Tag Archives: holidays

Sacrificing to the Great Tree and Other Holiday Fun

I went shopping yesterday and apparently it’s Christmasandotherholidaystime. Unbeknownst to me, and wholly without my permission, Union Square was decked with an ice skating rink and a giant Christmas tree for retail shoppers to worship as they complete their obligatory paycheck sacrifices.

I should have guessed this season was coming from the dropping temperatures, the massive “Christmas cookie edition” of various magazines at the craft store that I went to a couple of weeks ago, and the fact my skin is feeling more and more reptilian. Still, it seems a little soon to start pumping out the holiday jams and tinsel-fying everything.

This is that special time of year when retail workers begin to go insane from overexposure to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” and too many renditions of “Jingle Bells.” It’s that time of year that means everything from “hope” to “believe” to “eat” to “shame eat,” messages that will eventually lead to “start over” “begin again,” and “diet.”  It’s the time of year when it’s impossible to buy clothing that doesn’t look like a Christmas ornament, clothes that will be unwearable outside of these 6 weeks in the future because their sparkles and colors of good joy and cheer are dead-giveaways for holiday merch.

Yes indeed, it’s holiday time. It’s time to spread the laughter, the belief, and the inspiration, whatever those words mean. According to Banana Republic, they mean it’s time to get new dresses that are covered in gold sequins.  But I believe they mean it’s time to be real and break down the barriers between our fellow humans.

I’m going to start by hugging everyone at work today, full of the holiday spirit. And I showered, so I’ll smell nice. Maybe I’ll put a mini-tree on my desk and invite others to place small but valuable gifts underneath it for yours truly. Anything is possible, because this is the time of year when miracles happen. I’m hoping for a bed miracle, in which I find a bed on the side of the street in perfect condition.

I will make my sacrifices to the great tree and see what happens. I advise you to do the same.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

New Year: Time to Fail

Notice the error in spelling “special.” I can make mistakes if I want.

Welcome to the New Year. Odds are you’ve already messed it up. As usual, you thought that this year was going to be different. Yet barely a day into it, you once again sullied the fresh snow of new opportunity. Now it looks as appealing as Mr. Sprick’s yard on a snow day, and he has 5 kids, a few dogs, and a mule. Have you ever seen how much mules pee? No one wants to look at that yard, much less do anything in it.

Now you’re going to have to wait a whole new year to get a fresh snowfall, and meanwhile you have plenty of time to consider all the ways you went wrong. Why didn’t everything change at midnight like it was supposed to?

One of the more glaring problems is that you have remained the same person. Your new, sequined dress and hair-do for New Year’s Eve didn’t make you lose weight, and you never looked like Gwen Stefani. Furthermore, whatever glamour hocus pocus you attempted wore off rapidly as the evening progressed, like it always does, leaving none for the morning after. You awoke New Year’s Day having retained many if not all of the habits and excuses from your former life of 2 days ago and you still find it difficult to do the things you should do and accomplish the goals you put off when today was tomorrow. Most unfortunately, you’re still yourself, and that has always been your biggest problem.

Another monkey wrench in your New Year’s plot is the fact you had one at all. There is nothing special about New Years. It is an arbitrary day assigned an arbitrary number that has arbitrary meaning in a society you were arbitrarily born into. There is no magic in it that will make your wishes for change come true, especially if you do nothing, as usual. Magical New Year’s fairy dust won’t make you the person you want to be. You can’t sprinkle it on a pile of books you want read or a treadmill you want results from or a human you want to friend and expect those things to happen. It’s just skin cells and dirt, like dust always is, like it was yesterday and like it will be tomorrow.

Perhaps one of your biggest mistakes was that you thought positive life changes can only be implemented on a specific date once a year. This is a common misconception, and you’re not alone in such convoluted thinking. However, research has shown that these kinds of changes can take place regardless of the date. Science has thus released us from the prison of miniscule timelines and disposed of our archaic excuses. Thank goodness.

