Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hallowed Halls of Holiday Hatred

I am supposed to tell a holiday horror story this week.

And that? Well that's too tough for me. Because I hate the holidays, as you well know if you've been reading for any amount of time. So narrowing down one story is like picking out the craziest person at a Palin rally.

Not all the holidays, of course. I like Halloween and New Years. I like my birthday. That counts right? Aaaaaaand that's about it.

If you take my absolute detestation of family holidays and combine that with the historical and anthropological  implications of most of these holidays then add in the thousands of years I worked retail and you'd be better off asking me to think of a good holiday story.

I have a couple, of course. I loved the Thanksgiving when I was little where Linds and I decorated the table cloth and proved ourselves quite talented artists with our strategic use of splatter paint. Hey, shut up, it was the eighties.

The best Christmas story I have is when Linds, Lynnette and I were in Europe. They met me in Paris at the end of my stint abroad and we chunneled it to the UK and backpacked up into Scotland and back down to London in time for Christmas. It was a blast, even though poor Lindsey was sick as hell because of me.

We exchanged cheesy souvenirs in our hostel and Lynnette and I took off to tromp around the city. Literally tromp. All public transport was closed for the holiday so we walked all over that damn city. It was so beautiful and sparse of people and tourists (and COLD!) and we saw London in a way we never would have if we'd been on the tube with tons of other people. We got a little lost and landed ourselves in a Turkish restaurant, one of the few places open, and it was the most delicious food I'd had before or since.

Best Christmas ever.

Most people dread the holidays because of the stress and the pressure of their families. I just downright refuse to participate. Sure, I make presents for my friends and fam and I buy gifts of books for my little nephew Ethan (who I get to see in less than two weeks!). And when and if I have kids, I'll suck it up for them.

But for now? I hunker down in my house and do whatever the fuck I want all day. This was more of a treat when I worked full time, but now I'm sure it won't be that different from most days except that nowhere will be open. It's delicious. The genius part? Everyone feels sorry for me, alone on the holidays. Boo fucking hoo. What they don't know is I love it.

First reason to hate the holidays: the insanity that happens to people in and around stores between Thanksgiving and the Apocalypse. I worked in that melee for too many years that I care to count. I worked the sunrise post on Black Friday. I worked Christmas eve AND the day after Christmas. I battled with perfectly sane people who turned into product-eating zombies ready to kill at random will for over a month each year and I lived to tell about it. More than I can say for many innocent bystanders. The aftermath was insurmountable.

Now, lard help me, I may get another seasonal retail job. BUT, someone shoot me if I even think about going near a mall after this Wednesday. SHOOT. ME. Seriously. Do it. It's for my own good.

Second reason to hate the holidays: even wonderful families turn into hyenas during the holidays and they don't have my mother. Even back when my parents would try to do Christmas right for me, any holiday where my mother is stuck in a house with a finite amount of people will only end in utter disaster.

That especially includes Thanksgiving. Where my mom would insist on cooking the meal of the year but wait until 8pm to start cooking so we don't eat until Black Friday is actually over. I also hate Thanksgiving food. The only things I like are mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. And macaroni and cheese, which isn't traditional but is for me, asshole.

Christmas always began with bickering and ended in screaming and tears from at least 2 people. Forget surprise gifts. After I figured out Santa wasn't real (a story for another day), I was taken shopping (or, later, given the ATM card) and told to buy what I want and wrap it up for myself.

On the up side, I still get myself a special Christmas gift. Thanks, Santa!

Aaaaand that's before my mom went totally off her rocker and started her all-out addiction to QVC. Then we'd just get whatever mystery item was still in its shipping box. No matter what could possibly be inside. You never knew! You just never knew! One year, I got a giant pez dispenser. Oh yes. Yes I did. Believe it.

My dad is a good gift giver, though. It won't be expensive and it won't be wrapped well if at all. But it will have taken thought. It's usually a book because my dad and I both love to read. One year, we bought ourselves the same book. Good times. Good times.

Third reason to hate the holidays: history is a motherfucking bitch. Christmas aside, because you all have to know it's not really about Jesus right? If it WERE, we'd celebrate in Spring. And you know it's really a Roman Catholic re-appropriation of Pagan holidays and symbols right? So in essence we're celebrating the subjugation of one religion by another? Right. So we can move on.

