Growing up there was no other time of year that I loved more than Christmas. I lived in a small town so every year the city would attach giant angels, snowflakes, holly and such to the light poles around town. Once you saw those go up, you knew Santa would be coming down the chimney with your Barbie Dreamhouse soon.
We would go get a tree from the Piggly Wiggly or Delchamps and decorate it while listening to Christmas carols from this green box thingy that you plugged in the wall. The sound was terrible — like if your Speak and Spell decided to make a Christmas album. But I can still hear the robotic sound of “Silent Night” to this day as I am decorating my tree each year.
My husband and I have started a few traditions of our own with our kids, so trust me when I say I am not Grinchy Potter McSroogerson, III. But I must confess there are some Christmas “traditions” that I just don’t dig.
Here is the short list. Don’t tell anyone though.
1. I don’t get the fascination with “A Christmas Story.”
I think it’s an OK movie. But I don’t get the obsession many have with it — certainly there is no need for any TV network to play if for 24 hours straight. One viewing per year is enough. I find Ralphie kind of annoying, his father a bit pervy, and the whole scene when the kid’s tongue gets stuck to the freezing flagpole absolutely painful to watch.
And something about the tone of the adult Ralphie’s voice as he narrates the film really just gets under my skin as well, as does the “eat like the piggies” scene. I know. I know, this is going to make people want to shoot my eye out with a Red Ryder BB gun and I understand that. I even tried to pretend to love this movie for years. I thought if I faked it long enough maybe I would love it as much as everyone else. But I just don’t. There I said it. You can wash my mouth out with Lifebuoy if you must.
2. Those elaborate miniature Christmas villages people construct in their homes. I just don’t get those. I think it’s the fake snow. Or maybe the little trees. Or the room it requires to set the mini Christmas city up.
3. That Santa puts chocolate and/or marshmallow-filled candy shaped like himself in the stockings of children. It’s just seems kind of creepy that he wants kids to eat him.
4. Modern Christmas songs are just awful. Dear pop stars, if a carol was written in the last century, do not record it. And please for the sake of the sweet little baby Jesus in the manger, do not try to write a new one. The kids and I were listening to one of the Christmas radio stations recently and we were having fun singing “Jingle Bells” and Silent Night” when the worst “modern” Christmas song time of all time came on and totally ruined the mood.
The song I speak of is “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogleberg. In case you have forgotten just how terrible it is, let me refresh your memory by sharing the lyrics with you.
Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stood behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
(I stood behind her in the FROZEN FOODS and touched her on the sleeve? Are you f-ing kidding me? Why not the bakery or the deli?)
She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried
(You laughed until you cried because it was just soooo funny she spilled her purse or because it rhymed with “wide?” I think we all know the answer to that.)
We took her groceries to the check out stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation lagged
(The food was totaled up and bagged? I know something else that is lagging.)
We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car
(I want to drink heavily now too in my car — like you and the frozen food girl’s entire six pack from the liquor store or possibly something stronger than a sixer)
Here is another quality stanza:
She said she’s married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie
(I get warm and safe maybe … but dry? Was she living on the streets or did he just give her a nice umbrella? I don’t like to lie either, this is just terrible. Thanks for peeing on Christmas with this song.)
So there you have it — a few of my Christmas confessions. If you hear this song on the radio, do yourself a favor and shoot your eardrums out with Ralphie’s Red Ryder. I’ll be in my dry home listening to my robotic Christmas music, unbagging my totaled up frozen food, and trying not to touch anyone’s sleeves. But I am not making any promises.
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