Originally Posted: 2004-12-07 13:04

Rant: I’m a cranky Jew

I’ll probably get flamed for this, but it has to be said:

I hate Christmas.

Everything about the Christmas season irritates me. Especially the fact that it has become a fucking season. It’s not enough to conquer continents … now we’re laying claim to whole seasons, eh? Typical. Do we really have to start celebrating this holiday in October? And continue celebrating it until New Years? No wonder you all get depressed around this time … Christmas eats up 20% of your year. I don’t know where you get the stamina for it. I sure don’t – and I’m Jewish.

Not that a pesky detail like that should matter. No, you make sure that the whole damn country is along for the Christmas ride, whether we like it or not. “It’s Christmas All Over the World” is your fucking instruction manual. You make it impossible to avoid. Most annoying thing about Christmas? There are so many to choose from that it’s hard pick the worst offender, but the Christmas music is definitely a top contender. Do any of you actually like that shlock? I feel sorry for people in retail this time of year. Thirty minutes at the GAP and I want to crawl out of my skin. If I had to listen to that shit all day long I’d shoot someone. (And can someone please tell me why every store has to suddenly stink like a cheap scented candle?)

But hey, if you want to listen to that inane drivel day in, day out for two months -- to each his own. But why does it have to become the soundtrack of our collective lives twenty-four hours a day? Most Wonderful Time of the Year my ass. Nothing is safe from its reach. Restaurants, shopping centers, movie theatres, offices … you’re even piping that shit into parking lots now. And I’m so glad you did -- because I forgot it was Christmas! Thanks for reminding me! For fuck’s sake, I can be doing my grocery shopping and listening to the muzak version of Silent Night. Christians, if that doesn’t shame you, then I’ll feel embarrassed on your behalf.

If you listen to Christmas music for more than two consecutive hours in any given day, I think it triggers chemical changes in the brain (the time period shortens to one hour if the musical selection includes Mariah Carey), causing temporary insanity. How else do you explain Christmas sweaters? The saddest part is that you put on that hideous thing in the morning, check yourself out in the mirror before leaving the house, and think to yourself, “Yeah, I look good.” You don’t. Really. No one looks good in a Christmas sweater. Take it off and dispose of it immediately, preferably by burning it.

And the decorations … man oh man. Christians have come up with some really creative ways to nastify their homes. Okay, okay -- candles in the windows are pretty, and lights are nice in moderation. A little holly and mistletoe never hurt anyone. But there is a line. And that line falls somewhere between, oh, the third Christmas tree you put up in your home, and the life-sized, mechanical Santa waving from your roof to the ten motorized reindeer grazing on your lawn. (On the day when one of you falls off your roof installing your Santa, I will not feel sorry for you at all. If you are disfigured in some way by your fall, let it be a lifelong reminder of your bad taste. I hope your reindeer short circuits in a rainstorm and electrifies you too.)

Every year, there is a point when I think to myself, “Alright, THAT is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen -- the holy grail of bad Christmas decorations. You can’t top that.” But Christian America, you always manage to outdo yourself. The list of tacky is inexhaustible! It’s impressive, really. If tacky were an Olympic competition, you would even get high marks from the German judges. As much as I admire your dedication to the sport, though, I’d like to offer a few guidelines to help you take your first steps this year towards what is called “taste.” When shopping for decorations to plaster over your home, keep the following in mind:

1. Anything over six feet tall should be avoided.

2. Refrain from inflatable decorations.

3. If you own anything that is over six feet tall AND inflatable, you deserve a slow death.

4. The same goes for anything that is motorized or talks.

5. If the amount of electricity being supplied to your lawn could power three or more carnival rides, you might want to think about scaling back.

6. Please, no nativity scenes displayed outside of any building that is not a church. (Doesn’t your savior deserve a more hallowed spot than the grassy knoll usually occupied by your garden gnomes?)

7. If you must have a nativity scene, stick to the script. Only a few characters are supposed to be at the manger, and we all know who they are. My old neighbors used to throw a few Disney characters into the mix. When the baby Jesus is visited by the Three Wise Smurfs, you’ve taken a very wrong turn.

And what do Jews hate more than Christmas decorations? That’s right, folks: Hanukah decorations. Newsflash: Jews don’t decorate for holidays. A good gentile rule of thumb: Can you spell it? (draydul? dreydil?) No? Then don’t buy it. So put down the tinfoil stars and the electric menorah. You are doing an excellent job of cheapening your own holidays. Leave mine the fuck alone.

Incidentally, let me clear something up. Jews do not put up Christmas trees. So stop asking. (I know someone out there will retort with, “I’m Jewish and I put up a tree,” and to you I say: You are confused.) And yes, on Christmas, a lot of us do go to the movies and out for Chinese food, because everything else is closed for two days … because, you know, the world stops turning on Christmas.

I guess all this is to say, not that I truly hate your holiday, but that it’s a real shame what’s happened to it. I’m tired of hearing that I should put up a tree and give Christmas cards and my mom should have taken me to see the mall Santa as a kid and don’t you feel the Christmas spirit? because it’s a secular holiday anyway. No, it’s not a secular holiday. Hey, remember that Jesus guy? I do, and that’s why I won’t devalue it. Would it be okay if we all just decided to give Ramadan a whirl, or wear a bindi because it looks cool? No. And what’s horrible is that I just spent the last hour and a half ranting about Christmas without hardly mentioning Jesus. I know some people are less observant so it doesn’t have as much religious meaning for them, and that’s fine. Celebrate however you want. But why demand that everyone *else* participate in the holiday, too? It generates so much Christmas white noise that it doesn't seem to be about anything for anyone anymore. Well, I know what it’s about, and I also know that it’s one of the two most important Christian holidays, which still has value for some of you. I’ll respect that, even if you don’t.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled flaming.

Merry Christmas,

Cranky Jew

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