Christmas. I hate Christmas. I always have. And I don’t mean in that Seasonal Affective Disorder way. I mean, here I am in March and I’m dreading December. It consumes me. I’m always thinking: Oh…god. Christmas. Again.
Why doesn’t it alternate years? That’s the healthy way to do it. Christmas every second year. Give us time to recover and catch our breath.
It’s my family’s fault that I spend my days dreading Christmas. My family and their deep, deep, deep motherfucking well of anxiety and maudlin bitterness that even the more functional members bring to the table every year. The ones you think are normal never make it to the 24th before they’re turned into raving lunatics. The chore of trying to make Christmas work amidst the insanity and hatred of the family breaks people. It drags them down to the same level as the fuck-ups and, next thing you know, we’re all clustered together in a darkened room on Christmas morning, choking down some horrible undercooked garbage, and not speaking or looking at each other. Throwaway gifts are tossed around, all of them the sort of stuff you leave on the coffee table at the end of the morning or throw out with the wrapping paper. Someone starts crying about lost family members, or the bitter lot we’ve been dealt over the years. Blame is placed at the feet of the living and the dead, and tense farewells are made a short while later.
Christmas dinner becomes one, long alcoholic freakout as we try to forget what we witnessed earlier in the day. Year after year, no matter the number of gifts or the state of the family fortune, Christmas has always been a time of arguments, fistfights, tension, and stroke-inducing anxiety. Cold cuts and no coffee for breakfast, runny eggs and uncooked bacon on the side. Dark, vengeful angels spinning around us as if some undeserving Nazi has just opened the Ark of the Covenant in one of the spare bedrooms.
I’ve sworn to never spend Christmas with the family again.
One plan is to go spend Christmas with my friends in New Orleans or, if they’re away, spend it alone in their house with their pets, a bottle of tequila, and an Are You Being Served? boxset. Drop my phone in the toilet and just shut down. Which is easier said than done because their pets are crazy. Their dog thinks he’s the Queen of Sheba and their lunatic, limping cat constantly begs you to go out and buy it cigarettes. Seriously. I’ve tried to catch it on tape, but it’s always so unexpected and surprising that I’m never prepared. I’ll be sitting there, sipping tequila and tonic, vegging out, and then comes this purring voice in my ear. “Hey, you. Cat-sitter. Go out and get me a pack of Camels. Rrrrr.”
Then the dog comes in wearing a top hat, a monocle, and a frilly pink negligee, bends over and flashes me, then spins and starts tittering when I clear my throat. He’ll go, “Oooooh, myyyy… I didn’t know the doooogsitter was here! But since you are, how about you take me to the baaathroom and give me a shampooooo?”
“Nacho, can you show me on the Kong where the dog touched you?”
“Oh my god…oh my god…oh my god…”
“Alright! Alright! Everyone out. Let’s give him a few minutes.”
I’ve only had one good Christmas. England, 2007. 3000 miles away from my family. And, now, my dear friends over there have extended another invitation. This time including a Solstice tour of Stonehenge, which sounds better than it will be because Stonehenge is actually underwhelming.
Well, that’s not true. It’s underwhelming because you’re 50 feet away with the entire nation of Japan surrounding you and, if you step too close to the rope, you get maced by security. So, if I put on the druid robes or whatever the fuck it is you do, it’ll be much better. I can get up close and touch the concrete and rebar… I mean, the ancient stones themselves!
And, if I’m lucky, I’ll stumble and fall across the altar stone just as the Solstice does whatever it does and I’ll be teleported back in time 5000 years. And become lord of Atlantis.
I’ve planned it all out. I go everywhere with my “Lord of Atlantis” emergency kit: 17 smoke grenades, an Uzi, an airhorn, and a bag of Rolos. Everything you need to become ruler of the Earth if catapulted thousands of years into the past.
I just hope the Rolos don’t get crushed when I check that bag.