simply making cookies and giving them in cute little dollar store tins. Everyone got the same thing, but everyone knew that he cared. Plus it was easier on the wallet I’m sure! I think I might do something similar this year. Partly because of the simplicity of it, and partly because my money needs to be focused on getting myself more mobile. (My car needs to be replaced or repaired, and I think I’ll be getting a new ride. Poor Falkor has earned a rest!) My immediate family however, will receive regular gifts as long as they are under about 25 bucks a person. I’m not cheap, but I am pretty damn broke. If my friends don’t like that, then well maybe we need to have a talk about how much a person can mean, as opposed to a checkbook.
I’m not too crazy about those inflatables that we see more and more during the holidays either. It started with those fucking giant pink bunnies for Easter, and has slowly evolved into giant sno-globes, carousels, Grinches and Scooby Do’s all decked out in holiday garb. These atrocities light up and are visible from space, as far as I am concerned. I spend every year wishing that I had the audacity to drive around town, shooting them with a bb gun until they are all deflated and beyond repair. Don’t ask me why I hate them so, because I have no idea. But I want them to vanish from this earth, and the sooner the better. You know what happened a few years ago? There was some crazy chick here in Rutland that actually STOLE an inflatable snowman from a person’s yard, dragged it THROUGH the snow to her home some six or seven blocks away. The owner reported it stolen, and all the police had to do was follow the trail she left. Then that fool denied having a stolen snowman dripping all over her living room floor. I read that article and laughed for a good twenty minutes! Where do we get these nuts?
So I’ll be decorating a tree this year and breaking out the “RuPaul Christmas Ho Ho Ho” album for the holidays, and getting treats for those people I care for. I’m also going to turn a blind eye to the terrible things that happen around me. Or at least try to not let it bother me. This is my first Christmas season with a boyfriend to spoil, so I’m going to do my best to make him happy. It also looks as though I’ll be getting a new niece for the holiday as well! The family is very excited about the new arrival gestating in my sister in law. We may not have them home for the holidays, but the thought of a new little face in my life makes it worth the time apart! It will be the first girl that my twin brother has fathered biologically, and we’re all a twitter to see how our genetics will look in a female relative. (Given that my brother and I are adopted, it’s really neat to see how bloodlines actually do show through to our/his kids!) The holidays won’t be a waste on me, but I still wonder why we put so much emphasis on what we buy, and not on who we love. But don’t worry about me, I’m a drag queen, what do I know?