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Fa La La La La La Not So Much

2003-12-19 - 4:24 p.m.

For the first time in my entire life, I do not want Christmas to happen this year. I'm dreaming of a forgettable Christmas. Sleigh bells ring, I'm not listening. I'm a mean one, Mr. Grinch. I would be happy if The Vatican made an announcement tomorrow that Christmas has been moved to April in order to make Jesus an Aries. Actually, I'd be happy if The Vatican announced tomorrow that women can be ordained, that priests can marry, that homosexuality is not an abomination, and that they will launch a thorough investigation of molestation of children by the clergy and subsequent cover-ups. Failing that, The Vatican can be buried in a volcanic eruption Pompeii-style. And Christmas can get put off.

I promise that every year before this one I was a carol sing-a-ling, ring-ting-ting-a-ling kinda boy. I could jingle bell rock the casbah with the best of them. Now, granted, the Christmas spirit never hit until the Monday after Thanksgiving, which I think is very appropriate. I hated it when stores began putting Christmas stuff out in October. I can't handle red, white, and green until I've had a thorough dosage of orange and black, thank you very much, not to mention the rich browns of turkey and pumpkin pie. But as soon as that Monday came around, I'd start drifting into ornament shops and, when I was a teenager, driving around to look at the Christmas lights, because Texas, a Bible Belt state in the grand tradition, is full of Baptists and assorted other denominations who believe that a nativity scene in the front yard, a Santa and reindeer on the roof, and an eye-burning blend of multi-colored AND white lights all around the house and tangled in every available outdoor plant makes a person closer to God. When I lived in Philadelphia, I traded the Texan grandeur for the Northeastern weather, happy to finally dream of a White Christmas and wake up to find that I would at least have a White Christmas Shopping Season. That's what counts every time.

This year, I don't want to look at a single icicle light, and the closest thing I have to a carol in my head is River by Joni Mitchell, which might be the most depressing Christmas song ever. I am not happy about this, and I am trying to figure out what's responsible for the Scrooge syndrome.

I think a big part of it is that I only have Christmas day off this year, whereas before there had always been the extended vacations of high school and college that allowed me to rest up. As is, I not only have work, but I have all my graduate school stuff due by January 6th at the latest. Every weekend from now until my birthday (January 11th, for anyone who wants to send me a gift certificate to a book or music store) I will be working on essays and really boring paperwork. I won't get to wander around stores as much as run in, get a gift certificate, and run out, after which I will run to the post office to mail yet another set of wrting samples or letters of recommendation.

Also, I have had to deal with my first office Christmas party. Whoever first came up with the idea of an office Christmas party should be, in a word, crucified. There is not enough eggnog in the world to make me want to spend time outside of work with the majority of my coworkers, and that goes quintuple for our clients, customers, and vendors, all of whom also came to the party. I had to console myself by making friends with this really cute, sexy dessert tray that I met. Let me tell you, it was one of the most fun party hook-ups I ever experienced, and i've had a few.

Don't look at me that way. I couldn't eat the actual food, because it all had meat in it. The cream puffs and eclairs and mini cheesecakes and napoleons were my ONLY OPTIONS.

Yet even this wasn't enough to make up for the fake smiles, the Christmas muzak, the drunken imbecility, and worst of all, the humiliation of having to go buy someone a six pack of O'Douls. O'DOULS, PEOPLE! Non-alcoholic beer, the most pointless thing ever invented.

This party was at my father's house, which has been decorated to a degree that frightens even some Texans. Outside, there is a gingerbread house that looks like what would happen if you fed skittles to an incontinent elephant. Inside, there's a life size mechanical Santa that sings Christmas carols and haunts my darkest nightmares. It was brought over by my sister (the one I found out about last year at Thanksgiving, the one who's fortysomething and a religious fanatic, AHAHAHAHAHA right) and therefore must be kept around despite the entire family's aversion to it.

Our office, on the other hand, has been sparsely decorated. There's just enough garland to make things look tragic. I tried to make some bows out of ribbon, but they looked like something out of The Dark Crystal. This did not prevent me from putting them up and laughing when people said they looked pretty.

I wish we had better decorations at the office and more tasteful one's at my Dad's house. I wish I could spend more time at my mom's place, where the only offense against taste is the four foot wide wreath that my aunt designed in a fit of Martha Stewart envy (it's blue, pruple, silver, and belongs on the door of Bloomingdale's in 1986). I wish I had time and energy and money to devote ot finding the perfect gifts for everyone who matters.

But I'm kinda sorta gonna be skipping this Christmas.

Fortunately, once this is over, the real holiday season begins, the one that I still look forward to with breathless anticipation. I'm already planning on where I'll be and who I'll spend the time with. Really, it's the most meaningful time of the year for me, and for so many others all over the country.

That's right; the Golden Globe nominations were announced today. Yay!

It's beginning to look a lot like Oscar season . . .

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