Ahhh … Christmas. That time of the year when people bolt madly about the mall, foaming at the mouth, their eyeballs rolled back in their heads; I sometimes wonder if we’ve mixed up the seasons and I’m seeing a replay of last Hallowe’en’s midnight showing of Night of the Living Dead. There’s been a couple of different versions of this movie with slightly different names, but you know. The one where the good guys are all trapped in a mall and their numbers gradually dwindle until there’s only two or three of them left, and they’ve run out of ammunition and water and toilet paper and they have to decide which one of them is going to dash out among the monsters to get to the only working vehicle that’s left in a radius of 100 km. Why didn’t they think of that before they trapped themselves in the mall?
Anyway, I’m digressing. Or maybe not. I don’t think that glancing around at the mall decorations would be any indication of what month it is anyway. Back in October I found myself tripping over the jingle bells while hunting for the Hallowe’en pumpkins. Or maybe that was Peter Rabbit. Cupid? I can’t tell any more. The so-called special occasions are all starting to morph into each other. The only thing I do notice is the surge in mania that accompanies this time of year.
It starts with Christmas music that’s supposed to put us in a seasonal frame of mind and get us to start parting with our cash as early as possible. The earlier we start, the more we’ll spend! Or some such reasoning. All it does for me is to get me going on my seasonal vocabulary, as in “Oh fudge, it’s ‘deck the halls’ again.” Really, you say? Well, not really. My language tends to be rather … er … stronger. The fact is, if I hear those piped in carollers fa la la-ing one more time I’m going to hunt them down and strangle them with their own holly out in the parking lot. Shouldn’t they be done with that whole decking the halls thing by now anyway? They’ve been at it since they chased the headless horseman out of town months ago.
Then we’re supposed to decorate anything that stands still for longer than two seconds. Since the stores start this at the end of September, the passive-aggressive suggestion to the rest of us is that if we don’t buy our lights and holly and tinsel and get them up soon, we’re all really the worst kind of lazy procrastinators who probably don’t even separate our whites and our colours when we do the laundry, if we do the laundry.We’re supposed to have a theme, and mulled wine stewing on the stove, and our houses are supposed to reek of pine needles and fresh cookies.
At my house, it’s more like this: theme – getting the laundry done this week without having a nervous collapse; baking – finding that pair of socks that has been baking under the bed for so long that they’ve started growling; Christmasy smells – getting out the PineSol and cleaning the bathroom; mulling – trying to remember all the stuff I have to do this week and why it is that I’m doing it; wine – falling upon any wine that I can find and drinking it straight from the bottle before collapsing into the recliner and falling asleep and snoring in front of the news.
The next step in this nightmare on Mistletoe Street is the shopping. I hate shopping at the best of times but during December it’s demented. People don’t even know what they’re doing. All they know is that they have to buy twenty presents and get them wrapped up or there’s going to be hell to pay. Living dead, indeed. One pair of silver-plated, self-cleaning, automatic nose hair pluckers. Just what Auntie Jo always wanted. If you can lift it, get it. Drag it over to the till and wait for an hour in the line. Find out what it is when you get home. Cover it in two hundred dollars of paper and stick it under the tree.
Then there’s jolly old Saint Nickle Ass. Ho, ho, ho. Sitting there cringing, his knees covered in a sheet of clear plastic, hearing the supplications of the
teenagers toddlers, an example for sociologists everywhere of how greed can outweigh sheer terror.
The merchants are rubbing their hands with glee …er … delight, warmed through and through with the spirit of Christmas cash … er … past.
The kids are wound up so tight their eyeballs are bulging. The list of what they want is terrifying and you better hop to it because they’ve got Granny held hostage up in the attic. Who says that this generation suffers from narcissistic entitlement? Or any of us, for that matter?
Anyway, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to carve my jingle pumpkin and deck the halls with zombies. Fa la la la la la la la la la.