And finally, you may have unfortunately bought into the idea that transformation happens instantly. This is a most inaccurate notion. A large pine tree grows in my front yard. It was not always large. It has grown over the past 15 years into a respectably sized organism, just as you have. Family dysfunction that has festered for decades will not disappear in a month. Bad habits you’ve practiced daily since college will not take kindly to being abandoned. You are still yourself, after all, and that includes everything you would rather not include.

So yes, you have failed to become a new person overnight, the person you should, can, and want to be. You ate another cookie, cursed in front of a child, or vomited into a friend’s shoe. Nothing has changed.

But don’t despair yet. There’s still hope, and it’s not because next year is another year, or tomorrow is another day. It’s because every day you have a million chances to right your wrongs and strangle your bad habits. You have a first, second, fourth, and eight hundred and sixtieth chance to get it right, and that’s just today, after which there will likely be a tomorrow. But there’s no reason to wait. Screw New Year’s Resolutions.

Lastly, I would like to apologize, as it appears I’ve just written an inspirational blog post.

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Shopper’s Eye: A Tale of Desperation

My sight grew numb. I didn’t even know that could happen.

An excerpt from the Drevets Log:

“Target: The Shopper’s Eye”

27 December 2011: 15:55

Very tired. Need coffee and Digestive Biscuit.

I wander a vast retail wasteland. Memories of my life before Target fade.  Numbers, letters blend together. Nothing has meaning.

Sister has developed discount psychosis. I fear for her safety. The damage may not be reversible.

Humanoids pace the aisles, eyes glazed, drool tracks on their cheeks. The management has used the color red to hypnotize its prey. Mutters emanate breathily from their mouths. They cannot understand they say nothing. Meaningless. All meaningless.

My humanity burns within me. I must leave this place. The cardigan I search for is not here. Long sleeve crew neck tees choke my being. Everything has a cost, and still the danger grows. We will not sacrifice our souls in order to fulfill our quest. My sister weakens. My own resolve becomes faint.

I have contracted the dreaded shopper’s eye. Items are indistinguishable from one another. I sense my thinking grow clouded. I clutch ill fitting shirts of garish colors. Perhaps I will wear them to parties where glasses will clink and muffled laughter will sound from the other room where a rabbit plays the piano.

I better try on just five, no six, no eight more. Eight more blouses. These jeans don’t look like the cardigan I need. I need to try them on.

Dressing room attendants, here’s a number thank you, walk left right left slam, fluorescent lights, mirror, action. I cannot recognize myself. This is the only reality. Everything is a box, beginning here in this box in the Target box in a boxy suburb, in the box city, in the universe box.

My cell phone goes off. “Mother” is calling. What is mother? Memories stir in the deep. I remember mountains, dancing, Christmas lights on snow.


I tear out of the dressing rooms. Sister stands, mesmerized by a promotion display, her consciousness wasting away. I slap her. “WAKE.” I say. “WHAT THE CRAP.” Says she. “RUN.” I say. I grab her hand. She’s irritated. I know this. She cannot understand I seek only her good. I will receive her thanks later.

We sprint up the aisles, burst into sunshine. Winter rays warm our mortal flesh.

“I need to pay for this, Emily,” sister says. She holds a pair of jeans.

“You were taking SO LONG.” I insist. “I have saved you.”

“No, Emily. You haven’t. Wait here. I’m going back inside.”

I watch her re-enter. She will thank me yet.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

For a Very Special Christmas

This is actually a man covered in pine branches. Now that’s special.

As the years drift by, it gets harder and harder to bring back that Christmas feeling you had as a child. The special aura surrounding the holiday, fueled in part by parentally encouraged delusions of a certain chubby man and his mysterious night journey, begins to fade.

Gone are the days when parents had no flaws, school consisted of Christmas parties for an entire month, and the entire world glowed with happiness because of the presents you were going to get. As we reach adulthood (and I know it’s a stretch to call myself an adult), we see the other side of the coin: the glow is actually just white hot Christmas rage, the Santa Bill needs to be paid personally, and family must be tended to.

How can you bring back the incandescent Christmas days of old, when today seemed like a day apart from all others, a day to look forward to, a day worthy of a countdown, a day of expectation and joy that ended in the ashes of wrapping paper scraps. Here are some tips and suggestions that can make this Christmas the best one of all.

