Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 17, 2009

Sick of the Holidays

And they haven't even started yet.

I've been trying to figure out why I'm so Bah Humbug when it comes to the holiday season, because I never used to be. I noticed a marked change around 2003 when we stopped putting lights in the windows and outside. It was just too much damn trouble and half the time the suction cups would fall off the windows, so the lights would be hanging in crazy swoops. Or it'd be howling out, pouring down buckets, and Brian would have to go outside to unplug the lights out there. The last time I went all out decorating was for Xmas 2005. It took hours to drag all the boxes out and lovingly decorate the upstairs and downstairs. As I unpacked everything, I couldn't help but think that it felt like I'd just put it all away and now I had to drag it all out again. Then on December 26th, I spent hours packing it all back up.

One of the reasons we've scaled back is that Sagan is just too, erm.....'enthusiastic' and rather than have a precious, one of a kind ornament broken, we decided not to put them all out anymore, including a live tree like we had for the first 15 years of our marriage. Or the really cool wire tree that holds all the beaded ornaments I made & my modest collection of Christopher Radkos. I think I miss that more than anything else. But Sagan could easily take that whole thing down with his tail, and the results would be disastrous.

When you are a child, it seems like it takes forever for the holidays to arrive. Nothing went up in the stores till after Thanksgiving. When Santa arrived at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, you knew the holidays were officially here. About the only mention of Xmas was when the big Sears Wish Book would arrive in the fall. No one put up any decorations till at least the first or second weekend in December. You got one chance to see the holiday specials. I remember one year, I had to have been 9 or 10, my parents & I went to Hyannis after school, to shop. At 7:45 I had a complete meltdown because "Charlie Brown Christmas" was starting at 8 and we'd never get home in time. My dad didn't yell at me often, but he yelled at me that night. Told me I'd seen it before and it'd be on again next year. That seemed like FOREVER away. But I loved Xmas when I was a kid, and even the first few years Brian & I were married in San Francisco were amazing. I got so excited, it was so special.

Slowly but surely, over the years, the holidays have begun to creep into our lives earlier and earlier. It's gotten to the point now where I can't stand hearing Xmas carols because everywhere you go, they are blasting. I would go postal if I had to work in any retail store or bank and have to listen to it all day long. One of my Facebook friends took down her Halloween decorations on 11/7 and put up all her Xmas decorations that day. It makes me feel kind of bad for Thanksgiving, getting lost in the shuffle between Halloween and the December holidays. It's just too early.

Catalogs arrive in July, packed with decorations and ornaments. Cable networks decide to be cute and run "Christmas in July" specials. It's 100 fucking degrees out and I'm supposed to get jazzed for the holidays? Are you kidding me? I went to Fred Meyer in late September and not only was it jammed with Halloween decorations (which of course went up in August), the end of the aisles had boxes of lighted deer, wreaths, holly, trees, etc. Xmas crap for sale in September.

I'm convinced that the reason the years are flying by is that everywhere we go, we are bombarded with advertising, rushing us through the seasons. Go into any store on Dec. 23rd and you'll see the Valentines Day stuff going up. February 12, the St. Patrick's Day stuff will be out, and Easter immediately after that. After Easter, all the lawn & gardening crap goes out. Grills, beach balls, etc. Back to school ads start immediately after July 4th, Halloween decorations are available by the end of August. We're never allowed to enjoy the lulls between holidays and seasons anymore. As soon as one ends, the next one must be prepared for.

It was October 4, and we saw the first commercial for The Seattle Ballet's Nutcracker. As I pounced on the mute button, I said to Brian, "It's gonna be a loooooooong next 3 months if this ad is gonna start running now..." This damn ad runs constantly, morning, noon and night, and has done so since we moved here. I can't help but wonder if the little girl in the ad is already out of college by now. I am so fucking sick of hearing Nutcracker music it's not even funny. And I used to love that soundtrack too.

Try watching college or NFL football this time of year. OMG, we had to mute every single commercial break this weekend. Could they be more annoying? And loud? The diamond ads, the car ads and oh my god the fucking Walmart ads (don't get me started on my Walmart rant). And who the fuck buys someone a car for Xmas? Seriously! Esp. in this economy?!?!?!
The diamond jewelry ads really send me into orbit. "DIAMONDS! Give her the gift she REALLY wants! Buy factory direct and SAVE!" Or the snotty shrew of a housewife emasculating her husband in front of the entire family, upon observing another female family member's diamond jewelry gift, sniping "HE went to JARED!" I went apeshit the first time I heard the commercial for DeBeers engagement rings that touted, "what better way to spend two months' salary?" TWO MONTHS' SALARY? On a ring? I said to Brian, "I swear to god if you have a spare 2 months' salary burning a hole in your pocket and you want to spend it on me, and you buy me diamonds, I will Kick. Your. Ass." (also, don't even get me started on my blood diamond rant). Every single year there is some new, usually ugly and/or gaudy diamond encrusted pendant that you MUST give your wife or girlfriend because it's the only way to truly express your love. Didn't I hear that last year with the journey pendant? And the year before with the circle pendant? And the year before that with the Past, Present & Future pendant? Quite frankly I'd much rather have Brian put the toilet seat down, or think of me when he's out and picks me up a little something, even if it's just a pack of gum or an ice cream. That means way more to me than some diamond gift that the media has guilt tripped him into buying. He has bought me diamond earrings and a beautiful and very unique diamond pendant, but never, ever because I goaded him into it.

