Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas: Oh come ON, Australia.

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I was one of those lame kids who totally gets in to the Spirit Of Christmas. Come Thanksgiving I was all head-high and grinning (lips closed of course--this was pre-toothal-rearrangement, mind you,) making hand-made Christmas cards and carefully selecting which flavors of Jelly Bellys I would arrange in clear plastic boxes from Cargo Hold for the two people I called friends in middle school. It was so pathetic that when I was 14 and still hadn't come out to my parents as An Official Non-Believer in Santa, my stepmother pulled me aside and said, 'I know maybe you're just accommodating your little brother and sister, but Santa really doesn't exist [she braced herself and squared my shoulders:] it's JUST ME AND DAD.'

I was embarrassed; clearly my enthusiasm had caused my parents to rethink whether I might actually be retarded. No, I didn't really still believe in Santa, but by now I believed in Mariah Carey's first album, and that was enough to make me happy even as I was realizing that Michigan was not a romantic place to be for drama queens like me. I also didn't want to get less presents in the event that I did confess to knowing the truth. Anyway, like a normal teenager, I quickly discovered hatred for most things around me, and so the Spirit of Christmas evaporated, like bong smoke on a windy day.

My spirit was renewed, however, upon visits to Chicago in my late teens, and to New York in my early 20s. The cities boasted big Northern trees in their central squares—20-foot Norwegian furs, stacked with tasteful Christmas bling and nestled in an attractive depth of snow (holy shit I should write Pottery Barn catalogs). People bustled on Michigan and Fifth Avenues, shopping and pretending to look fucked off but secretly enjoying the dramatic and romantic vapor that reminded them of familiar movies.

Let me restate that I'm a total drama queen, and that a lot of the time I was herding through the masses in New York I had just had a pot brownie or had slipped Jamesons in my latte to help warm the walk. Like, that explains the stoned euphoria. But still. It was something.

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So when they put this tree up every year in City Square in Melbourne, I just have to audibly sigh. Why are the tourists taking pictures of this thing? It is to make fun of it, right? You're not actually thinking this is what Christmas looks like, right?

Then they put these cheese-butt banners up on the major streets that say "Christmas" in whimsy bullshit lettering, to remind you that while you're sweating and getting skin cancer in this harsh Australian sun, you should suspend your belief long enough to think of Santa, snow, the North Pole, roast turkey, wool sweaters, extra blankets and milk. But the problem is just thinking about that shit when it's 85 degrees WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU VOMIT.

I say: just give it up. Stop calling it Christmas and just make it Presents and Lobster Day. Gifts n' Grog. Whatever. You're just making the rest of us reminisce for the days of Mariah*.

*Vision of Love was a good album, shut up.


Colleen said...

Warm places just can't do Christmas right. Sorry! It's sad. You need snow. MANDATORY SNOW or at minimum, potential for snow!

Feargus said...

U have a wonderfully wicked eye for the truth, and a delightfully cruel turn of phrase...really happy you are persisting with this blog. Looking forward to more commentary on the wide brown land (where none of us go, as we all cling to the thin green strip on the side).