by Joe Buonfiglio
Christmas. It’s the time of year that I wish I were Jewish. American Jews at least appear to approach Chanukah with some semblance of rational moderation to celebrate the “Festival of Lights.” Limited to only eight days where you light a few candles, down a few latkes, spin a dreidel a few times and call it a holiday. The real kicker? Gifts are optional. It is unusual for Jews to give Chanukah gifts to anyone besides their own young children. Even then, the only traditional gift is small amounts of money called a “gelt.” Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. Get in and get out. No one gets hurt.
Reasonable approach. Reasonable stress. Reasonable consumption.
Oooooooooh no! We won’t hear of it.
Whether a devout Christian, an Agnostic or Atheist celebrating in a secular way, or just a weirdo who gets off on coffeehouses switching from pumpkin-spice lattes to peppermint mochaccinos, the over-the-top holiday lights, tree decorating, stressful break-the-bank gift-giving, greeting-card mailing, shove more cookies-n-shit down our throats overeating, and mandatory boss’ party eggnog-sucking “Didn’t we just have turkey for Thanksgiving?” bullshit starts before the Halloween decorations come down in the stores of the can’t-find-a-fucking-parking-space shopping mall and runs right through “I feel like shit. My head is killing me from that cheap champagne. Look out! I’m gonna blow chunks again!” New Year’s Day. The reality is that the American economy would grind to a halt if we didn’t kill ourselves with stress and drain our bank accounts of all our cash and beyond for Christmas.
But I, for one, say fuck the economy! It’s all about the One Percenters hanging on to their club memberships while he rest of us sink into the gift-wrapped holiday abyss. As for me, I would like to see you come through it all if not unscathed, at least having mitigated some of the madness. With this in mind, please pay heed to…
UNCLE JOE’S TIPS FOR SURVIVING CHRISTMAS
TIP #1: HEALTHY EATING — Never eat food that comes out of a bucket.
That’s it. You’ll be tempted, but don’t do it.
TIP #2: STRESS REDUCTION PART ONE — Do not — DO NOT — put up Christmas lights on the outside of your home. Throw a wreath on the front door and call it a day. If you find yourself going through “lights withdrawal,” you can wean yourself off the Christmas lights obsession with those cheesy battery-operated candles in each window until your panicky body-tremors stop. But that’s it!
Screw the ladders and burnt bulbs and blown fuses and bad wires and malfunctioning timers and and and… It’s all a crock of shit that will one day induce a heart attack with your last holiday memory as you leave this Earth being the thought of “God, when my family finds my body, I hope I haven’t shit myself.”
Here is an actual conversation my wife and I had after I finished putting up the Christmas lights on my house this year:
ME: “Damn, I hate doing that. Christmas lights are a pain in the ass.”
HER: “Yeah, but they’re so pretty. I like them.”
ME: “You know what I want for Christmas next year? I want to book one of those companies that come out and put Christmas lights up on your house for you.”
HER: “No way are we spending money on that.”
ME: “But that’s what I want for my gift.”
HER: “You may want a hooker, too, but it’s not gonna happen.”
ME: “What if I hired the hooker to put up the Christmas lights?”
ME: “It’d be cheaper.”
ME: “I’m just sayin’.”
She stares at me for a moment.
HER: “There’s something really, really wrong with you.”
Don’t go through the torment of having to explain to your significant other why you thought a prostitute was a good replacement for a house-decorating company as I did. Ditch the lights. Save the marriage.
Anyway, if you believe in Christ and were afforded the opportunity to ask Him about it, I’m quite certain He wouldn’t care if you put up your Christmas lights this year.
Besides, He was a Jew. He didn’t celebrate Christmas.
I’m just saying.
TIP #3: STRESS REDUCTION PART TWO — Stay out of the shopping malls. Period!
Whether you’re a Conservative or Liberal, God and Al Gore collaborated on the invention of the Internet for a reason. Use it to your advantage. Do your holiday shopping online.
