Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm...Dreaming...Of a Racially Pure...Christmas

I seriously love the holiday season--always have, always will. With all the hoopla about "taking the Christ out of Christmas" it's been harder to enjoy the things I love about it, which are, actually, its most heathen elements. I love wrapping paper, I love sucking candy canes into shivs, I love stuffing, and I love $1.29 multicolored lights from Target; any holiday that can combine these effectively while also giving me an excuse to swipe my new American Express card until it melts in my hands is so the most wonderful time of the year.

Jesus schmesus. Bring on the claymation.

The other day Brad and I had lunch at a diner down the street from where we work. The place was kind of decorated for the holidays; I think there was some garland and a menorah illuminating the ubiquitous CPR poster in its miraculous glow. The most important thing, though, was that the radio dial was firmly planted on whichever local station it is that plays nothing but Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Year's. Oh, and the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song like once a week. Which totally evens things out.

Anyway, I was about incisor deep in my chicken salad club when I heard the first tinny, AM strains of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. "This song makes me so sad," I exclaimed to Brad. When he failed to see the absolutely devastating message of the song, I was forced to expound.

"It's the little! Have yourself a merry little Christmas! Little!"

The song is obviously about dirt poor twenty-something trying to make it on her own in the big city because her parents have died and she has no family and she sings this song while decorating her scrawny Christmas tree with tinsel and paper ornaments and a star she made out of aluminum foil and cardboard and paste, not Elmer's Glue, but paste, a word no one even uses anymore, and a word only applicable now because the song obviously takes place in, like, 1951, and the girl is a secretary, and she left her office Christmas party early because she doesn't know anyone and would rather watch the snow through her window and pine for the days when she would spend the holidays in the embrace of her loving, wonderful, living kin.

"FROM NOW ON OUR TROUBLES WILL BE FAR AWAY! Because they're here all the time! We're just going to pretend they're not until they come tomorrow and evict us! In the meantime let's eat ONE BEAN AND ONE PIECE OF BREAD LIKE THAT MICKEY MOUSE CARTOON!"

Brad pointed out that, since he never noticed the elaborate and heartwrenching story, there is a minute chance that I could be, possibly, maybe just a little, out of my mind.

"It's in the third verse," I assured him.

Thinking about it now, it's amazing I like Christmas as much as I do. Because I was a somewhat dramatic child (my mother once caught me mournfully singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" out my window after she sent me to my room for an hour for punching my brother), I couldn't conceive of a holiday so full of togetherness without inventing an undercurrent of lonesome longing to complement it. I get presents and go to my grandparents' house and get along with my brothers long enough to plot militia-style infiltration of the living room present pile before dawn? Then I'll Be Home For Christmas is obviously sung by a dying World War II soldier whose legs have just been blown to cranberry sauce. "I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams."

Duh.

I'd like to think that with a little age I managed to gain the upper hand on my melodramatic side. On the way home from work that night it occurred to me that Silent Night is so talking about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Then I decided to add "even one iota of maturity" to the top of my Christmas list.

5 Comments:

Anonymous sarah dooley said...

actually! i had to comment about have yourself a merry little christmas, you are not far off at all, it is very very sad! because it's a world war II song and judy garland had them change the lyrics to make it less depressing- all the present tenses about having loved ones around are supposed to be future tenses, and the penultimate line is "until then we'll have to muddle through somehow"instead of "hang a shining star" etc. so it's about having a little christmas because your loved ones are off fighting in europe and the cranberry sauce legs and all. yep, anyway, this is what i do now- be totally pedantic.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said: "while decorating her scrawny Christmas tree with tinsel and paper ornaments and a star she made out of aluminum foil and cardboard and paste"

Now wait just a minute! MY star is made out of popsicle sticks! And I couldn't even afford tinsel, so there.
-Clare
PS: No, seriously. I made paper ornaments and a star out of popsicle sticks. It's ghetto-fabulous.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

And after Judy Garland finishes the song in "Meet Me in St. Louis", her little sister (in the movie) runs out and wails on the family of snowmen.

Obviously the message of the song tends to produce the opposite reaction in people.

Merry Rashachaunakwanzismas!

3:01 PM  
Anonymous anonymousmom said...

you crack me up

5:18 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

SARAHDOOLEY, hello! And thank you for proving that I am always right, even when I don't know I am.

3:34 PM  

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