To Thanksgiving. Christmas I can even get behind a bit because I like Yule and snow and twinkly lights and poorly-themed lingerie. But Thanksgiving? Really? Yes, let's celebrate the beginning of hundreds of years of persecution of a people and genocide. We might as well celebrate Hitler's birthday while we're at it.

I loved a moment in Outsourced last week. Todd is trying to explain Thanksgiving and he says we're celebrating our gratitude that the "Indians" helped the Pilgrims survive the harsh winter. And Asha aks, "What did they give the Indians in return?" And Todd replies, "Um, less land to worry about?"

Exactly. Thanks, native people, for helping us out! We'll celebrate with a feast! Then we'll take your land and slaughter you in many wars and give you small pox and force your children to learn English and abandon your ways and beliefs and we'll also teach you about the wonders of alcohol! But it will all be okay because in a few hundred years, you can open some casinos. Aren't you glad! Let's eat!

Okay, okay, I'll stop. If you like Thanksgiving, have fun. Eat away. Enjoy your families. I'm well aware that people enjoy this holiday. I just think you should know what you're celebrating. If it's the food and maybe even family? Good for you. Have fun. Wear your Thanksgiving pants.

But me? I'll be home, watching movies and reading and eating mac &cheese. And I'll be enjoying it.

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17 comments mean you love me:

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I hear ya. Retail during the holidays is hell; I'm just thankful that I'm not working that gig anymore and therefore won't have to deal with the rabid crowds, threats, and insults shot at me by entitled customers who've apparently left all their Christmas cheer behind due to that Yule log shoved up their ass.

And I agree with you about the history part. I tried to explain to a friend why Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25, but as a devout Catholic she didn't like my explanation that it was basically a giant PR move by the Church to gain followers and stomp out an old religion. So yeah.

But I still put up my christmas tree yesterday (a fake 3-foot tall one), so I feel very Pagan-y. Or maybe that's because I saw Harry Potter 7 yesterday, and some of the old magic rubbed off on me. Who knows?

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Colleen, I love it! I'll put up my tiny fake tree too. gotta keep the Pagan spirit alive. :)

my first christmas spent alone was spent with a Harry Potter marathon!

KLZ said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

All this is precisely why I like to finish my shopping before Thanksgiving.

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

did you? did you finish?

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

your honesty and baring of your soul is BEYOND refreshing!

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks, Caren! I'll have that guest post to you soon. :)

Susie Kline said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm glad my family isn't the only one able to completely fuck up the holidays!

xo Susie

Menzies said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have the good fortune that my family and I have fairly normal holidays, but I completely agree with the stuff about retail and the history of the holiday.

For us in Puerto Rico it was on Three Kings' Day that you gave gifts, not on Christmas. Christmas was a time for pork roasts, rum, and music. Whole neighborhoods would join up in the biggest house they could find and throw a gigantic party.

That's changed. Rather unfortunately. Now it looks much more like what you describe.

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

that sounds awesome!

Nush said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hehehe loved your rant! I have to say that the whole christian Christmas does nothing for me. I much prefer the old Midwinter celebrations that are very much still incorporated in Christmas celebrations in the Nordics ... its all just about "hey it is too dark, cold and snowy outside to do any work so we will just chill out and eat loads (oh yeah and drink a bit too...)"

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Nush, that sounds awesome! maybe I'll move.

Poppy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'd just as soon crawl under the covers for the next month, but I do suck it up for the kids. And for that 30 whole minutes on Christmas morning in which I buy their love and affection, it's totally worth it.

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

is that why you do it? I need to have kids already.

alonewithcats said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I almost always have to work during all the holidays. People act like it's a bad thing, but I love working this time of year in Boston. Everything grinds to a halt. Everyone – all the students, politicians, office workers – clear out. There's no one on the roads, or on the streets. The city becomes calm and quiet, and it feels like it's all mine.

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

if I lived in a city like that, I might feel the same way. :)

Heather (aka Sugar Free) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I too loathe the holidays. For me it's simply a well marketed "tradition" designed to drain the wallets of those trying to please others. See also: Valentines day. My husband and I do the same type of thing on TG/Christmas....nothing! (Well, sometimes I make tacos) And we love it! Oh yeah....and my family is fuckin' nuts as well, soooo...

Andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I also hate valentine's day!! it's the killer of love.

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