Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say ”BLAARGH!”
This week: Annoying Holiday Traditions
The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year, and I’m a big fan of it, but just like any longstanding holiday, there are some traditions associated with it that are outdated, puzzling, and, in some cases, just plain irritating. The following are the four Holiday traditions that bring out the Scrooge in me.
Overly Elaborate Lights Displays - Like any good American, I love seeing bright, multi-colored lights at Christmastime, but only if they are tastefully displayed. Alas, this is a country where a major percentage of the people don’t understand the concept of “less is more.” Just because you have the means to cover every square inch of your house with bright twinkling lights doesn’t mean you have to. Every neighborhood seems to have at least one house that has so many lights on it that it can be photographed from space. Many of the people who decorate their houses in this manner also see fit to cover their lawn with assorted iridescent abominations like glowing Santas, huge inflatable snowmen, creepy glowing reindeer with moving heads, and huge glowing Nativity scenes (because everyone knows that Baby Jesus could glow in the dark, right?). Many of these displays are not cheap and are put out on the lawns of some pretty good sized houses, which leads me to believe that some of the people who put them out want to show how much money they can blow on their power bill every December. It’s enough to make me want to rearrange their display into something like this:
That’ll earn them some points with the Homeowners Association for sure.
Mistletoe - What began as a Scandanavian Christmas tradition loosely based on a Norse myth has degenerated into an excuse for drunk idiots to harass girls at Christmas parties. The tradition is quaint and cute enough, in which a branch of the mythical shrub is hung on top of a doorway and makes whoever is standing under it entitled to a kiss. This tradition is rarely practiced, at least among strangers, but no one seems to have told that one guy at every party standing right under the mistletoe and looking longfully at the female partygoers – or the guy who sees fit to place a sprig of it in front of his pants. Hey, genius…if someone kisses you under the mistletoe, it’s probably because they already know you and at least like you a little, and standing under the mistletoe is not a shortcut to physical intimacy. It’s a plant, not a roofie. Most of these guys are just using this tired tradition to be dicks, so I think it’s time to just chuck this practice altogether.
The first two rants were directed not so much at the things themselves but rather at how they are used. The last two entries, however, list two so-called food items that for some reason keep popping up every holiday season and then disappear from shelves on December 26th. I’m talking, of course, about the unholy duo of Fruitcake and Egg Nog.
Fruitcake - To paraphrase comedian Jim Gaffigan, fruitcake combines two good things, fruit and cake, to make what is quite possibly the most inedible baked good in human history. I defy anyone to identify a single fruit in a single slice of fruitcake, as every slice I’ve ever attempted to eat tasted like they were filled with stale jellybeans. Some fruitcakes are soaked in rum, which may account for its continued popularity, but…c’mon, if you’re buying a cake solely for its alcohol content, then you clearly need help. I have yet to meet a single person who enjoys this sorry excuse for a dessert, and its continued popularity just leads me to believe that they are used to smuggle drugs, because even dogs want nothing to do with fruitcake.
Which brings us to our final Christmas tradition, Egg Nog. After a heavy holiday meal of turkey, stuffing, and copious amounts of cookies, cake, and pie, what better way to cap dinner off than with a beverage made of milk, cream, sugar, and raw, beaten eggs? You’re not too far off from drinking pancake batter at this point. Egg nog is traditionally served with liquor added to it, but I’m still puzzled as to what makes people want to raise their cholesterol by twenty points just so they can get their drink on. No one should drink raw eggs unless they are training to take on Apollo Creed. And people wonder why there’s a health care crisis in this country.
Despite these minor annoyances, this is still the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday traditions have changed and evolved over time, and these traditions must appeal to some if they have stayed around this long. One of the great things about the holiday season is that everyone celebrates in his or her own way and can come up with their own traditions, even some that are as puzzling as the ones listed above. However you intend to ring in your December holiday of choice, have a safe and happy one.