There are no trees in this home, not true or faux. No stockings nailed into my wall. I had a menorah but it broke.
I was raised in a mixed house. Hanukkah was the appetizer with the cardboard pinball games, a pocket etch a sketch, the tropey gift of socks, and one time a baseball bat. We spun a dreidel, sang the only Hanukkah song that Adam Sandler didn’t write, and then, as the days went on, our celebration stopped, usually around day 4 or 5. Why? It simply ran out of gas, which is ironic if you know the true meaning of Hanukkah, but most don’t (or Christmas) so I’m just going to drop it now.
Now, while we were horrendous Jews, we did make up for it with a big damn Christmas. The tree, the family excursions, the pile of presents, which I have to think may have possibly included some of the remaining Hanukkah gifts re-wrapped and re-purposed. It was, to say the least, a big difference. In fact, I’m quite sure my mother was trying to program us, i.e. Jesus = Sega Genesis, Hanukkah Harry = a generic Wooly Willy that may or may not have had lead in it.
Things are a bit less Rockwellian now. As an adult, I have lost a bit of the glee and wonderment that I once held but it’s fine, because I have filled up the emptiness with bitchiness and other such anti-social behavior. I despise Holiday travel now, almost as much as I despise snow, (remember loving snow as a kid? Now it’s that shit you have to drive through, same principle) and I really only invite people to come to my house under threat of violence or fornication embargo.
We still always have a tree up (and by tomorrow night I will, a really small one that requires the least amount of effort and coin) and I, and my wife trade presents, small things, lovingly picked out or hastily thrown together, depending on the type of year its been.
The point is, they tell us the holidays are all about shared values and beliefs. Rituals, forced family fun, and stray smiles that cut through cynical shields to reveal themselves as a kid freaks out over a shiny bauble. The smiles you get from someone you care about. Not the polite one, or the “You bought me a car with a big shiny bow on top” glance, but something in the middle, something true and everlasting in the hidden away spots where we keep such things. That’s how it’s supposed to be, but fuck supposed to be.
The holidays can be a strange time where we are trapped in a house shaped cage with people we may or may not want to be around, our only escape routes drawn out as “get blitzed”, “scream”, or “stand out behind the shed and question the value of hypothermia versus cooking alongside your mother and having her sigh audibly every time you…do….anything.”
I’ve had presents thrown at me (not by my wife, and not in a jokey, tee-hee manner), I’ve seen fist fights break out in a store over those shiny baubles. I even had a person yell, “You don’t understand, I need vanilla pudding!!!” at me while I tried to stop her from entering a big box retailer that I once worked at well after we had closed on Christmas Eve.
You think that’s bad? One year around the holidays I sat in a friends living room at 5am, stuck in a Boone’s Farm haze as two friends discussed Lord of the Rings ad nauseum and my one friend’s stoned, half naked brother played a slow, rhythmic bongo drum. That’s the answer to the trivia question, “what’s Jason’s idea of hell” by the way.
In short, what the holidays are supposed to be, and what they are, never quite manages to sync up because, well, the world is an unbalanced ex-cheerleader pulling strings with a Pall Mall hanging out of her mouth and a smirk of satisfaction and resolved flatulence on her face.
So, maybe you’re planning a big family get together to make a holiday ham with an anxiety med chaser, maybe you’re alone, trainers kicked up waiting for Nerdist’s “Year in Review” and a plethora of Doctor Who on BBC America, or preparing to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on TV tomorrow night. Maybe you’re doing none of those things and instead focusing on something a little avant garde. Orgies, horror marathon’s, writing a poem about the solvency of a midget’s love, or finding the perfect place to bury that drifter you accidentally killed last night. Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it, be free from as much stress as you can be and try to make these days add up to something you can smile about down the road.
That’s my only bit of advice for believers and non-believers alike. So, from me, and the entire WeLoveCult.com staff…
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Written by Jason Tabrys (@jtabrys)
The former editor-in-chief, Jason still reappears in the rafters of our fair site from time to time but he now spends his days leaping from one place to another, trying to put right what once went wrong. You can still find his words across the toxic constellation that is the… More »
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