happy holidays

cigar-tin story #140
in the shop

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So ... how were your … holidays? Are we calling them holidays, or *the* holidays, or 'the holiday season'? It seems most people say "Happy Holidays" now. The emphasis is definitely on the holiday aspect, on the escaping from regular life, and spending time with our families. It's a whole month of out-of-the-ordinary *stuff*. None of which seems to include Jesus. The fat man in the red suit gets more play but that's just because he's a convenient motif for all the merchandising ... and because people need to say something about the subject, so they say things like, "Was Santa good to you this year?" or "I bet that little one of yours is pretty excited about Santa." Which is fine. I guess if we don't really understand what we're celebrating anymore, then Santa is as good as anything. The board of Coca Cola should be pleased.

You know, for years I said that Christmas should just be a kid's holiday that lasted two days (don't even talk to me about New Years), but I think I've finally learned to stop saying this. I just kept running into too many people who talked about "the magic of the season" and "spending time with your family". And instead of replying that I couldn't think of two phrases that were more ruinous to each other, I just learned to shut the hell up. In fact, this year I even counseled a few other people, who despaired of the season and the things it forced on them, like triviality, and joviality, and the horrid non-time of highways and airports. "You can't talk like that," I said. "People don't want to hear it." Because if there really is any magic in the season, I think that's it, this kind of communal deafness to anything that might threaten the brand. And why even try? It all passes quickly enough, and no one can remember from one year to the next.

Anyway, it was all fine, fine. Why are we even talking about this?

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An audio version of this post is available here.


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