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My Holiday Rant

By Meghan
December 15th, 2011 - 4:13 PM

Meghan is a guest blogger. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of U-Pack, the blog.upack.com staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

So I was sitting around, shooting the breeze, talking about some of the craziest and most irritating Christmas traditions I've come across (or partaken in) through the years, and as I reminisced, it occurred to me that it would be a disservice to the world not to share my thoughts. So here you go; the ten most unusual, crazy, and irksome holiday happenings I can think of.

1. Christmas Sweaters. I used to sport the fashion on occasion. Okay, practically daily in December. But I usually chose tasteful and subtle numbers that weren't too flashy (and didn't actually flash) or jingle when I walked. I like to be festive. But then all of the spoil sports came along and decided they needed to have "Tacky Christmas Sweater" parties to try and end our so-called "madness." I think they just wanted a hip excuse to wear them too. Well, I took offense, and didn't participate. One, because none of my sweaters are "tacky" and two, I refused to go to a store and lay down a hefty wad of cash to buy one. (I was glad to see the resale shops were sticking it to the party goers though.) Now, I do agree that tacky Christmas sweaters exist. If anything is around long enough, someone always rolls out a tacky version of it. So I'm surprised the department stores still offer these knits. But I guess if the demand is there, they don't care if they're worn by the festive or the hipsters. 


Meghan's family

Photo Courtesy Meghan H. cannot be reprinted.

2. Outdoor Inflatable Decorations. They're cute, and I enjoy looking at them at night, all lit up in their jolly holiday spirit. But what I don't understand is the carnage that awaits in the light of day. Once the blowers are turned off, Frosty and Santa lay flat and crumpled upon the lawn, waiting for their shot of electricity once night falls again. Come on folks, nobody wants to see the air sucked out of Snoopy or Pooh on their way to work in the morning. You don't have to leave the light on all day, but couldn't you at least spring for the blower so they can be all Christmassy during the day and not just in the dark of night?  

3. Decorating Before Thanksgiving. Nothing irks me more than seeing Christmas decorations out before the turkey is even thawed. Come on folks, isn't it bad enough that Black Friday has turned into tryptophan hangover Thursday? Can't you wait until after Turkey Day to get out the old red and green? Now one exception to this rule came from a friend in Iowa. She posted on Facebook "I understand why you want to put your Christmas lights up in October before it is freezing, but you don't have to turn them on." If you are going to decorate for Christmas in September, at least do us a service and don't turn them on until Black Friday.

4. Santa Claus. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the big man in red, but if you really think about the whole thing, especially in our world today, it's kind of creepy, scary and strange.  He rides around in the sky in a sleigh, pulled by eight tiny reindeer, and on a foggy Christmas also led by one with a shiny red nose. He lands on the roof, somehow shimmies down the chimney, leaves presents, eats your food, evades your attack dog, gets back up the chimney and goes on to the next house. AND he makes it around the world in one night. AND he knows if you have been good or bad. AND we beg our kids to go to the mall and sit on his lap and tell him what they want so we can get a picture. If anybody besides Santa ever tried to do this around where I live, they would probably be shot and then questioned.


Santa Claus

Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. Mistletoe. It's a parasitic plant folks. Who ever thought it was a good idea to cut the parasite out of a tree (actually a good idea to try and help save it) and put it in your home for the holidays? Back in the olden days, they put a fresh sprig up every Christmas Eve and left it all year to protect the house from lightening and fire. They think some Scandinavians came up with the kissing notion. But only if it still has berries. I bet we've all been kissed by a few parasites in our lifetime but who knew you were kissing under it!

6. Christmas Cards with Pictures. A friend told me the other day, "By the way, I'm not doing Christmas cards this year. I am refusing to do it. Last year I pulled out the previous year's card and it looked exactly the same as the card I was looking at.  I couldn't tell which card was for which year—and I'm their mother!  The kids haven't changed, so nobody is getting a card. Besides, everyone sees my kids all year long, why do you need a pic at Christmas? I'm tired of trying to "keep up with the Jones'," and paying for the sitting fees. And by the way, you can't join me, you had a baby this year and your kids are young enough they change every year. They are so cute."  Or something like that. But she was right. It has turned into a bit of a competition and a lot of the spirit of the Christmas card is gone. So why do we do it?

7. Dirty, Naughty and Secret Santa. If played with good intentions, this game can be fun. But I have yet to be to one of these parties where one of two things didn't happen, and usually both. One, someone brings some junk they had stuck in the back of their closet or saved from the last party where they got the short end of the stick. Or two, a few people get a little too competitive and take things a little too seriously. While I like unloading junk as much as the next guy, I do try to take something that I think might be another man's treasure. But I usually end up in the crossfire for the coveted present at the party for the ladies at church even though I'm not that competitive . . . it's all in the strategy.

8. Fruitcake. Do I really need to explain this one? I have only met one person in my life that liked the stuff and hers was soaked in brandy. I have heard of fruitcakes that get passed around as a joke that are older than I and could do some serious damage if pitched through a plate glass window. I wonder if anyone has tried using fruitcake for skeet practice and if the bullet just glanced off . . .

9. Festivus (for the rest of us). Yes, this is a reference to the old Seinfeld episode where George's father introduces us all to the holiday. Now, I'm not sure if it originated there or if it was somewhere else. I never had the time to read the book on the subject. I just know my sister had a Festivus pole for a short period of time two years ago until she finally put the branches on her tree. No one participates in the feats of strength but we fairly regularly air our grievances.

10. Pickled Herring. Unless you're of Scandinavian descent, you may not have heard of this. My father is half-Norwegian, so my Irish mother discovered that some Scandinavians eat pickled herring on Christmas Eve for good luck. For as long as I can remember, we all stand around in the kitchen with little forks and take a bite out of the jar before adjourning to play games. When my husband first joined the family, he gave it the old college try, but just couldn't get it down. Between you and me, it's really not that bad; just dip it in a little sour cream sauce. I suspect we're really supposed to do this on New Year's Eve, but that's when we eat black eyed peas.

Though I've thought of a lot of them, I'm sure I haven't covered all of the irritating and unusual things that go on throughout the holidays. If you've got some of your own, leave a comment and tell me about it.