1) MONEY. Oooh, the holidays are so good for bringing out our inner Scrooge, are they not? How to fit all those gifts we “need” to buy into the monthly budget without racking up credit card debt and/or eating beans the entire month of January to compensate? It is stressful for everyone except Oprah, whose favorite things list this year included such items as a $98 sweatshirt and $150 makeup brushes. I’ve got my fingers crossed, Oprah! ‘Cuz on the other hand…we get gifts, too, and most of us like to use the holidays as our opportunity to treat our loved ones to a little something they would never buy for themselves. So there is some sweet mutual wish fulfillment that doesn’t happen at any other time of the year.
2) FOOD. So much food! SOOOOOO MUCH FOOOOD! Everyone says you should never start a diet around the holidays and I completely agree with this; that is just mean. With the short days and colder temperatures, we are all getting into hibernation mode—moving less, settling in earlier—and when you add all of the delicious treats of the season, we have a recipe for discontent with our waistlines. On the other hand…the holidays do give us permission to spoil ourselves a little with indulgences we don’t normally enjoy. I, for one, eat those nut-encrusted cheese balls/logs but once a year, and man, do I look forward to it. Ditto egg-nog, gingerbread and the giant tins filled with flavored popcorn. BOO-YA! SO AWESOME! It adds a little extra “spice” to the season for me.
3) PARTIES. MAN, parties SUCK. Except when they are totally fun! I think you all are with me on this one.
4) FAMILY. MAN, families SUCK. Except when they are totally amazing! Am I right???
5) MUSIC. Pop quiz: what is your personal best record for speed in changing the radio station upon hearing the opening notes of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” (or Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song, which I happen to love but I feel you if you don’t)? My hand can move so fast it’s a blur, practically accomplishing the song change by telekinesis. Holiday music, by the end of the holidays always, is the definition of PLAYED OUT. On the other hand…listening to Josh Groban sing “O, Holy Night” always moves me to tears and I love that my 10 year old son knows who Bing Crosby is, all because of “White Christmas”. The agelessness of holiday music makes it the ultimate time machine, both bringing us back but also allowing us to bring that time back to the future for our kids.
6) HOLIDAY MOVIES/ SPECIALS. HOLY WOW is Santa a NIGHTMARE in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! Actually, the whole gang at the North Pole has clearly watched Mean Girls one too many times; what a judgmental, excluding, no-healthy boundaries group they are. Home Alone treats your child to fear of home invasion, excessive violence and confirmation that Santa doesn’t actually come if your folks aren’t home. Ouch. The Little Drummer Boy opens with the murder of his parents; that’s always a good way to get a kid’s attention. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas brings back Rudolph’s twitchy Santa; this time he stands ready and willing to punish an entire town because ONE MOUSE doesn’t believe in him. What a jerk! On the other hand…I LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!!!
7) THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS. Man, the war on Christmas is RELENTLESS!!! Starbucks turning from the teachings of Christ with those blasphemous red cups, “holiday” trees, being forced to be multi-culturally sensitive, IT SUCKS!!! On the other hand…Ha, ha, ha, I’m totally kidding.! There is no “war on Christmas”. It’s just something rational people can have a good laugh over.
8) THE SALVATION ARMY What in the world makes you feel worse than walking by one of those poor souls standing in the freezing cold in front of your grocery store ringing that stupid little bell without putting something into the bucket? NOT MUCH, if you are anything like me. The holidays are a time, as I mentioned earlier, where money tends to be a little tight for people who are not Oprah, so some days our inner Grinch does not have a DIME to spare, buddy. And how about the soup kitchens that need extra help when you are already running around like a chicken with your head cut off and the food pantries trying to provide a decent holiday meal for needy families? You could die of the guilt, I swear, especially as you are already spending a lot of money on stuff that some might consider “frivolous”. On the other hand…do you have any idea how damn good you are going to feel if you do put some change into the bucket? Or volunteer at the soup kitchen? Or drop off supplies to the food pantry? That is pretty much the definition of holiday cheer, my friends. That is the kind of stuff that makes your heart grow 3 sizes that day, in Grinch vernacular.The holidays are so tiring/invigorating in these and many other ways! And my wish for you is that your holidays ROCK 8 times more than they SUCK. You know you deserve it!