Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Try hanging up and slamming your hand in a drawer

Last year was the first year I have ever voluntarily participated in having a Christmas tree in my home. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas trees, because I do. I think they’re relatively pretty in their own way and I recognize that some people spend a lot of time and money making things twinkle and sparkle. And I will fully admit that I like they way they look, all lit up and glittery, through frosty windows in mid-December. It’s just that it was always an awful lot of effort, not to mention fundage, to get one of those things up.

The one-bedroom apartment I shared with two other people (no matter how expensive rent is, NEVER DO THIS) in New York didn’t have room for an extra coffee cup, much less a Christmas tree, but somehow my roommates found a way to cram it almost underneath the spiral staircase. This annoyed me to no end, seeing as how each and every morning as I stumbled down the staircase, bleary eyed and fuzzy haired, the tree made it it’s joy in life to scrape my legs with it’s stupid stubbly plastic green branches. It snagged my pants and tickled my feet and while I might be able to forgive you for snagging my pants, I cannot forgive you for tickling my feet. And so I spent two months with that green monstrosity hulking in the stairwell corner, doing nothing so much as reminding me exactly how much I hated my roommates.

The next tree came a year later, in the apartment on Broadway I shared with my old college roommate. Kasi is much more of the seasonal decorator and while I didn’t heartily object to her putting up a tree, I sure didn’t offer to help, either. I’d just gotten Llama five months before, the first addition in what would later become the collective entity of The Demonspawn, and he took great pride in worming his wee little runty kitten body up the center of the tree and knocking it over. I even once saw him take a flying leap from mid-living room, launching himself directly onto the middle branches with front and back legs spread akimbo. This was reason enough for me not to participate in the decorating because anything I put up was just going to be knocked over, plus people with no money shouldn’t spend it on useless things like ornaments. They should spend it on gas and cigarettes.

Then came the Year of Living With My Brother. Needless to say we did not decorate at all, because we have exactly the same views on decorations. Can you eat it? No. Can you fix something with it? No. Can it get you to a specific destination? No. Only my mother came to visit around the first of December and brought some random cast-off decorations for us to use, which really only served to emphasize the fact that Matthew had cooked a pound of bacon three nights before and yet again left all the cooking accoutrements strewn about the kitchen. But look! There is a garland above the door! Pay no attention to the smell of rotting pig flesh!

So last year I made my first attempt at seasonal decorating. I purchased a fake tree that looked decidedly better in the store, seeing as how the store person probably had many years of tree-fluffing experience while I was unaware that branch fluffing had to occur until my neighbor pointed it out. I purchased the cheap ornaments from Wal-Mart because I wasn’t quite ready to commit to this decorating crap and why spend $4.99 per ornament when I can buy a box of 50 for ten dollars. Unfortunately I later learned that cheap ornaments = nasty glass shards all over wood floor. I spent the month of December sweeping up colorful broken crap. Not cool.

All of this has been a very long lead-in to the real story, the one that involves me being totally perplexed by the strangeness of the human race and one of my co-workers and his recent move. In standard office conversation I found out that he had over one-hundred boxes of personal items that the movers picked up over the weekend. Of those one-hundred boxes, three of them contained his Christmas Village.

“Christmas Village?” I asked. “What the hell is a Christmas Village?”

Three pairs of eyes turned on me, expressing such shock and dismay you’d have thought I said something about draining the blood from small woodland creatures and nursing helpless infants with it.

As it turns out, several people in the office actually have these Christmas Villages. One woman has a Village so elaborate it takes no less than ten days to set it up. My coworker has one that comes with a little train that runs around the village. There are little teeney tiny figurines you can buy to make it look like your Christmas Village is full of happy, rosy-cheeked individuals. They buy special tables and set them up in their living rooms and foyers and guest bedrooms, all so they can have creepy Beetlejuice-esque town replicas full of tiny snow covered buildings and spindly street lights and you know what, I bet they make animatronic versions of these Village things and THIS KID DOES NOT DO ANIMATRONICS.

I’m not judging anyone because I’m sure there are people out there who totally don’t get why a woman who finds it acceptable to buy pants from Old Navy finds it unacceptable to purchase shoes that have a starting point of less than two hundred dollars. Right this very second, the shoes on my feet are worth more than my pants, my top, AND my earrings. So I get that people spend money on things that maybe don’t make sense to others. But these are shoes, people. You walk in shoes. They get you places, plus, they’re wicked cute. But the ultimate function is still there. Christmas Villages? Um, what the hell? They just sit there. And collect dust. And your kids and pets and stupid neighbors probably knock shit over all the time. This isn’t like a pretty picture that sits on your wall all year long. This is something that’s not only useless, but you look at it for one month out of the entire year.

Thank you but I’ll stick with my penchant for expensive shoes, rather than purchasing strange mini-replicas of a Dickens Utopia Snowy Townsville.


Adam said...

America is crazy.

Australia is also crazy but not as advanced.

Are there any countries where Christmas is only celebrated by a nod of the head to passerbys?

Sean Carter said...

It gives me great pleasure to share the magic of Christmas, as this is the most awaited one from the beginning of the year. Rather than being happy over a new born year, I usually end up spending all my energy imagining about yet another Christmas that I shall be celebrating in a better way than the one i did the previous year. Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and some unique ideas

Carl from L.A. said...

ok, I'm guilty.

We have maybe five boxes of Christmas decorations, one box of Halloween stuff, one box of Easter/Valentines Day stuff, and a small box for Chinese New year.

And I think pets are a waste of money.