No, Christmas Music. No.
Look, Christmas Music, you know I love you. We’ve been over this. The second Thanksgiving is over — and maybe even at Thanksgiving dinner, let’s be real — I am all about bumping you at a family-approved volume over every loudspeaker I can get my be-mittened hands on. Dean Martin? Yes, please. “Last Christmas” by Wham!? Essentially my personal theme song. That horrible Alvin and the Chipmunks nonsense? Yes, even they are invited. After the last piece of turkey is carved, we are all ready to buckle up and sled down a snowy-white hill of nonstop seasonal jams.
But now is not that time. I am only now peeling off the alcohol-soaked remnants of my Halloween costume as I gingerly sip a piping-hot Pumpkin Spice Latte. The leaves are still turning and falling. The weather is what can be described as “wool sweater-crisp” on certain days. This is not the time at which my body or mind are ready to feel my appendages slowly freeze off as I press my nose to whimsically decorated department store windows, making a mental list of all the things I hope somebody buys for me. This is the time to enjoy things being rust-colored and drink apple cider. I haven’t even started mentally preparing myself for the Sisyphean ordeal that is basting and roasting a turkey.
I do not need to hear your jovial, tinkling sounds echoing over every store sound system like some kind of haunting death rattle of consumerism in an otherwise grim economy. My distinctly Pavlovian psyche has come to associate you with snow and decorations, yes, but also all of the stress that comes with having a list roughly as long as your high school yearbook of people for whom to find gifts. There are tickets to buy, and plans to make, and though there is an aspartame-sweetness that I thoroughly enjoy whilst listening to you, Christmas Music, I cannot extricate you from all of the other myriad things you imply.
The holiday season is a clusterfuck, but it is our clusterfuck. It is filled with as much agony and ecstasy, as much ritual and tradition, as we could possibly cram into any seasonal period with the intent of selling 4 million metric tons of Furbies. The season must remain where it was intended to be — in the precious month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is only so much time I can dedicate to round-the-clock Bing Crosby that warmly reminds me both of how quickly this year has passed and how much money I’m going to have to spend at Macy’s. Where is the magic in sipping egg nog and bopping along to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” if it is played ad nauseam when my pumpkin is still rotting on the front stoop?
Please, Christmas Music, stop trying to melt into the rest of the year. You do not belong in summer, when we’re busy buffing our butt cheeks with car polish and trying to find someone to sleep with at our beach houses. You do not belong at Valentine’s Day, when we’re crying as we nibble away at a self-purchased Whitman Sampler. And you certainly don’t belong the day after Halloween, as I am trying to finagle my checking account to resemble something that will remain standing at the end of two viciously expensive holidays cruelly positioned back-to-back. Give me until Thanksgiving, Christmas Music, and we’ll be totally cool.
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It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.