It came to me with perfect clarity yesterday: why we all have such a love-hate relationship with the holidays. I was listening to a holiday mix CD in the car as I was driving to yet another mall to fend for my life in the parking lot and look yet again for pie dishes. The songs were cheery and lovely and full of peace and love and joy. And lies. The clarity moment came about here:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on
Our troubles will be out of sight
Are you fucking kidding me? Who wouldn’t jump on that bandwagon? I want some of that light heart, vanished troubles holiday. Where can I sign up for that? I’ve accidentally stumbled into the extra stress, additional troubles and not just with strip searches at the airport and figuring out how to keep gifts secret while not wrapping them and thusly making them appear bomb-like to screeners holiday.
All this time, all I’ve wanted is for my troubles to be miles away. What am I doing wrong that I’m sitting here with pie dishes wondering how the hell I’m going to ship them to Los Angeles without being the unintended giver of a box of broken glass for Christmas? And how I can I package the essence of my deepest love and tie it with pretty ribbons? For that matter, why am I out of ribbon when I know I bought three miles of it last year? Where are my fucking dancing sugar plums?
We want to love the holiday season, with its joy and cheer and glistening snow and peace and goodwill towards men or whatever the hell and laughter and giving and magic reindeer. But while I have experienced many a holiday season, I have yet to spend one with magic reindeer. Which might be a good thing, because knowing my luck with animal encounters, they’d likely have trampled me to death. But the point is, I haven’t even had the opportunity to be killed by a herd of stampeding magic deer, only by those peaceful, joyful mall shoppers. And by peaceful and joyful, of course I mean willing to kill you if you take the last gravy boat, that while ugly, is on sale, and obviously embodies some sense of holidayishness, being about food, which we are told in commercials is a cornerstone of the season, and thusly, will make Christmas complete. I can’t blame them really. They’re just looking for what the songs have been promising them all their lives. And they’ll have it even if they have to kill every person they see.
If the carols told the real story, I think December would be a little less popular. We’d spend the month hiding in a closet, waiting for January. We’d huddle together for warmth and drink hot cocoa. That’s where I’d be right now except I have heavy glassware to wrap. And I still haven’t found those damn ribbons.