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The three hells of Christmas

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‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And stressed.

Jolly and stressed. Kinda gives you an added insight into the mass hysteria that might just lead large segments of the population into that whole donning gay apparel scene, doesn’t it? Do you realize at this point in history, with the actual meaning and etymology of the word gay lost to the vortex of popular culture, there is a whole generation of children who’ve grown up very, very confused about whether they really should be engaging in such activities as decking halls with boughs of holly or messing around with Yuletide carols? And if they do, whether they should be wearing exclusively Tommy or perhaps something kinkier? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Come to think of it, there has always been, at least for me, a lot of unsettling imagery in Christmas carols. For about half a year in Grade 4 geography I furtively scoured maps of the world looking for Orient Are. Or was that Orient R? Couldn’t be sure. Never found it.

I can’t begin to describe the discomfort I felt with the idea of giant snowmen suddenly coming to life. Maybe I had trouble separating snowmen from Frankenstein but I figured it wasn’t a very good thing when inanimate objects wrought by human hands suddenly spring to life. An irrational fear of marauding snow toughs was way scarier than even the idea that some animals’ noses might really light up.

All this was made worse by neighbours across the street who filled a jukebox they owned with carols and hung a speaker outside their house every festive season. Visions of malevolent snowmen, quaking shepherds, three wise guys, tiny tots with glowing eyes, psychedelic reindeer and mommy kissing Santa Claus hounded me as I tried to block them out and fall asleep. I can still hear the jingle bells and they make me crazy. And here’s a little advice, if anyone ever offers you a chestnut roasted on an open fire, take the fruitcake instead.

We all have our own Christmas boogies. That’s why "Christmas" is always listed on stress tests, right alongside birthdays. They’re twin traumas none of us can completely dodge during the course of a year. The key is how we cope to live and play another day.

Since newspapers and magazines are chock-a-block this time of year with cutesy stories on how to survive the perniciousness that is Christmas, it seems only right I weigh in on the subject. After all, Christmas in Whistler isn’t exactly like Christmas in, say, Moose Jaw.

The three hells of Christmas seem to revolve around what we eat, what we spend and with whom we celebrate. Some people think the worthwhile goal is to get through the holidays without gaining weight. Those people are idiots. The whole idea behind Christmas is to eat and drink as much as humanly possible while striving mightily to avoid drunk tanks, road blocks and buttons that pop so hard somebody loses an eye. If Christmas wasn’t about excess, fitness centres wouldn’t have January specials. It’s as simple as that.

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