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Old as dirt. Twice as gritty.

Christmas curmudgeon

It’s December.
My quest at this time of year is to find ways to maintain my elusive delicate-like-a-flower ‘Christmas Spirit’. My dilapidated Christmas Spirit is so fragile, so delicate, that a mere puff of Christmas boosterism and *poof* the feeling is gone.
The Spirit starts out fully inflated on or about the 15th of November when all is quiet and I can see the potential of a lovely season ahead. It deflates about five minutes later when I look around and see that the season is no longer ‘ahead’, it is ‘here’. Christmas has become the guest who arrives ‘way too early, and nags you with blinking lights and sappy sentiments until your Xmas Spirit is lying dead at your feet.
There are quite a number of seasonal delights that deflate my sensitive Christmas Spirit.
There’s the public Christmas tree display gig that could be rather lovely except that it takes a perfectly innocent Christmas tradition, the decorated tree, and turns it into a spruced up or fir-lined opportunity to sell brand recognition. Here’s a tree with little truck ornaments all over it, and whadda ya know, it’s a trucking company’s tree. There’s a tree with little food ornaments all over it, could it be a grocer’s tree? Why, yes it could. Where is the funeral home tree, with ornaments of little coffins, a tiny crematorium, and some random dead bodies? Or a fast food tree - a fat one - with dripping plastic hamburgers and clogged-artery tinsel?
Another seasonal delight is the Militant Christmas statement. These statements flood Facebook and other sites, usually starting in early November. The Militant Christmas statement is the same message repeated about a zillion times: that dammit, the person posting is by god going to say “Merry Christmas” and nobody is going to stop them, you can wrestle them to the ground but they’ll still say it, and defiantly, too. And anybody who says “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” is going to be treated to scorn, ridicule and possibly a slap upside the head. It’s all about the tolerance and love and kindness at Christmas, as long as you remember to say “Merry Christmas”, not “Happy Holidays”.
The same people who bring you Militant Christmas statements are also prone to posting I Love Christmas It Makes Me All Gooey statements. “Gosh I love Christmas, and everything about it, and everybody in it, and everybody in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD (except people who say “Happy Holidays”), and all I really want for Christmas is . . . World Peace.”
So, how do I manage to keep my Xmas Spirit intact despite my curmudgeonicity when faced with the above atrocities and more?
Well, I keep it simple. I lay low. By November I’ve stopped going to stores (bless you, online shopping). I don’t do Christmas activities or events, because I actually hate the things. I buy nice things for the people on my list, but don’t seek out the ultimate shock-and-awe gift. Shock-and-awe gift buying has a nasty side effect: each year it gets harder to top your last offering. Photocopied generic Christmas letters? They used to be good for a laugh for being so tacky, but I’ve seen enough to last me a lifetime. They get tossed unread. 
For decorations, there’s a tree and a couple of odds and ends. Gone is the need to put every single Christmas ornament out, it stays simple. I never decorate my office, which keeps it as a nice normal haven in which to work while the rest of the world gets all bat-crazy Noel. Okay, except for my office mannequin, Katie, who insists on wearing a rather slutty Christmas get-up each year. This year? She’s going to be a damn nun. Maybe a nun with tinsel, but a nun ‘nun’theless.
But there is one glitch in the mix, one kink in the armour, and its name is Andrew, my grandson. He fires up his Christmas spirit late July, early September, and by November has become frenzied with the need to do Christmas-related stuff. Once he has finished overhauling his own place, he starts reaching out. Unfortunately, that reaching out always involves yours truly. 
The other night I heard a noise outside. I went to investigate, and there he was, the rabid Christmas boy in a Christmas hat (aaaak), rustling around my front door with three gaudy plastic candy cane lights in hand. 
“NO!” I cried.
He froze in his tracks.  
I explained why Christmas ornaments must not be set up so early around my place.
I reasoned quite well, actually.
I lied and promised that he could set them up ‘later’.
I finally had to threaten the kid.
I’m bigger than he is, and stronger, too.
And far more determined.
And, well, it turns out that if I look the other way, I can just about walk past without seeing the damn things.

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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

This column: The columns that will appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading the column, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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