Ways to Make this Christmas Special:

1. Play “family member hides.” Everyone votes on the family member they like the least, and then that family member has to hide for the rest of the day while the others search for him or her at their leisure.

2. Give the youngest members of your family bb guns, making sure they know there are no restrictions on where to use them.

3. After the Christmas feast, sit down with your loved ones and point out one another’s flaws.

4. Everyone loves singing! Give everyone a 3-5 minute solo to prepare and then go sing them at the mall in front of the movie ticket lines.

5. If you haven’t seen them already, rent the first two Alvin and the Chipmunks movies before going and watching the third one in theatres during a daytime showing. Nothing spells Christmas cheer like shameless exploitation of formerly beloved characters set to the tune of wailing toddlers.

6. Instead of fussing over a big meal, let everyone choose their own microwave dinner and heat it up themselves. Then watch television in silence!

7. Indoor bonfire, using the tree as fodder.

8. Hire someone wearing a Santa suit to come and take everyone’s presents away from them after they’ve finished unwrapping them.

9. Have a real-time response to Christmas gifts from people who aren’t in the immediate vicinity. Call ‘em up right away and tell them how you really feel about the Jar Jar Binks soap dispenser you got!

10. Go door to door preaching against capitalism. Have younger family members wail in order to remind people of child labor in sweat shops.

11. Encourage the little cousins to try to get onto the roof of the house, climb a tree, or fit into cupboards.

12. “Accidentally” misplace the remote control.

13. As you sit around the crackling fire with your family or friends, laughing about times gone by, bring up a deep seated grudge from years ago.

14. Instead of complaining about gifts you didn’t receive, speak with dripping sarcasm and spit vitriol while insisting nothing is wrong.

15. Give used toothbrushes as stocking stuffers.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Turns Out I Hate Crafts

The first of thousands. Literally thousands.

Having recently arrived home, where my nuclear family lives, including one bride-to-be, I have been confronted with some uncomfortable realities. One of these is the fact I don’t have my own room. Another is that there countless people (5) saying good morning to me in the  early hours when I would rather hear only the sweet hum of my aging computer. The most pressing one, however, is the fact I will physically have to do things to help my sister in her wedding preparations, and it is going to be much more work and much less glamorous than I had previously supposed.

Though I spoke boldly about how much I was looking forward to the wedding stuff and being a best maid, etc. while stationed abroad, I had no concept of what that would entail. At a distance from the nuptial hubbub, I played to my talents, which are blogging. While at home, however, I can no longer blog it in. My blogging in no way, shape, or form helps my sister. If anything, it’s a distraction and a nuisance.

Oddly enough, what my sister actually needs are people to work like indentured servants on a variety of craft projects, since she’s into the “make it right the first time” movement. It’s also cheaper than buying things from Martha Stewart. Currently we’re making big yarn globes, which will look pretty cool whenever we’re finished with them. But that’s not the point. The point is that I don’t like crafts. I’m also not very good at doing them. Consider this: the most artistic thing that I do regularly is doodle, and I only do that when I’m incapable of focusing on something else. I never choose art or crafts as an activity in and of itself, and almost as soon as I start one, I wonder when I can stop.

Here’s what’s going to happen: as soon as we start making another one of those globe things, I will instantly regret being a part of the project and begin counting the minutes until I can leave. This will to lead to me doing a poor job, which will in turn lengthen the project as we drape and re-drape strand after glue-soaked strand of yarn over the balloon. Secretly I’ll hope that by doing such a poor job you will never ask me to help out again. I recall all my former valiant words with chagrin as I’m faced with these simple tasks that prove too taxing for my attention span, which barely rivals that of a goldfish.

Instead of pretending I’m capable of attending to detail or caring about any aspect of a craft project except for finishing it with speed, from now on I’ll only do the most mindless of tasks so I will be free to distract others. This is my true gift to the wedding enterprise. My hands may be clumsy and my mind distracted, but my comments and interruptions are endless.

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: