Friday, October 7, 2011

"Die, Childlike Sense of Wonder, Die!" - The dark side of the Holidays

   Every year, retail tries it's hardest to kill my childlike love of Christmas. I love the Holiday season, probably more than is healthy for someone my age. I can't help it, I love the music, the smells, the food, the emotions... (not the real ones like Resentment and Jealousy, but the ones in the movies, like Love and Selfless Joy). I spend October through December obsessively collecting harvest scented candles and pumpkin-pie recipes. I pretend to be annoyed by the carols blasting over the loud speaker all day and then hop in my car and sing a-long to them all the way home.
   But this week blatant and unrepentant materialism tried it's darnedest to kill the child in my soul.

    It started early in the morning with a migraine and the horrifying discovery of an empty shelf where the espresso should be. On a regular day I can handle these things with some semblance of decorum but today also happened to be Christmas Freight day.
   You see, the retail world runs on a different schedule than the rest of us and not even baby Jesus himself can seem to keep up. This means that for us the Christmas season pushes it's way into our lives on October 1st and makes our stockroom resemble Santa's post-earthquake workshop before regular people have even had a chance to pick out a Halloween costume.
    So I faced a day of unloading boxes of items like this:
That's right, it's a toilet seat cover. Because everyone want's to tinkle on Santa.

             .........with no coffee and a throbbing head-ache. These items don't trickle in over the course of several months either. Instead they all arrive on one day and you suddenly find yourself faced with a stockroom that looks like a reindeer ate some elves and then crapped glitter all over the place. Even for someone who loves the Holidays, it's a hard thing to take.
     Even Hanukkah tries it's darnedest to get in on the misery. I'm not very familiar with all of the history involved with this Holiday, but if I had to piece it together based solely on the items we sell in our store, I'd say it has something to do with tacky LED candles and the worshiping of Dreidels. 
    It doesn't help that roughly 98% of my co-workers are already shamelessly bitter about the Holiday season. I can hardly blame them for this. Even thinking about the abuse that I have taken on past Christmas Eve's from the woman who holds me personally responsible for running out of mini cupcake makers, or the gentleman who thinks I should already know the perfect gift for his estranged son, makes me want to hide out and not show myself till February.

     This week almost broke me. After nothing but negative rants about the Holidays from every person you talk to, and being faced with the undeniably tacky decorations that we manage to convince the public they simply must have, it's hard to keep that childlike sense of wonder.
       It was in the middle of listening to my boss rant about how stupid and pointless Christmas is and wading through our stockroom trying not to trip over items like this:
"Hey kids, if you love Santa so much, why don't you eat him?"

Or, if you're Jewish:
The blessed dreidel.
   ... that I finally had to agree that as far as retail is concerned, the Holidays just aren't that great. Capitalism and consumerism have almost ruined the whole thing for me, and I suddenly understand why other people hate it so much. Starting in October, retailers start pushing you to buy tons of crap in the name of Santa and/or The Almighty Dreidel. It's hard to find the joy in that.
   So I settled on the age-old sentiment popularized by losers and turncoats: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em".
   I still love the Holidays and, outside of work, will continue to revel in the season. I will continue to watch movies like Prancer and bawl my eyes out, and will unabashedly indulge in binge-caroling while peer pressuring friends to join in.
  But at work I'm just going to go ahead and Grinch it up. I can't take the pressure of assuming the role of Cindy-Lou Who. I'm just not that strong, and besides, who can truly love the holidays every minute while simultaneously listening to this:

......over and over....and over...and over again, all day long. About twelve of them. All singing at once. 
With Back-up singing by this guy:

From now until January.

                    *For the full effect, play both videos at the same time. Then open this page in 12 new windows and press play on all the videos. It's like singing in a round on cocaine!