Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bah humbuggery

This is a post I really haven't wanted to write, and I've been putting it off.

My intent was to leave the... eulogy-thing... up for a few days, because if I had posted immediately after that it would have had all the emotional impact of saying, "In today's news, my friend had a miscarriage, and we are all sad. And now, sports."

And then, I dunno. Faithful readers know how cranky I get this time of year, what with the rampant commercialization and the enforced merriment and the rigid adherence to observing holiday doctrine.

To top it all off, it looks like the Christmas Spirit threw up all over our house. It took us a week to put up all the lights. And this year, we are having three trees.

Three. Christmas. Trees.

Because one isn't enough, is it? It isn't sufficient that we have a huge (artificial) tree featuring the past five years of Hallmark's ornamental dreck, along with a "Best Of" rotation from the past two decades, oh no, we need an International Tree for all the ornaments we've collected in our travels, and then yes by golly we need a Wolf Tree, covered in expensive lupine-themed baubles, so that our dogs have a place for their presents!

That grinding sound you hear are my back teeth gnashing together. There isn't enough alcohol in this house to get me through the holidays, especially when my sister comes to visit.

Let me tell you about my sister. Oh, let me.

Don't get me wrong, I love my sister. I just love her over there. Preferably out of state. Because you see, there is a rule among Southern families which states that once every generation, there needs to be a spinster aunt, with far more cats than is healthy, who teaches school and plays the organ at church. This is my sister, Scarlett, and yes, she is named after the Gone With the Wind character.

If you people think I am Inappropriate Girl, you have yet to see my sister in action. She will -- in polite, mixed company -- refer to one of her cats as "my pussy." This is not done out of innocence about the slang term, either. This is her "reclaiming the word" or somesuch.

Yet when I suggest she just name one of her cats "Vulva", suddenly I'm the bad one.

She's also more than a little fundie and charismatic with her faith, which wouldn't be a problem in and of itself, but she also has the charming habit of wielding it like a truncheon. If you want to win any arguments with this woman, you'd best know your Bible verses to back up your positions.

She's also ten years older than me, and every time she comes visit, I am once again not only the youngest but the baby of the family. I have to establish my competence on a regular basis, and it frustrates me so much I want to scream and pull my hair and smash crockery into bits.

Which brings me to my final point. Khaotica is upon us, and for the life of me, I can't think of anything to do which doesn't violate the single, cardinal rule of "Thou shalt not harsh anyone else's merriment." Really, all I want to do is tear down all the lights and smash the tacky decorations and turn off the enforced cheerful music and just have a nice, quiet, calm, tranquil, dark, still, ZEN Christmas. You know, softly singing "Silent Night" in the dark, and then curl up on the couch with a glass of eggnog to look at the tree for a while before going to bed.

If I ever have a family of my own -- which I sincerely doubt at this point -- while I may have a Christmas tree, I'm never putting presents under it. The tree is just decoration. Instead, I'm going to have a live-size manger (baby Jesus doll optional) and the presents are going to be arrayed around THAT. It's subversive in a subtle, traditional, laid-back kind of way.

So yeah. You folks have a happy feast of St. Excessivus. I'm gonna go outside in the mid-70 degree night and look at stars until I feel at peace with the world again.


  1. Because you see, there is a rule among Southern families which states that once every generation, there needs to be a spinster aunt, with far more cats than is healthy, who teaches school and plays the organ at church.

    There are some people out there that think you might be exaggerating. Let me state for the record this is not the case.

    My sympathies.

  2. Wow E, just wow. My condolences on the impending familial doom. As for the putting the presents around the manger as opposed to under the tree. We usually have one of our manger scenes under the tree and we do put the presents around little baby jesus. You will make it. Have you thought of spiking the eggnog with a mild hallucinogenic? Nothing better than a straight laced family tripping balls. Or better yet, try and find some of those Obama shaped E pills and drop those in the eggnog, double fuck your family. Then the family cheer and love will be turned up to 11 and the post rolling comedown will let them feel what it is like in your world dealing with their BS. I too am a firm believer with not harshing another's good cheer, but your holiday cheer needs to count as well.

  3. Honestly. IMHO being contrary is just affirming it, having little religious yule/christmas/khaotica cruise-missiles pointed at everyone else with a different opinion.

    Instead my project for the last 15 years has been to deformat/de-informize the family christmas.
    Remove all message from it and convert it into a force of raw holiday (as much as possible that is).
    Decorations (to the extent that we have decorations, too much is work and not holiday) go up because they're pretty, not for any other reason.
    Presents are given because we want to give and we wish to receive.
    Food is eaten because it's tasty.
    Family is met because it's family.

    Some think that I'm commercializing it, but commercialism is a message too (and as such it must be purged!).
    IMHO it's a successful project too. A lot less stress and tension. Creating superfluous information (for the benefit of some sort of ideological warfare) is work, work is not holiday.

  4. You know, I would say to continue being the "bad" one and embrace it.

    Take comfort in the fact that you're not the kind of family member who says "my pussy" at Christmas.


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