Thursday, December 07, 2006

Holidays in the US

The holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving just past and Christmas coming up. I really like the holidays. I'm just not fond of the way people in the US celebrate them. Here's my take on the holidays:

Thanksgiving: the US celebration of gluttony and excess. I know it's supposed to be a time when we reflect on all that we're thankful for but be honest. Nobody I know actually does this. Instead, it's a day of relatives getting together to eat way too much food and watch football. I'll readily plead guilty to the first but I never watch football.

Hannukah: a Jewish holiday that's actually not one of the major ones. But because it usually falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, marketing folks have decided to give it a status that's not actually befitting of it. Yom Kippur, Passover and Purim are much bigger.

Christmas: the grandest celebration of American excess. Although it only marks one single day on the calendar, it actually starts sometime in late September. Don't believe me? Next year, note the first day you start hearing Christmas music in the mall or start seeing ads for some kind of Christmas CD or the like. It goes into full swing a week before Halloween (Santa and jack o'lanterns in the same store make for an amusing juxtaposition). After Halloween, it gets insane. Most of the madness is driven by retailers who have done so poorly the rest of the year due to high prices, poor service, etc., that they have to make up for it during the last two months of the year. Incidentally, ever go shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving? I did it once. Never again!

While on the subject of Christmas shopping, just try to get one of the hot ticket items for Christmas. I'm currently on the prowl for a Wii but I'm having no luck at all. A local chain toy store (you know the one... backwards R and all) has managed to get them in two or three at a time with no reservations. And I see it with the Playstation III and some Elmo toy that's supposed to be all the rage this year. If Scrooge were in the modern world, he'd probably revert to being the curmudgeon he was before the visitation and if the spirits showed up again, he'd probably dispatch them with a DustBuster.

New Year's Eve/Day: the stupidest holiday in history. I'd completely hate this holiday but I can't completely hate anything that gets me a day off work. But what's the point of the New Year's celebration? "Oh, goody! We get a new calendar! Let's get obnoxiously drunk, stay up late, make lots of noise to keep the neighbors awake then tomorrow, we can resolve to be better people over the upcoming year despite the fact that we'll spend the next 365 days doing the same stupid stuff we did before!"

Some people say that the New Year is a time for new beginnings. Kids, if you don't see each day as a time for new beginnings, you need to take a closer look at your life.

Happy holidays!


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