By Robert Smyth
Let’s start with decorations. By a show of hands, how many of you feel like you just put all of them away? Trees (plural), boxes of ornaments, and strands of tangled lights make us say words that land us on the naughty list. Everybody loves decorations (the more the merrier) but nobody wants to help get them out or set them up. They just want the holiday fairy to show up and poof! I think my wife would rather re-experience childbirth than fluff an artificial tree. If I could find the person who keeps putting up those incredible holiday displays on Pinterest, I just might do them bodily harm for the simple fact that no normal human can make their decorations look like that and still afford presents.
Second on my list of holiday humbugs is the average Christmas temperature in North Georgia and the crapshoot that is the weather. We spend a month watching Christmas specials full of people bundled up and playing in winter wonderlands. All the while we are more than likely putting on our shorts to go outside in 70° weather and mow around the holiday inflatables.
Speaking of those holiday specials, I truly believe that the Hallmark and Lifetime channels will be the downfall of the male species as we know it. They are bad enough throughout the rest of the year, but during the holidays they really hit us guys with a one-two punch. I know these movies are not supposed to mirror reality but come on. There are not that many picturesque villages in the United States that all seem to have an endless Christmas decorating budget and happen to be full of ultra-rich model quality men whose six-pack abs show through their stylish winter coats. Even men over 50 in these movies have perfect hair and are just nauseatingly full of wisdom and charm. Oh, and if it’s one of those May/December themes where the middle age single mother of two attracts the affections of the young, rich, heartbroken guy in his twenty’s, forget it. Just leave the room and pray for spring.
Next on my list of holiday cheer killers is shopping. Holiday shopping used to be a joyful event that has now turned into a full-contact sport with plays that would rival any NFL playbook If you do not believe me, come by my house on the night before Black Friday. The dining room table will be full of ads and lists with my wife and her army of shoppers hunched over them mapping out the night’s adventures like the allied forces planning D-Day. I tried going once. The experience was so ridiculous and I made such a fuss about it all that I was cut from the shopping team for good. Somehow my credit card is still a star player though.
Finally, one last thing that really burns my gingerbread: companies making up new traditions just to sell us something and add another level of stress to our holidays. Elf on the Shelf anyone? Not only do we have to go buy one of these little, freaky, smiling, red-suited Christmas goblins, but we have to be creative and move it every night to keep the magic of the season alive for the little ones. I’m lucky to remember my kid’s names, much less to move a stuffed elf around my house every day. The only magic here is the company who created it hohohoing all the way to the bank.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Holidays and most of the things that come with them (especially if they have been baked in an oven), but if you strip away the trappings and reduce them to what they really are supposed to mean, that’s my true joy. The day a savior was sent to us in the form of a baby to bring peace on earth and goodwill to man. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!