It's a few days early, but what with various celebrations I'm not likely to have time to post this between now and the end of Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone -- may we all see peace, happiness, and success in all our endeavors this holiday season, and in the New Year to come. There will surely be challenges and difficulties to go around for everyone, but this is the time to look toward the longer, warmer days ahead, and have hope.
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Here I am writing a new Christmas column, instead of taking the easy way out and reusing one of my seventeen old ones (or, as I like to call them, pre-used). I was going to reprint the poem I wrote about the mustache that saved Christmas, until I reread it and realized I’d been under the influence of pain medication at the time.
What can you say about Christmas that hasn’t already been said? It’s easy to rail against how commercial the whole holiday season has become. In some stores Black Friday has now – as I predicted – started on Thursday.
Then again, some retailers make so much of their yearly profit during the season that they’d go out of business without it. There’s a quandary for you: People shouldn’t spent more than they can afford, but if they stopped overspending at Christmas the economy would crash. The economy’s going to crash anyway, when we finally realize the government is printing money that defies reality, but I’m not sure we want to rush that experience.
On the other hand, the next time I walk into Dollar General and see Christmas displays being set up next to Halloween displays – in September – I’m going to go all Ninja Claus on their butts. I’ve already been kicked out of Wal-Mart for punching a September Santa; I’m not afraid of another restraining order.
Christmas “specials” are fun to aim a satirical finger at. (Or a satirical pen?) I’m continually surprised no one has tried to remake “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” using new technology … that’s pre-computer stop-motion animation going on there, people. It could be done with digital technology that would make James Cameron proud – in 3-D! The Abominable Snowman will leap right out of the screen, and the reindeer look so real your half-drunk Uncle Milton will take a potshot at Donner with his hunting rifle.
On an unrelated note, what programming genius thought that terrifying thing would be a good idea for a children’s show? I’m not talking about the Snowman – I’m talking about a creepy little elf running around, dreaming of being a dentist. It’s fit for a horror movie, with this tagline: “Open up and say AHHHH!!!”
I like the traditional specials, especially anything with Charlie Brown. An example of what not to do: years ago came the Dean Martin Christmas Special. In California. Sun, surf, and Dino singing “White Christmas” while drinking a martini – I didn’t know whether to cry because it wasn’t Christmassy at all, or because I wanted to be there with him.
Since then a lot of the special programming has been holiday related only inasmuch as it’s aired sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Remember how, for awhile, the movie E.T.: The Extraterrestrial was being aired as a Thanksgiving night family movie?
Yeah, the climax of that movie is set near Halloween.
Another easy target is the increased political correctness that led so many stores and people to replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” – or no acknowledgement of the season at all. It was originally a religious holiday – remember?
Yeah, well, I’m offended by political correctness, so kiss my cross.
Hey, I like that: Kiss My Cross. I’m going to put that on a bumper sticker and sell it at Christian bookstores. You accept my religion, I’ll accept your religion, or lack of it – otherwise, KMC. This will go viral, making me rich, allowing me to buy Christmas presents, thus improving the economy. We all win.
Listen, no one has ever keeled over dead from hearing someone say “Merry Christmas”. Have a little holiday cheer, even if it’s not your holiday. Frankly, at this point Christmas has become so homogenized that you can get through the whole season without every actually mentioning Jesus, so lighten up – we all need a little Christmas.
Speaking of which, probably the best target for poking fun at the holidays would have to be Christmas music. As I’ve said before – despite my wintertime blues “bah humbug” attitude – I love Christmas music. The old, the new, the silly, the serious – love it.
But oh, how very open it is to humor.
Don’t even get me started on “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, the very special feel-good tune about the hit and run murder of an elderly woman.
There’s the modern “Christmas Shoes”, which made me cry the first time I heard it, and annoyed every time afterward. Christmas songs shouldn’t leave a person with the urge to go up on the clock tower with Uncle Milton’s high powered rifle.
Then, of course, there’s the song I call “Santa Stalker”. It, too, would fit in perfectly as the ad for a new horror movie:
“He sees you when you’re sleeping …” (Insert spooky piano music.) “He knows when you’re awake … he knows if you’ve been bad or good … and he’s coming down your chimney.” Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, or maybe that’s from the energy drinks I slammed to stay awake while waiting up all night with the lights on, clutching Uncle Milton’s high powered rifle.
The most problematical song ever is “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Everyone groans when it comes on, not because they don’t like the song but because it’s so darn long. By the time you get to the end, you’ve heard about the partridge in the pear tree twelve times. Or maybe more, I’ve never done the math. Some new versions poke fun at that, for which I’m profoundly grateful. However, I propose a way to give tribute to the original, while also shortening it a bit. Here, then, is my Christmas gift to you: A brand new version of a classic song.
On the first day of Christmas, my love brought in a tote,
A fast forward button on a remote.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
A bunch of birds she thought would be a lot of fun
But we were so darn hungry and they pooped on the tree,
So we ate them, with help from Milton’s gun.
Along with the partridge in the pear tree.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
A bunch of entertainers, making union scale
And some ladies milking cows,
And lords jumping around
But we ran out of birds to feed them,
So we sent them to stay at the Inn.
(Which explains why there was no room, huh?)
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Fiiiiivvvvvveeee golden riiiiinnnnggggssss …
Which we had to sell
To get Milton out of jail
Because it turns out some birds were endangered.
What? The original didn’t rhyme, either.
Merry Christmas, everyone!