Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spreading the Yuletide Blame

Remember how you vowed to take time to relax and enjoy Christmas and not get swept up in a flurry of holiday-related chaos? Yet there are only 13 days until Christmas, and you're even more behind on seasonal tasks than usual. Again. How did this happen? Where did all the time you were supposed to spend basking in the holiday glow disappear to, and more importantly:


After all, it certainly couldn't be your fault or in any way related to your hyper, overachieving, perfectionistic tendencies. Therefore, the Fa La La La La Fault Baton must be passed along to the following:

How could anyone even think of blaming these sweet, innocent creatures? Well, apparently they're demanding little suckers, because every single time you bring your kids to see Santa, he's out feeding those freakin' deer again. You then have to kill an hour at the mall with cranky kids in tow...and simultaneously keep all of them from messing up their outfits/hair/dispositions. You also better get back soon enough to wait on the line that's already forming....lest it get cut off again while he feeds his flying antelope wannabes.

And where the hell are the elves at reindeer-feeding time? Santa employs their services for the important, complicated stuff, like building an XBox 360 gaming system using only pixie dust and a claymation sledgehammer, but he can't trust them with something as simple as throwing a few magic acorns into Blitzen's bowl?  No, for this, Santa must bolt, leaving behind a line of sweaty, overtired parents children indefinitely.

And precisely how much food does a reindeer need to consume per day anyway? They're not exactly robust animals. I mean, if Santa were actually feeding them every single time the sign says he is, they would be too fat to walk, nevermind fly. And let's face it: Vixen's so skinny, she probably lives solely on Diet Coke. She's not fooling anyone. 

Sure, it's supposed to SAVE you time in theory, but it really does just the opposite. You can now waste precious hours surfing between different sites for the best prices and finding coupon codes for Free Shipping. And then once you finally commit to your purchases, you have to type in your personal information 50,000 times. Plus, there's always a code or form that won't submit properly, forcing you to call the company, face a torturous voice mail menu and deal with an infuriating customer service representative.

Then when your order ships, you are absolutely compelled to track it. Instead of attending to your pending Christmas tasks, you fret over why your package seemed to be moving state-to-state on a daily basis, yet has spent the past three evenings stalled in Obscure Town, Kentucky.

And, heaven forbid it's either damaged or they sent the wrong item. Then you have to fill out the form, repackage and return it, and order a replacement that will still arrive before Christmas.

Which you will also feel compelled to track.

Oh. My. Elfin'. Boot. There is no escaping this freakin' song about the kid who is desperate to buy shoes for his dying mother so she can "look beautiful when she meets Jesus tonight." How does this qualify as a Christmas carol? It does not spread joy. It does not in any way involve holiday cheer. Just because a song has the word "Christmas" in it, does not mean it's airplay-worthy.

We won't even get into the logistics of who the heck let a young kid out shopping at night without adult supervision. Was he wandering the streets in the dark or did an adult actually drop him off at the store and refuse to accompany him inside? Perhaps that's even sadder than the main theme of the song.

This tune incorporates every pathetic, depressing cliche from losing your mother to the kid being poor and dirty to the store closing as he enters. At this time of year, do we really need to be incessantly reminded of every parent's worst fear...dying while our children are young? And then they added the worst part of all:

A kid himself half talks/half sings toward the end, with his whiny, faux-victimized kid voice...some cheesy manufactured interpretation of what the producers think a kid should sound like. (*Insert appropriate tear in his eye and lump in his throat here).

The song assaults you in the car. It's on in the department stores. Even picking up milk isn't safe anymore. How are you supposed to get anything else done when you are thrashing around on the floor covering your ears?

It doesn't matter how many cool tape dispensers or contraptions 3M comes up with...dealing with tape is a nightmare. The speed with which you need to wrap a gift directly correlates to how swiftly the tape gets stuck to itself on the roll. It sticks to itself with a permanent bond, yet can't manage to hold the two ends of a cardboard box shut without popping up after 3 seconds.

The term "magic" tape is  also very misleading. Is it wrapping the present for you by itself? No. When you only need a small piece, you end up either yanking half the roll off or having your piece split into unusable slivers, which you then need to peel off the dispenser one-by-one. Maybe they forgot to include the magic words needed to produce a decent piece of tape on demand.

Sure, they sell dispensers where neat little 2 inch pieces are pre-cut (for double the price). That's also awfully controlling of them, don't you think? How dare they predetermine your tape size needs. There are times you need a long piece and there are times you only want something little. In other words, you should get to be in complete control of everything the tape.

Especially when you run out of wrapping paper at the point where you only had one more inch of the present to cover. Then you have to perform delicate papyrus surgery to try to patch a piece of discarded scrap paper into the naked spot. You worked so hard to align the pattern and everything.....No one will notice you used about 35 pieces of tape for the job, right? Granted, that whole strategic operation took more time than simply starting over with a new sheet of wrapping paper, but somehow you feel like you won.

"Magic" tape indeed. Let's see it make the line to see Santa move more quickly or help the FCC permanently ban "Christmas Shoes" from the airwaves. Now that would be some holiday hocus pocus worth advertising....and you couldn't blame them if they did.

Which, on second thought, could be a problem. Please don't deny me my holiday scapegoats.

Actual Time Spent Preparing for Christmas:  32 days 
Real Feel:  not long enough to get it all done
Actual Time Spent Relaxing During Christmas Season: 10 minutes (when you nodded off while stuffing greeting cards into envelopes)
Number of Times "Christmas Shoes" Is on the Radio Per Season:  999, 998 

How about you? Are you managing to relax this year...or are there even more things/people to blame for your stress?

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