The problem with Christmas

Edward Gorey represents one side of a sinister season.

The problem with Christmas is: The two sides of my personality are arrayed against one another in hand-to-hand, bloody red and money-green-colored combat. On one hand, I revel in movies about sorority houses being invaded by murderous Santas– Krampus is my spirit animal of the season, not Rudolph. On the other hand, I am recording Rudolph tonight on T.V. and have switched my radio to 106.7, the all-Christmas station. Don’t even get me started on Hallmark Christmas movies!

Holiday Hell
Consumerism is a many-headed snake
whose thirst it seems, is impossible to slake
the greedy creature in every breast
who rises at the holidays, attempting to wrest
every smidgen of joy, each warm human feeling
into credit card debt ; Black Friday wheeling and dealing
as for me I'll sit by the fire and write
cards out to my dear ones and pray on their flight
they smooth out the stress and the pressure to be
a spender-a giver-an "all about me"
message that's sent to me, at least
in this season that's really all about peace.
- lame-ass, preachy extemporaneous poem

The fake simplicity of those Hallmark movies lulls me into a coma during the season–the people are impeccably groomed and are “learning about the true meaning of Christmas.” The backhanded anti-feminist message of some of the movies is really distasteful, however–a tough businesswoman learns she must settle down with that annoying innkeeper after her fancy car gets run off the road by a folksy plow driver. You can tell she’s changing her ways by how fluffy her sweaters are getting. Her parents are usually dead and she doesn’t know she’s been starving for human connection in her vicious climb up the corporate ladder until she is seen at the town tree-lighting ceremony with the innkeeper and his photogenic dog. It instills a longing for a simpler, more frontal lobotomy, huh?

I can’t not watch Christmas in Dollywood. I know, I know.

Then again–the sets are sweet, every Christmas tree is decked out with awesome ornaments (I’m a sucker for ornaments) and every present, even though they’re basically empty boxes, stunningly wrapped, delights me. fulfilling my aesthetic needs for the season. And they have one with Dolly Parton!

  • Black Christmas (1974)
  • Krampus (2015)
  • Gremlins (1984)
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Patty’s Top Five Dark and Deadly X-mas Flicks

The best antidote to the sickly sweetness of these films? Black Christmas, the 1974 classic about a sorority under siege on Christmas Eve. You’ll be surprised–the star power’s impressive, with Olivia Hussey (the incredible wooden woman, Audra, in Stephen King’s It miniseries, really young here) Margot Kidder, and the king of B-movies, John Saxon himself (Nancy’s Dad in the Nightmare on Elm Street and so many awesome slashers).

So, I am a wildly cackling maniac watching Black Christmas, slated for a remake with Cary Elwes this year; or a cocoa-guzzling weeper at a check-your-brains Christmastime confection at Hallmark. I’m maniacally ordering shit online during Cyber Monday or resolving to somehow knit everyone I know a charming hat, instead. Years ago, eschewing Christmas cards and their stranglehold on my season, today I bought some holiday cards and forever Santa stamps and caught myself humming, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” while I was doing it. As my higher nature and my baser, more consumerist holiday nature wrangle for supremacy, one thing is sure–I’ve got bossa nova Christmas tunes on the stereo and I’m spending too much money on wrapping paper that will be unusable next year after being stored in a bin underneath the Christmas tree.

I think a working trip to the food bank is in order, don’t you?

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