Five Christmas Traditions That Need to End
Oh, put a sock in it.
That feeling of dread starts building in October, as stores begin festooning their aisles with tinsel and giant candy canes even before Halloween is over. By the time Thanksgiving roll around, we've already been inundated with enough ads, TV shows, and radio stations switching to 100 percent holiday music to gag a reindeer.
Today is Christmas Eve, so obviously I'm too late this year. Change starts with one person (or random DNA mutations, whatever), so if I merely get the ball rolling for future action, I'll be happy.
(Making Your Kids Watch) Christmas TV Specials
I couldn't just put down "TV Specials" as a list item, since the sheer quantity that debut each year would appear to indicate the genre has achieved sentience and is now self-replicating. What needs to stop is the practice of forcing your offspring to endure the same shows you were forced to watch as a child because there were only three channels and you didn't have a choice. They won't enjoy it, and will come to hate you for it and will eventually let you die in a sub-standard retirement home as a result.
And just because you call something a "classic" doesn't make it so. Frosty the Snowman? Santa Claus is Coming to Town? You can find better animation in those "The General" insurance commercials.
Elf on the Shelf
Unlike some of the others, I doubt I'll get much flack for this. These things aren't even ten years old and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't like to throw every one of the things on a pile and set it afire in tribute to the heathen gods of old.
For example: Facebook is basically intolerable at least 85 percent of the time as is, but December's constant EotS updates -- sincere or not -- have turned what was once a merely tasteless marketing gimmick into a full frontal assault of obnoxiousness.
I turned Sunny 99.1 (the Houston "light rock" station that goes full Christmas some time around Thanksgiving) on three times last weekend while I was ferrying my kids on various errands and we heard "Do You Hear What I Hear?" each time. My kids -- who are still young enough to actually look forward to Christmas music -- asked me, "Daddy, why is that song playing again?"
Clearly we need to retire some songs. Here's an idea: any time someone (Carrie Underwood, Michael Buble, GWAR) wants to release an album of "standards," they have to actually write something new. I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to the Scumdogs giving us "Deck My Balls."
And while we're at it, I thought this had pretty much died out, but some of these people actually came by my house last Saturday. The quality of the performance confirmed what I'd suspected all along: caroling, like most things, is just an excuse to walk around and drink.
The idea of using candles (at first) and then electric lights to decorate your Christmas tree and house began as a way for the wealthy to demonstrate how much better off they were than the poor. The modern day equivalent is shrouding your home in ever gaudier displays that put an undue burden on our electric grid and make us more visible from space to marauding aliens.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events