BUY BUY BUY!!!!! YOU NEED THAT!!! Your significant other/child/parent/aunt/third cousin six times removed NEEDS THIS!!!! Can't live without it!!! SHOP SHOP SHOP! Host the perfect dinner! Decorate the perfect house! Buy the perfect gifts! And let's face it, the absolute last thing any of us need is to incur more debt.....or anymore "stuff". Take a listen to George Carlin's routine, "A Place for My Stuff". It's hilarious. It's true. And I'm just as much to blame. We've reached maximum density in a 4 bedroom house b/c it's so full of "stuff".

Watch all the specials over and over and over again! When I was a kid I couldn't imagine being able to watch Charlie Brown Christmas more than once in a season, much less be able to own it on DVD. If you missed it, you missed it. Now you can watch "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" any time you want, if you own it. "It's a Wonderful Life" in the dog days of summer.

"Carol of the Bells"? Used to be my absolute FAVE carol. Ever since it was used in an Andre Cold Duck ad in the 1970's. Walmart uses it now. So does Garmin GPS. And many others. I think I did a blog post about it's overuse last year, in fact. Well the Carol of the Bells onslaught is upon me again and I'm about to take hostages.

The ad agencies are making me hate Xmas long before the actual date ever arrives. I'm already sick of looking at decorations and hearing the music. It's unfortunate too, because we have a lot of beautiful and very unique ornaments and stuff, and I love to take them out once a year and reminisce about them, but it's just so much damn work and there's always this huge feeling of letdown on December 25th. After the excitement of the morning, the afternoon is always thick and heavy, the night is always subdued. All that buildup, months and months of obnoxious advertising and it's over in 3 hours the morning of the 25th.

Just in time for the after Xmas sales on December 26th...


  1. Amen to all this... it is especially awful if you work in retail (as I do)... I swear, almighty COMMERCE has taken much of the fun out of these things for me. It is all about the increased sales, sales, $ale$ and profit$...

  2. And PS: Your weather widget always blows my mind.... it is 62 degrees here right now! (Admittedly, one good thing about the south!)

  3. Joanne I just have to say I love you and if Brian ever screws up I am going to steal you away and we can become lesbians and live happily ever after. LMAO!!! Ok not really but that is absolutely spot on! I REFUSE to put up Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving is over. I am guilty of doing some shopping early but simply because I get good deals on clearance shit from the summer season and put it away to save money.

    I don't get the diamond thing either. Personally I am not fond of diamonds and can think of a million better uses for the money. I didn't even have a diamond in my wedding ring when I was married. I didn't see the need to put that much money on a freaking piece of jewelry.

    I am already completely overwhelmed with the holiday season. I haven't even thought logically through what to do about Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas I enjoy just for my kids. This year they will be with their dad so I don't even have that to look forward to.

    It just gets worse every year. *sigh*

  4. your rant is so true - it is all so hyped and for the majority of people it's a mega disappointment - you probably know this one jojo, but they say lawyers are real busy in the new year - the divorce rate soars after the holidays!!!!!

    of course i've never celebrated christmas, although the way i love my festivals i reckon if i wasn't jewish i'd fully embrace it - but then i do love every opportunity to have my family with me

    it breaks my heart that people have lost the real meaning of the occasion in this gimme gimme gimme society

    p.s. i have no problem if someone wants to buy me diamonds and pearls - i know how to accept this graciously :>)

  5. siobhan - i've just read your poetry - i like your style - i tried to comment but couldn't

  6. Anonymous1:39 PM

    My problem with Christmas is it seems to start around September, so I'm sick to death of it by the time it arrives. However, I did see my first Easter egg for sale last week!!!

  7. All I need to do for my Christmas decorations is plug in my fibre optic tree. I haven't actually put it away since last year...

    I buy all my diamonds from a store that does all in its power not to stock blood diamonds. It has a stated ploicy on its website.

    (All my diamonds! Well, I bought a ring a couple of years ago that had minuscule black diamond chips on it.)

  8. Took the words right outta my mouth, Jo! Xmas was fun when my children were little... now it just feels like a big, high-stress guilt trip!!

  9. Daisy - I'd go crazy if I worked retail, esp. during the holidays!
    As to our weather, I'll take it any day over warm and sun!

    Siobhan - You crack me up. Hey I can't comment on your blog for some reason! Like you I can think of tons of things I'd rather have than diamonds.

    Ann - You are right, this is the worst time of year for family law attorneys. People love to ruin their spouse/exspouse's holidays.

    Diane - You already saw an Easter egg for sale??? OMG!

    Val - LOL at "All my diamonds". :p

    Annie - This really is the only time of year that I sort of wish we'd had kids.

  10. another point I meant to say is the shame that christmas is the season of peace and goodwill to all men - that shouldn't be a season, that should be a day to day lifestyle

  11. You got that right Ann. I just saw a news story on KING 5's website about thieves who just wiped out all of the donated Thanksgiving food at Rainier Valley Food Bank. Hundreds of pounds of potatoes & onions, crates full of canned items....all to be given out this weekend to needy families. And now they are scrambling to try and get new donations.

    I'm sad that "The Equalizer" has died. We need him.

  12. Well that is funky... wonder if I blocked comments somehow. Heck if I know what I am doing lol

  13. I was amazed to read, when researching Thanksgiving (we Australians don't have it of course)
    that Abraham Lincoln moved the holiday he granted, away from Christmas "because it was too close and spoiled retail trade"

    way back then. gosh.

    Followed you here from the fab DaisyDeadAir, and reading your profile I must alert you to something you might like World Of Froud - just guugle brian froud, or follow links in my profile to
    Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. There be dragons at World Of Froud, and very naughty fairies.

    Happy Thanksgiving.