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Christmas Spirit? Bah-Humbug

TOM BURGUM
Staff Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

You can drop all the happy holidays talk. Christmas is over and we no longer

have to pretend we have the Christmas spirit. It is alleged to be the season of giving gifts, connecting with friends and family, and joining the rest of our fellow citizens in a celebration of a holiday common to all. It is none of these things. And, as I have written before, I believe it is the season that creates expectations that can‘t be met, marital discord, disappointment and political correctness.

Any social worker will tell you that the list of human grievances grows exponentially during the holiday season. I think I know the reason. Pap on television and in the media always makes promises that can’t be kept. The Christmas ads are the worst. Budweiser has to be responsible for more disappointment than the others. Budweiser wants us to believe the Budweiser horses are pulling a sleigh with two unrealistically handsome people on their way to a house blazing with lights and filled with happy people.

Budweiser better shape up. Those horses, what with their popping and flatulence,  are violating some of the promises Secretary of State Kerry made at the Paris climate conference. The fight against global warming has doomed the horses.

Forget global warming, it’s time to kill the Budweiser ad because the reality for almost all Americans is different.. Most families are in an SUV loaded with kids and presents trying to navigate through holiday traffic gridlocked by the picturesque snow that caused a semi to jackknife across the highway. In addition we have the aging couples, sitting alone on Christmas eve wondering why the kids don’t call, or sitting with other aging parents who are wondering why their kids don’t call. The kids don’t call because they are stuck in traffic with a car full of children who are alternately crying, fighting and continuously asking, “When are we going to get there?”

At this point the Christmas spirit has dissipated and the parents have begun to wonder if leaving the kids by the side of the road would be considered child abuse.

Giving is better than receiving, or so the old shibboleth would have us believe. Actually, it is not so hot. The problem of what to give someone for Christmas is a husband problem. I have never known a man who even claimed to have the slightest idea of what to get his wife for Christmas. Here I speak of probably 99 percent of American husbands. The one percent who think it is cute to surprise his wife with a gift- wrapped Maserati or the Hope Diamond only have to worry if the pre-nup will hold up.

The problem is that most men don’t have a clue about women’s styles. The reason for this deplorable lack of knowledge is that women, at least married women, don’t dress to impress men, they dress to impress other women. I remember one Christmas when I lost my grip on reality and asked my helpmate if she wouldn’t like a little something from Victoria’s Secret. She allowed as how it might be a waste of money unless I planned to wear it.

Another Christmas I reasoned that she might be pleased with something from the baubles-bangles-and-bright-shiny-beads category. At the time I had settled on a Kitchen Aid Proline Waffle Baker as the ideal gift. It was top of the line, pricey and it looked like a serious piece of technology. Plus, it made waffles, clearly a winner.

I was impressed by the jewelry ads and opted for a not so stunning piece of jewelry. It was a mistake. She opened the package, viewed it from several different angles and finally in a voice dripping with disappointment said,  “I hope you didn’t pay a lot for this.” No kiss, no waffles, a lesson learned.

Books are always a good bet for a gift that is appreciated. Several years ago I was looking through the New York Times holiday recommendations and came across a book about a young woman’s search for the truth about her parentage amid the snow and ice of Lapland. The Time’s critic called this “a bleakly comic yet sad tale of a child’s futile struggle to be loved.” I keep this in reserve in case I am forced to buy a Christmas gift for someone I despise.

One reasonable expectation is that Christmas be called by its name, which is — Christmas. This doesn’t seem too much to ask. Still, the ACLU, the culture hating apologists, political correctness aficionados, and the newly minted aggressive atheists feel it necessary to refer to the Christmas season as the “holiday” season, or the “winter” season.

Several years ago the wise men in Loudon County, Virginia decided to allow non-Christian displays on the courthouse lawn to appease the professional atheist complainers. What they got probably didn‘t work all that well for the kiddies. The atheist group, motivated by a desire to celebrate something or other, erected a crucified skeleton of Santa Claus.

Everyone sing along with me:

You don’t have to be good,

you don’t have to be nice,

Santa Claus ain’t coming tonight.

Falalalala Lalalala!

There is one antidote to all these Christmas problems and disappointments. Forget about the traffic, the hassle, the gifts, the unrealizable expectations, and the political correctness. Just worry about someone else and do something nice for someone who needs a bit of a hand up. This is guaranteed to make Christmas seem like Christmas.

So, to all: Merry Christmas. (If you celebrate Kwanza you’re on your own.)

 

 

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