It's hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us. Hanukkah is already underway, Christmas is next Friday, and Wikipedia tells me Kwanzaa starts next Saturday. Wacky.
I don't know about you all, but 2009 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. It just went by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was blacking out at Arctic Bar or some other ludicrously overpriced watering hole for New Years' (my goal this year is to remember the ball dropping...I have no memory of this last year). Not long after that, I was listening to Celine Dion's "All By Myself" and crying on Valentine's Day. Then pretty soon came Arbor Day and Flag Day, which were celebrated with copious amounts of trees and flags, respectively. Next, the first 4th of July I haven't spent with Meg in five years (and therefore the most depressing. See Valentine's Day.), followed by Bastille Day, Labor Day, and before you know it, it's Halloween and I still don't have a costume, so I threw one together in 5 minutes that definitely did not involve pants. Three short weeks later, I gave myself a hernia from eating too much turkey, and now, here I am trying to get into the holiday spirit.
In the olden days, it was never hard to get into the Christmas spirit, because as a child, you don't have to concern yourself with gift giving/decorating/sending out cards/etc. All you're concerned about is what the flip is going to be under that Christmas tree/Hanukkah menorah/Kwanzaa fruit when the time comes. And if it's not a pony this year, you're going to throw the most epic tantrum on the planet. This could apply to any year while you are still living at home, with varying levels of tantrum. Once your mom trots out the holiday decorations/traditions, you know it's on. Even after you move away to college, it's still fairly easy to get into the swing of things. A full month off to do nothing but celebrate the holidays? Yes and please.
Once you're out there in the world on your own, and you have to make the holiday happen for yourself is when it gets a little tough. The days between Arbor Day and Bastille Day are no different than the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when you're doing the same thing for 8 hours a day. "Christmas is here," you say to no one in particular, because all of these spreadsheets are driving you crazy, "I had barely noticed. Powerpoint. Synergy. Conference call. Dilbert. Dunder Mifflin. More office buzzwords." This past weekend, I finished all my shopping, put up/decorated my tree, I even filled out all my Christmas cards, but I'm still finding the holiday spirit lacking. Maybe this is because I have yet to watch It's a Wonderful Life with the fam. (Which, if you think about it, a horrible Christmas movie. A movie about a failed suicide on Christmas Eve? Really, George Bailey? You're going to off yourself on Christmas Eve and ruin the holiday forever for your wife and kids?) All of the traditional methods of getting into the holiday spirit thus far have failed, so to help me help myself get jolly with it, I put together this short list of:
Co-Blogger Chris' Alternative Holiday Spirit Ideas
1. Take a tip from Buddy the Elf. Who better to help you feel the joy of Christmas than Buddy the Elf? (Who also talks to narwhals!) The trick with Buddy is to get rull rull simple-minded. Take a spin in a revolving door! Eat spaghetti with maple syrup! Spook a coworker in the bathroom by joining them in an impromptu duet! Literally any activity will get you in the Christmas spirit with the help of Buddy the Elf, because everyday is like Christmas for him. Sending a package via interoffice mail? Wow! It's like someone in your office is getting an early Christmas present, in manila wrapper paper! Listening to a voicemail at work? Santa sure could use that fancy machine, that would save space over all those pesky letters! See? If you believe it hard enough, even you can make Santa's sleigh fly.
2. Kill Santa. Whoa, morbid, right? But it worked for Tim Allen. One minute he's all "Santa doesn't exist and it's tool time and what have you," and then the next minute he offs the big man, and literally becomes Santa. It's sort of sink or swim in this situation, you are either going to get your jolly, fat ass into the Christmas spirit, or you're going to take a nosedive off some poor schmuck's roof and foist your responsibility on him. It's probably infinitely easier and far less dangerous to your health to go for the first option. Also, as Santa, you can a) eat all the cookies you want without having to worry about gaining weight, because it's sort of expected of you, b) see the world, even if it is at breakneck speed, and c) go home to Mrs. Claus, because have you seen how fine that woman looks in her red velvet negligee? Damn girl, don't hurt 'em.
3. Steal someone else's Christmas. Chris, back the truck up. First, you want me to kill Santa and now you're telling me to steal from other people? What kind of list is this? Well, my friends, the only real way to understand Christmas, is to understand that Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if, Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more? (Don't try telling this to 10-yr-old Chris, because he was dead set on getting a Talkboy.) Think about the Grinch. That ugly, lonely bastard is deadset on destroying Christmas. But all it takes is one verse of "Dahoo-dooray" (or whatever song the Whos sing, this always baffled me) to turn him into the most Christmas-y bitch on the planet. This could work for you, too. Try throwing a trash can through the plate glass window of a Best Buy and making off with a digital camera. Or poaching the Salvation Army's collection jug. Once you're arrested, you'll realize that Christmas was never about getting a new plasma screen TV. The only downside is that your cellmate, Spike, doesn't celebrate the holidays, so your good cheer will most likely go to waste.
4. Defend your house from the Grinch. If only the Whos were as resourceful as Kevin McAllister. Coat the insides of their chimneys with Who-pudding, or break with Who-ornaments and strew them in front of the hearth. You can bet if Kevin McAllister were Cindy Lou Who's big brother, the Grinch would never have stolen Christmas. And the Grinch would also probably have tetanus and a dire need for a doctor once he left Who-ville. I wouldn't say that Kevin McAllister didn't have the holiday spirit in him, but he was kind of a bratty little kid. An ingenious little brat, but a brat nonetheless. If I were in his shoes, I would have nonstop peed my pants in the attic while Marv and Earl ransacked my house. Tying up paint buckets and setting up booby traps? Eh, that's way too much work. I want my mom. But boy does he appreciate his family/Christmas after having defended himself and their home all night long.
5. Switch up your holiday traditions. Just look at Jack Skellington. No one went at Christmas with more fervor than Jack, simply because it was something new and different. If it's Halloween every Christmas, eventually, you're going to wish it was actually Christmas. Sure, maybe he didn't get it 100% right, but you can't blame him for trying. If you're hesitant to wear a Scream mask for the birth of Jesus, maybe decorate an Easter egg or plant a tree or champion civil rights. Holiday spirit doesn't have to come from eggnog and making out under the mistletoe. It can some from Oktoberfest beer and making out over a romantic candelit love-themed dinner. But Halloween at Christmas doesn't seem like a bad idea. Trick or treating for Christmas presents. Haunted Santa's houses (with ghost reindeer and zombie elves!). Halloween caroling? Eh, it's a work in progress.
So there you have it. Some different ways for you to get into the Christmas spirit. Though I suppose they aren't for everyone. I guess you can just drink your eggnog and sing your traditional carols like everyone else. That works too. I guess.