10.) Christmas lights- Christmas lights are a white elephant eye candy special of December (and for some crazy people, the timeline is November 1st till whenever the snow melts). It’s far too much work to untangle the lights, climb up a shaky ladder, and pay a pretty penny on your electric bill, all to make your house the flashiest one in the neighborhood. So you decide against it. Of course, when you do that, all the neighbors have fun, blinking lights are strewn around the windows and lawn, and you’re the Scrooge of the neighborhood for having the darkest house on the block.
9.) Christmas trees- What’s more fun than spending precious time with your beloved family members, and picking out arguably the most important detail of Christmas? Well, anything, really. If you buy a fake tree, though it may be cheaper and last longer, all you can think about is “We’re not doing it right!” You throw out the fake tree one year to go buy the real deal. Then, you remember why you didn’t like the damn “real deal”; you’re out in the freezing cold for hours, looking at a bunch of trees that all look the same. “Will this one be short enough to fit in the house?” your mother worries. Dad responds with a confident, “Of course!” as he beams at the 7-foot-tall tree (your ceiling barely reaches 6’5”). Your younger sibling whines because this tree isn’t the same as the other tree, which is so much better than the tree Mom wants, etc. Eventually, you guys make a decision, and then you have to tie it to the top of the car, pine needles and sap covering everything. All throughout the month, pine needles litter the living room floor, and you have to be extra careful not to let the tree catch on fire and burn your whole house down. So next year, you buy another fake tree.
8.) The rush- Holy crap, where did the week go? For those that countdown the days till Christmas since Thanksgiving, it can’t come soon enough. But when you look at it from a busy person’s viewpoint, it’s just a little over three weeks to get your stuff together. Whether its work or school, projects are a plenty as you try to get it done before the holidays. And if you’re a singer, forget about free time. It’s just one performance after the next, because everyone wants to hear the same Christmas carols from every year, every day. You have next to no time to get your holiday shopping done and your gifts wrapped. Sorry Grandma, you’re getting an I.O.U.
7.) Christmas. Songs. - Ah, the earworms of the late year. Every year, every day. I may praise your vocals, Mariah Carey, and belt your song at least once a year, but I don’t need to hear it after every three songs on the radio. And in the mall. And when my sister plays the CD in the car every day. And on Spotify. By the time the New Year comes, I don’t want to ever hear “Jingle Bells” again. Or, at least, not till December.
6.) Secret Santa/Yankee swap- I love my friends as much as the next person, and love spending time with them. But Yankee swaps and secret Santa parties? They're fun and all, but confusing as hell. For secret Santa, you're assigned a person to buy a gift for, which they don't know that it's you, and someone unknown is buying you a gift. I hope you have good faith in your friends. Yankee swap has everyone pull a number, and I'm order choose from the pile of gifts, but the last number can choose a gift that someone else already has. Once again, better have good faith in your friends. Just another reason to be stuck going to a crowded mall during the holidays.
5.) Traffic- Let’s keep this one short and simple: Anything that encourages more people to be on the roads is something miserable
4.) The guilt- One of the token feelings of the holidays isn’t joy or unity, but disappointment. Ever opened a gift and it’s not what you wanted? You just keep grinning and say, “Thanks Uncle, I love my present!” Then you realize that you’re an ungrateful, rotten child for being disappointed and lying. Guilt for Christmas is worse than any pile of coal that Santa leaves.
3.) Awkward family dinners- It’s one of the few times within a year that the whole family is together to celebrate and break bread together. But there’s a reason you don’t do it often. Maybe the men drink and yell at the football game too much, the food is subpar, the younger cousins, with their picky appetites, kick chairs and whine all throughout the meal. And the interrogation is humiliating. No, Auntie, I don’t have a boyfriend. No, Auntie, I’m not driving yet. No, Auntie, I didn’t get accepted into Yale. Can I just go home and sleep now? My sister woke me up at 6 a.m. to open presents, even though I worked late last night. Also, if politics are brought up at the table, you might as well write your will then and there.
2.) Gift shopping- The mall is such a pretty place during the holidays. Giant ornaments hanging from the ceiling, lights everywhere, a mall Santa that some toddler is crying over because Mom wants a picture, really great sales on this one item you could use--oh, wait, it’s gone already. If you’ve always fantasized to be trampled to death like Mufasa from the Lion King, then the mall during December is just for you. Crowds of people moving too slow, crowds of people running you over, messy piles of clothing that have already been picked over by the clearance-vultures, what’s not to love? Yet you’re forced here, like everyone else, to buy some gifts for your loved ones (they better feel loved now), spending half an hour just trying to find a parking space. Nothing better than working your butt off all week only to blow it all on presents that you can only hope is what little Suzy wanted for Christmas. I’m sorry Salvation Army, I don’t have any change left, I just broke the bank for my parents’ presents.
1.) Working. In. RETAIL.- This one takes the cake, all right. You didn’t like shopping at the mall during the holidays, so you sure as hell won’t like working there. You’re already exhausted from the day, but now you get to punch in, slip on that lanyard, and prepare for all sorts of shenanigans. The line for the registers is never ending. The floor is a complete mess, merchandise sprinkled all up and down the aisles. You’re stocked up on ugly Christmas sweaters, yet there’s more to put on the overflowing racks. The display table that you’ve just spent a half hour fixing is already a mess again, in less than 5 minutes. Every customer is overtired, cranky, and breathing a sense of entitlement. The children are screaming and running around, unaccompanied. The lost customers glare you down when you say you’re out of stock of something. Once you’re on the registers, the line doesn’t necessarily go down. Ever. And the customers are all blaming you for that. “Would you like to open a credit--” “NO.” Hundreds of dollars are dropped on a purchase, and once it’s wrapped up you give your best faked smile, “Thank you! Have a great night! Happy holidays!” and get nothing but a grumble in reply. Never mind trying to figure out returns when there’s no price tag, nor receipt. Whatever, the store’s closing in five minutes, so you’ll be out soon… until that one person comes in saying, “What do you mean you’re closing at 10? That’s too early!” At least I won’t be here forever.
At least Christmas Day may make all this worth it. Maybe.