Okay, so I am not really anti-holiday. Who in the general population doesn’t like booze, food, family, friends, pretty lights, gifts. And booze. Plenty of booze. But when it comes to pollyannaism, nearly every man/woman has his/her limits. So herewith: five justifiable reasons to nurture the Jacob Marley who is secreted away in your soul.
1. No one can agree on what “the holidays” are — and when. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s — when do “the holidays” begin and end? Or do they comprise that whole span of time? (I do not anticipate retailers pushing back on that one.) Forget even this year’s rare “HannukGiving.” For some, “the holidays” seem to begin about two weeks before Halloween when abodes are festooned with all-orange lighting and end with the last dousing of lights on Christmas night and the tossing of forlorn pines on the curb — silvery slivers of tinsel shivering in the wintery wind. Among the more traditional sorts, “the holidays” are Christmas and New Year’s. Hence (little nudge here): “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” These increasingly scarce holiday types deck their halls after December 1 — often well after — and take down the tree sometime between the BCS Championship and the Super Bowl.
2. “The holidays” are at the wrong time of year. Christmas should be a mid-winter holiday celebrated in mid- or late-February, giving us hope in the midst of the gloom. And New Year’s should be March 1 — coinciding with the coming of spring and restoring Oct-ober as the eight month, Nov-ember as the ninth month and Dec-ember as the tenth month of the year. Isn’t it time we toss out the paganism, Saturnalia and Julian calendar of the doomed Romans?
3. Lights. Now here’s a prescription for a good time: sketchy Chinese-made electrical products, bitter cold and tall ladders. And temporariness. Me, if I’m going to all that trouble, those suckers are staying up — lit. nonstop. — for years.
4. The music. Not even wasting keystrokes on the artistic abortion of “Santa Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” I’m talking about “Walking Through A Winter Wonderland”: My lifetime supply of resistance to this dose of toxicity ran out around age 11. I’m talking “Sleigh Ride” (“just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing / ring-ting-tingle-ing too”). Little children are out there committing acts of vandalism, driven to violent distraction by repeated exposure to this tripe. Boomers: Must the sound of the holidays forever be doused in the amber of the Tin Pan Alley tintinnabulations of our grandparents’ generation and the now-hoary Rankin/Bass animations of own childhoods? Mercy. Let’s disarm.
5. You’re expressly discouraged from lodging a complaint. See, the opprobrium is on me. I wouldn’t be surprised if a grimly cheery reveler in a mangy holiday sweater and precious Christmas-tree broach was looking over my shoulder and is about to come from behind and wrest the keyboard from my…