Seriously, it’s not. It’s November 14. It’s still two weeks from Thanksgiving – and by that, I mean, the real Thanksgiving, the American one, not the Canadian one that started just because the commies in the Great White North decided the poor, downtrodden working man needed another day off. Hell, working people in Canada already have free health insurance – what else did they need? We never had free health insurance in the US, and you don’t hear us apologize for trying to develop Type II diabetes in a single day.
I’m being a jerk. I apologize. It’s not my fault. I just walked into a drugstore to buy a bottle of whiskey and a pack of smokes, like a normal person does. And what do I see but Santa Claus’ fat bleeping mug staring back at me. It’s November! Not even the second half of November! I still haven’t gotten over the fact that summer is over and all the cleavage in this city has disappeared, and now I’m supposed to start thinking about buying crappy sweaters for some uncle I don’t even like?
But here it comes. Six weeks of advertising for gifts, half of which are going to be returned, with the other half to sit in some closet until the recipient moves and says, “Who the hell bought me a candle-making kit?” Six weeks of me pretending that I like people that I don’t. Six weeks of me trying to figure out what to buy my friends, most of whom are in the thirties and married. What, exactly, do you get for the man whose life is over anyway?
I don’t want to deal with it. I want to handle Christmas like a normal person. I want to wait until the 23rd to go shopping, and then spend the whole day bitching about why the mall is so damn crowded. I want to buy half-assed presents – ideally, eight of the same thing for eight people I don’t really care about that much – that are just good enough to keep me from getting in trouble. Then I want to spend the 24th and 25th drunk off my ass so I can handle spending that much consecutive time with my lunatic family.
Truthfully, I don’t know anyone who disagrees. We all say Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but nobody actually means it. We may love our families, but if we actually liked them, we would be home a lot more often than once a year for Christmas. And, personally, I think that anybody who actually likes Christmas carols is either over 60 years old or a threat to themselves and others. It’s mostly the latter, since they want to wear cheerful sweaters and talk about egg nog.
(As a side note, and I couldn’t make this s— up, I’m writing this column in a little dive in Chicago, because I generally feel that alcohol is conducive not only to humor but everything else. And someone just played Mariah Carey singing “All I Want For Christmas” on the jukebox. It’s 12:30 am on a Thursday. There’s five women in here. One is gorgeous, three are decent, and the fifth is a plain-looking blonde in a purple scarf. Who played the Christmas song, I ask you? And how many f—ing cats do you think she has?)
* * *
And yet, every damn year, Christmas comes earlier and earlier. This, despite the fact that nobody’s asking for it. I have never met a single person who has said, “You know, I wish Christmas was longer. It should start before Halloween.” Nobody says that. You know why? Because Halloween is awesome. There’s half-naked women and you can put a mask on your face and act like a dick and nobody will recognize you the next day. It’s an awesome holiday.
In fact, every holiday is better than Christmas. New Year’s? It’s a day off, and at midnight you get to make out with strangers, or at least pretend you’re interested in making out with the person you’re with. Memorial Day and Labor Day start and end the summer, so you spend a three-day weekend drunk at the beach, kissing the ass of whatever friend you have that owns a boat. On Valentine’s Day, you get laid if you’re in a relationship, and you get laid if you’re not, as long as you know what you’re doing. Hell, Martin Luther King Day gives a nice three-day weekend in the middle of the winter, even if white people feel guilty as hell. What is Christmas? It’s a mess. Either you have to travel somewhere in the dead of winter, or you have to have twenty-five people in your house screwing up your plumbing and eating your food. If you get too drunk, everybody knows who you are, and, let’s be honest, it’s really hard to get laid on Christmas Day. (Insert your own hacky joke about Arkansas, West Virginia, or the redneck town 20 minutes away here.)
So, why, exactly, are we looking forward to this? Why are we spending a substantial chunk of our year preparing for a holiday that nobody really likes? It’s big business. They want to guilt you into spending your hard-earned money on other people. Christmas isn’t about compassion or family or the death of the Son of God. It’s about fourth quarter earnings for billion-dollar behemoths.
Screw that, I say. You earned that money. Spend it on yourself. Get a nice bottle of single-malt scotch or high-end bourbon. Hell, buy a hooker. Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and Christmas is his birthday. If you died at 33, how would you want your birthday remembered? A six-week shopping binge leading up to an awkward conversation with your great-aunt about the weather in California? Or a day spent in the soft afterglow of good whiskey and a massage from a four-foot-ten Thai woman who may offer services that are, shall we say, off the menu? I rest my case. Honor your Lord.