Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Garlic in my soul

I've been trying for years now to stop Christmas from coming, at least to my house. I'll save you the long winded 'I Hate the Holidays' rant because either you're already on board here and you've been undergoing your own personal hell for the past 6-8 weeks or you love the holidays and can't bear to have them spoiled by grinchy whiners like me. So if you want a good rant you can go over to Violent Acres and read the most excellent post, 'Christmas is consumer gluttony masked as religious sentimentality' because I don't think I can say it any better. This quote sums it up for me.

Hallmark and Kitchenmaid and Toy R Us have hijacked our holidays to the point where there is nothing actually enjoyable about them anymore. There’s just this vague, almost overwhelming urge to buy, buy, buy until we run completely out of money.

The very worst part is 90% of the shit we’re buying is crap that no one needs or wants. I mean, how many of you have ever sat around thinking, “You know what I could really use? A basket of salami and mustard…”

For years I've been begging my family for a truce on Christmas. We all have more Stuff than we need and the ability to buy whatever Stuff we want so why stess over it all? We know we love each other, why do we need to express it with Stuff? Most of the Stuff they give me goes straight to the Humane Society's thrift store because I have a small house and not a lot of room for more Stuff. At one point I gave up and starting giving checks and gift cards then last year decided that's it I'm opting out and didn't get anything for anybody (except my grandparents because I will never in a million years get them on board with this). I figured that that would be that, finally they would all realize I'm serious and leave me out of it this year. But sadly like the Grinch I find myself standing on top of the hill listening to the damn Who's singing away down in Whoville. Or rather my family still gave me gifts, checks, etc. Even my aunt who was on board with the moratorium last year and in years past. Sigh. My plan foiled yet again. I don't understand this compulsive need to give Stuff at this time of year (my family is mostly Jewish for chrissakes) and I hate getting gifts without giving something in return so I'm in something of a pickle. I can hold firm and not give anything again this year in hopes the message will finally get through and feel bad about all the gifts I've gotten or I can cave in and send last minute checks/gift cards again but then the cycle continues.

On the bright side the one thing I do really like about Christmas is getting together with my friends and this year we're having the festivities at my house. This means we've been cleaning and cleaning and cleaning which is not a bad thing because things were getting dire. The dust bunnies were starting to turn evil.

I'm no Martha Stewart but I'm pretty sure it's frowned upon to have dust bunnies threatening your guests.

I guess it's also bad form to serve wine in regular drinking glasses. Or so Jonny informed me on Sunday. The Sunday before Christmas. Because everybody who hates crowds and shopping and stressed out mayhem loves to go to Target on the Sunday before Christmas to buy glasses that they're going to use maybe once a year and probably break in the dishwasher anyway. We barely have space for the 3 wine glasses we already have, where are the new ones going to live? Jonny assures me there is a home somewhere for them and that it's important to serve wine in proper glassware even to our friends who aren't the sort of people who typically fuss over this kind of thing.

I'm unconvinced but I see that if I volunteer to go to Target maybe I can convince him to go to the grocery store to buy me some salad stuff for next week's lunches. Because I HATE Christmas music. To the very depths of my being. It sends me straight to Crazyville in 30 seconds or less. Last Thursday night in the grocery store I was at my breaking point and ready to claw my eyeballs out as well as the eyeballs of everyone around me. Because they've been playing this insipid repetitive treacly crap in the grocery store since before Thanksgiving and frankly I've had enough. It's very hard to avoid the grocery store because of needing food for survival and all. Now the other part of the story here is that Target, at least the one in Boulder, does not play Christmas music or music of any kind for that matter. I love you Boulder Target. So I decided I'd brave the chaos of the parking lot and stressed out last minute shoppers on the Sunday before Christmas if only Jonny would buy me some food so I'm not a danger to myself and others in the grocery store.

In the end it was not so bad, I didn't even have to wait in a line to check out. I hit a bit of speed bump when I discovered that apparently you need different glasses for white wine and red wine but I decided screw that noise, I have no idea what sort of wine we'll be having and at this point people will be lucky not to be drinking out of novelty Scooby Doo glasses.

I'm looking forward to a fun night with friends, a relaxing 4 day weekend and the day when I can safely return to the grocery store. Now if only someone could do something about the bad 70's music they play in there the rest of the year. Hopefully the rest of you are not as cranky as me and enjoying your holiday season.


  1. I hear ya.

    My mom and I are so not into the whole commercial thing, so the last few years my we agreed to not buy each other anything. Being not too crafty or creative, we didn't make each other anything either, unless you count the meal which was a shared affair. This year I thought it would be nice if we each give a donation to the charity of the other's choice. So, a local cat rescue got her vote and a dog rescue got mine.

    My dad is more traditional and still insists on buying things for me (so, of course I feel obliged to do the same in return although he probably wouldn't care if I didn't), but this year I'm going to try to plant the seed by including a donation to a children's charity in his name as one of his gifts. Doing the same thing for his new fiancée. She has a soft spot for the elderly so there's a great program for vulnerable seniors that will get a donation in her name.

    It was actually really fun to "shop" around for some great causes to donate to. The down side is it was hard to narrow it down and pick which ones.

  2. I tried to get them to donate money to charities for me years ago but that didn't fly either, esp. with my grandparents, so I end up donating most of the gifts they give me instead. You're lucky your family sees the light, maybe one of these years I'll bring mine around.

  3. I'm a Christmasaholic, I'll admit it. Love the season. But as I and my family all are at the stage of "I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF MUST GET RID OF SOME OF IT" it's harder to justify giving things, even if they are obviously perfect & useful. Still--if they're perfect and useful, I'll give 'em. This year instead of a Thing, I'm giving one package of movie tickets with snack gift cards and babysitting money for a couple with kids. That's kind of fun.

    My mom has been after us for years to donate to charities instead. So that's what I do for her sometimes. My mom is so enlightened!

    I actually received a basket with salami and stuff once and we used it as an excuse to go out for a romantic evening at a hotel and used the basket contents for dinner and snacks. It was lovely.

    But then, I like fruitcake, too. Although it has to be the right kind of fruitcake.

    Love the dustbunny picture.

    Merry Bah Humbug to you and your crew.

  4. We'll find out soon if our families, who agreed to the no-gift rule, cheated or not.