In a past life, I was a marketing director and assistant manager for a big regional mall in Florida’s Tampa Bay area. To this day, I can’t walk through a mall at Christmastime without picking chewing gum up off the floor of the mall concourse or sliding a store’s signage out of the common area back into its own rented space. I also go completely tharn within five minutes of being in a crowded, Christmas-decorated, holiday-music thundering shopping mall. My family usually has to take me under each arm and lead me back out into the parking lot.
I wish that were hyperbole.
Don’t be like me. Winding up mumbling through a shopping mall picking shit up off the floor, and then frenetically screaming how the center-court Santa’s beard is unrealistic while mall security drags you out by your feet as your children shed tears of humiliation atop your bleeding forehead is no way to spend Christmas.
TIP #4: KILL ALL FORMS OF COMMUNICATION — Pull the battery out of your smartphone. Unplug the landline phone. Dump your email with a highlight all, delete. Stay off social media. Hell, disconnect the Internet altogether. Communication with the outside world at Christmastime is just a barrage of folks you don’t want to hear from, companies selling you shit you don’t need or charities trying to play to your compassion in order to deprive you of your hard-earned cash. Be honest with yourself. This is one of those situations where it is abso-fucking-lutely worth throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Because for every family member or REAL friend with whom you’d like to chat or see during the holidays, there is an unfathomable onslaught of wankers out there trying to ruin your Christmas and make your life a living Hell with their inane bullshit.
Face it. You’d rather spend Christmas being shoved into an eternal Dutch-oven with the ass of Satan himself than waste one second of your life in the “It’s been so long!” and “For just pennies a day, you can help—” and “I bought you these stale Christmas cookies. Where’s MY present?” universe with a never-ending stream of dipshits donning red stocking caps.
Shut it all down and enjoy the silence in your brain whilst sipping on a nice, toasty cup of marshmallow-laden hot chocolate. Believe me; you won’t miss out on a damn thing. It’ll all build back up and be waiting for you after New Year’s.
And if you dare — DARE — to waste a moment of your life writing up and mailing holiday greeting cards, I’m going to hunt you down, shove mistletoe up your ass and twist you around like a candy-coated pretzel so you can kiss your own butt. And while you spend hours writhing in anguish in the time before I finally call an ambulance, I’m going to slowly savor eating each delectable piece of candy out of your stocking while you watch in horror.
Yes, I’ll call an ambulance … eventually.
I’m not a monster, you know.
TIP #5: STAY HOME! — Why in the name of all that’s O Holy Night would you travel for Christmas? Are you just a masochist? Is that it?
Paying the blackmail of the price-gouging airlines as they nickel-n-dime you for everything from a travel bag to a bag of peanuts is, well, nuts! Letting the TSA security-Gestapo scan your junk for their dick-n-vaj-themed Christmas party later that night doesn’t sound as if a whole lot of fun to me.
The train or the bus? You’re lucky if you make it over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house by Valentine’s Day.
Oh, and nothing says Christmas like battling our nation’s pothole-ridden highways listening to that “ka-thump ka-thump ka-thump” sound for mile after mile after godforsaken mile with the rest of the vehicular herd Wacky Racing along with you. Ah, I just can’t get enough of cold drive-through burgers and gas-station bathrooms that haven’t been cleaned since the Reagan administration. How about you?
So get into your comfy PJs, smoke a ton of cigarettes until you get a nice, raspy voice going, and then call the family to let them all know you’re sorry, but you’re too sick to travel this year.
Do this — ALL of this — and you won’t have to watch Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life to get into the holiday spirit. It actual WILL BE a wonderful life.
Now if you’ll please excuse me, I have to get out of here. I threw that damn Elf on the Shelf onto the Yule log in the fireplace and the toxic fumes from the roasting plastic are killing me.
© 2014 Joseph P. Buonfiglio All Rights Reserved.