Not as ranty as it seems.

Monday · December 05, 2005 · 11:18 PM

You’d be surprised the number of people that say “the holidays are upon us like a pack of rabid vampire-weasels, that bite with sharp pointy teeth and hold on until they’ve sucked the very lifeforce out of you.” Of course that’s too long, so they general just say “the holidays are upon us”.

And note that it’s plural. Holidays. That’s because they’re clearly ganging up on us, outnumbering your average family and threatening small children and animals. The thugs. It starts innocently with Columbus Day in October (which also happens to be my buddy Pete’s birthday, but I can ignore that occasion, heck he’s got a 94” TV, what could I possibly give him that he wouldn’t buy himself?).

As I was saying before the parenthetical run-on sentence (note that superfluous commas didn’t seem to help) it starts with Columbus Day and nobody really thinks about it, heck it’s a free day off for most people. There’s Halloween, which everyone thinks is exciting (except perhaps the diabetics, but we’re not politically correct to make that an issue). Occasionally an Election Day gets thrown in. Veteran’s Day, no big whoop.

And then the big one, Thanksgiving. Everyone eats too much, gets whacked out on tryptophan, and realizes it’s time to do their Christmas shopping. There’s some weird mass hypnosis that takes place and people think it’s okay to get up at 5am and fight the crowds at WalMart for a $15 DVD player. And I mean literally fighting, I went one year and there were elbows being thrown and kicking. It was terrible. I nearly broke a toe.

The news always calls it “Black Friday” and I can’t understand who named it that. The retail folks would probably call it “Green Friday”, the zombie-like mass of people purchasing things would have called it “Black and Blue Friday”. And now there’s an invented “Cyber Monday”, just to make things more interesting (at least we know who to blame for that one).

I usually start my shopping on December 24th. I have a well thought-out system that orders my list by when I’m going to see people, most of those folks won’t get their gifts until early next year. This lets me take advantage of the post-season sales (and gives me a great excuse to procrastinate). One trick to Christmas gift giving is to spend extra money on nice wrapping paper and make a personalized card. Always impresses people, no matter what the gift is (“the blender you gave us looks used, but this gift wrap appears to be Japanese rice paper!”).

Whew all that angst and I haven’t even gotten to New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure what’s worse – not having a date and going alone, or the New Year’s drunken drool-filled kisses. Although, truth be told, that pretty much sums up all of the parties I go to.