Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Twas the Day After Christmas

'Twas the week after Christmas and all through the Strait, all the parents and shoppers like me celebrate. "Why so late?" you might ask. "Why the lengthy delay? All the good stuff is over. Why, it's Boxing Day!"
Now don't get me wrong, 'cause I'm far from a Grinch. I have kids, so I have to give more than an inch. My village is out, all my Christmas cards sent, and God knows a truckload of money's been spent. The manger scene sits there, as well as the tree; yes, that 'ol Martha Stewart has nothin' on me. While it sounds picturesque, and while some parts were fun, you're looking at one girl who's glad it's all done.
And so why am I so glad the season is over?
Quite simple.
It's because it starts in October.
Not all "big days" hang there like this Christmas loomed. By the time Halloween came, I knew I was doomed. I went to the mall, and much to my chagrin, there were Santas where all of the costumes had been. And what of the candy? Where'd all of that go? Instead there were aisles full of lights and fake snow. And then, to my horror, the loudspeaker hurled a cheery rendition of "Joy to the World". I just wasn't ready, that's all there was to it. I nearly picked up a glass reindeer and threw it! I wanted to ask them, "what's with all the rush?", as the shelf-stockers stocked shelves with stockings of plush. But it was too late, 'cause the ball was now rolling. The shoppers were thrilled with the aisles they were trolling.
And so it began, the hypnosis of cheer, when smart people are turned into zombies each year. It's just like a movie, to watch it take place. Every single thing changes; it's quite a disgrace. Suddenly shopping turns into a job, costing three times as much, in the midst of the mob. We fill up our carts with a big goofy smile, and the big wigs are laughing at us all the while. It's the flip side where things become really quite sad, when we, young and old, start behaving so bad. Sweet little old ladies, so gentle at heart, become monsters who will run you down with their cart. To get the last Bratz doll (for which he'll overpay), a father will hip-check you out of the way. The workers are short, as they look on the shelf, and may very well tell you to "find it yourself". And just when you think that things couldn't get worse, when you're sure you'll end up in the back of a hearse....with your two kids in tow, maybe even your Grandma - you remember you have to go to Dollarama. With that single thought, down your cheek rolls a tear. Is there anywhere worse to be this time of year? If there is, I can tell you that I haven't found it. Whenever we leave there, one of my kids are grounded.
Long gone are the days where the kids want some blocks, or a new Crazy Carpet, or navy-blue Crocs. Instead, when they make it up on Santa's knee, they ask for a laptop and Playstation 3. We buy mine nice presents, both me and my spouse, but nothing requiring us to mortgage our house.
Then how 'bout the grand event of Christmas dinner? That thing should be outlawed, it makes you no thinner. You all get together, your uncles, your brother, the whole bunch, pretending to all like each other. You've gained 15lbs and when meal time has passed, you're still faced with those dirty dishes, en masse.
And let's not forget the big night at the school. Part of me wants it cancelled, there should be a rule, or at least a good system to get us all through it. I really don't know how all those teachers do it. The kids are so cute, as they're singing their song - too bad the whole concert is nine hours long. It might sound quite scroogy, but between you and me, there isn't a parent who doesn't agree.
So here we are now, at the end of the season. If I seem a bit chipper, you now know the reason. I so don't hate Christmas, don't get that impression, I just understand why it leads to depression. As soon as the novelty wears off, we're fine, but while we're in the zone, we're all losing our minds. Once the garland and glitter is out of the stores, once the grandiose visions seep out of our pores, once the great expectations have all came and went, we'll be back to ourselves and preparing for Lent. Please take this short story and try to remember - here's hoping next year it won't start in September.