Every Christmas, after the presents and the dinner and the movies and the free-flowing nog, I want to go sit in a room full of radios, tuned to every station on the FM band, and just wait. I imagine they’d all be playing Christmas music, because, after all, pretty much the only reason to have a radio between October and December 25th is so you can check if Christmas is still coming up. If you turn on the radio and you hear campy songs, almost all of which involve snow, you’re in good shape.
I want to sit in that room full of radios, all blasting Christmas music, and wait for the moment when all the station managers hit the big red button that says ‘STOP PLAYING CHRISTMAS MUSIC’, and they all switch from playing songs about goodwill and harmony and snow to regular songs about doing drugs and fucking chicks, which, let’s be honest, are certifiably better, morality be damned.
Does it happen at midnight, when the 25th becomes the 26th? Do other stations stop earlier? Do some lone holdouts continue past midnight, desperately trying to cling to as much Christmas as possible? Do they have to turn two keys simultaneously, like launching a nuclear missile? Is there a big to-do about it, like the closing ceremony of the Olympics, or does it just seamlessly switch over from ‘Feliz Navidad’ to ‘Like a G6”?*
*This applies mostly in Eugene, where every commercial radio station has the same four song mix tape, and two of the songs are ‘Like a G6.’ (It’s a bunch of people rapping about airplanes, Dad.)
When I was a kid, I, like all kids everywhere, hated December 26th. My birthday and Christmas were once again light years away, and I had nothing to anticipate except for returning to school in January. Fischer-Price could market that feeling of hopeless dejection and call it My First Hangover.
Right now, though, I’m loving my December 26th. I walked downstairs this morning and the radio was playing ‘Smoke on the Water,’ which, no matter how you slice it, isn’t a Christmas song. Hell, after six weeks of hearing ‘Frosty the Snowman’ covered by every artist under the sun, I probably would’ve wept openly if I heard a Lady Gaga song – and my tears probably wouldn’t turn into blood until at least the second chorus!
TV will be back soon, and when it is the detectives won’t be investigating murdered Santas and the happy go lucky sitcom types will be able to move on with their lives, having now discovered the True Meaning of Christmas. My parents and I can watch movies without feeling obligated to pick something with a Christmas theme. People everywhere will stop wearing Santa hats.
I don’t hate Christmas – I’m just not as patient with it as everyone else. Up until about December 10th it’s all good fun, but a major holiday can only invade every aspect of your life for so long before you start wishing for everything to go back to the way it used to be.
When I was younger it wasn’t like this, because when I was younger the things that I wanted were tangible and usually within my parents’ price range. Back then there were broad categories of things that I wanted: Basically anything with ‘Lego’ written on it, or any video game with guns in it, or any movie with an explosion on the cover. The massive buildup to Christmas was intense and glorious for me as I watched the presents pile up under the tree and tried to anticipate what I was getting. The movies and the music and the Christmas specials were all just signposts on the road to getting all that stuff, and I welcomed them.
Now, though, I’m a grown up, and there are only three things I want in the whole world:
1) For Taco Tuesday to be every night.
2) A job in the entertainment industry.
3) Christina Hendricks.
I can ask for them all I want, but my chances of getting them were just as good as my chances of getting the Little Tykes motorized jeep that I asked for every year between 1992 and 1997. Back then, it was my parents’ own common sense preventing me from getting what I wanted. Now it’s the economy and several state and federal laws regarding kidnapping.
It’s a difficult thing, trying to write a comedy blog update about how glad you are Christmas is over, because I know loads of people my age and older who go absolutely ape shit for this holiday starting in September, and I’d hate for any of them to think that I’m dissing them or that I’ve missed out on the True Meaning of Christmas.
Because I feel like I do know what Christmas is all about, and I appreciate and celebrate that, but I’m so damn good at it that I can get all my appreciating and celebrating done faster than the rest of the Western world, and then I’m just sitting there at the finish line, looking at my watch and wishing they’d quit playing fucking ‘White Christmas’ on the radio.
Truman Capps wishes he could just watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at Christmas as well as Thanksgiving.