Tag Archives: Christmas

The day after Christmas comedown

The day after Christmas is always such a bummer. Even as an adult, even though Christmas itself isn’t the same magical day of pure ecstasy that it was when I was a little kid, the day after is still this soul-crushing comedown, the same melancholy withdrawal that it’s been since as far back as I can remember. Christmas is great, or maybe it’s not always great, but it’s still Christmas. And the day after is just another day, back to business.


I just feel like, even though it’s no longer that rapturous thrill of opening up an endless sea of presents, Christmas is still a nice holiday. Especially if you put some work into it, plan out in advance what gifts you’re going to get for which friend or family member, as long as nobody goes overboard with anything, the whole Christmas season actually can be something like that cheery merry ho ho ho that they try to make you feel when you’re watching Christmas commercials on TV.

And this year, I don’t know, maybe the stars were aligned or something, but I thought it was an especially successful Christmas. I committed myself to actually spending an entire day putting thought into my presents, taking advantage of all of the Cyber Monday deals online. There weren’t any of those last minute trips to any stores, those awful annual meltdowns where I find myself crushed up against a wall of like-minded procrastinators, mindlessly shuffling from aisle to aisle, asking myself questions like, “Should I really buy my wife a blender for Christmas? Or a blanket? Blender?” before ultimately grabbing and paying for something, anything to get me the hell outside, away from the crowds.

No, this year was easy. And for me, Christmas was prefaced by five days off from work. I scheduled my shifts at the restaurant accordingly, with plenty of family get-togethers to fill in all of my free days. Where a lot of the time the holidays can become a challenge to fit in seeing everyone from both my wife’s and my sides of the family, this year gave us ample time to hang out with our siblings, visit aunts, uncles and cousins, to really be present in a way that’s not possible when you’re spending a limited amount of time figuring out how you’re going to get from point A to B to C.

On Christmas Day we had breakfast with my in-laws before heading to my parents for lunch. Afterward we headed to my grandfather’s before packing everything up and coming home. And now here I am, I’m sitting here by myself for the first time in five days, what’s usually a comfortable quiet spot is now sort of unbearable. I want to be back at home already, surrounded by a million people, everyone talking over each other trying to muscle in a funnier joke, or a louder one at least.

Now that I’m by myself, I’m forced to think about how another year has passed, to wonder what Christmas is going to be like five years from now, or twenty, or fifty. Is it always going to be this tough, abruptly shifting from holiday back into reality? Why can’t we figure something out as a society to make the transition a little easier? Do I really have to go back to work today?

It’s crazy to think like this, I know it. You can’t be looking backwards. And yeah, once I get back into my routine, things will level out. My days are going to get busy again and I’ll start looking forward to the time I get to spend here at my desk, quiet, writing at my computer.

But right now I’m stuffed because I’ve been eating for like five days straight. My tongue hurts because there were all of these bowls of candy and desserts out at my grandfather’s and I couldn’t stop myself from shoving everything into my mouth. And I’m practically delirious with exhaustion. I haven’t slept a solid night since I’ve been away from my bed. I’m going through some serious Christmas withdrawal, and I want it to be over already. Why does it always have to end? Why can’t we just let the good times keep rolling?

I’m putting the Chris back in Christmas

Guys, this year I want to put the Chris back in Christmas. I’m talking about my friend Chris. Chris, are you reading this? I’ll send you a link. I’m really sorry about last Christmas. My friends and I did this Secret Santa, you know like just amongst the friends. I picked Chris, and I thought it would be a really cool to get him a custom t-shirt, it would have said, “Christmas 2012” but “Chris” would be highlighted in red, and, “tmas 2012,” in green.


That’s what it was supposed to say, but the printers must not have read my order that thoroughly, because it said, “Christ,” in red, with the rest written in green. And yeah, I was so pumped, all patting myself on the back because I got the present done way ahead of time, seriously, like I had this thing mailed to my house not even a week after Thanksgiving. But I never opened it to check the order, so Chris’s surprise at the seemingly Christian themed Christmas shirt, it was identical to mine, because honestly that was the first I’d seen it.

And what are you going to do, start hemming and hawing about how, “I swear, I ordered this thing in advance, I’m really sorry,” no, I just went with it, tried to make it like a joke. But Chris definitely wasn’t into it. The shirt was way too big on him, yeah, I guess XL was the wrong choice, but I don’t know, sometimes you get a t-shirt from the Internet and they’re all way too small. Plus, you wash them once and they shrink up almost like a size and a half. But yeah, Chris put it on, I guess he was trying to be a good sport about it, but it looked terrible, he wouldn’t even be able to wear it ironically.

What sucked the worst was, Chris wound up picking me, and he bought me a second controller for my XBOX. I mean, one, it’s something that I’d use all the time, in fact, I use it constantly, to this day, it’s sitting right there on my coffee table. And two, that’s expensive, like fifty, sixty bucks, right? My custom t-shirt was maybe twenty-five with shipping. And even though I thought it was supposed to be more the thought that counts, apparently there was a fifty dollar suggested price tag, I don’t know, I guess I wasn’t paying attention.

And then on New Years Eve, whatever, I thought it would have been cool if we both wore our Chris-Christmas shirts because, yeah, I got one for myself also. But he didn’t wear his, so I didn’t want to take off my hoodie, obviously he was a little pissed about it. I wound up buying him a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to Cold Stone Creamery, but he didn’t say thanks or anything, he put it on the coffee table and “forgot” it when he left for the night. And then it was so hot in there, once he left I thought it would have been OK to take the hoodie off.

But it wasn’t until the next day, I went on Facebook and saw that I’d been tagged in a bunch of photos wearing the t-shirt. Chris had left a comment, but he must have changed our friendship settings, because I couldn’t see what it said, it only let me know that he had commented. So I called up my friend Cliff, I said, “Can you believe what Chris wrote on Facebook?” and he said, “I didn’t check, hold on.”

I waited for like a minute and Cliff said, “Well, what did you expect?” So he must have written something nasty, but I didn’t want to give it away that I’d been blocked, so I never did find out exactly what Chris wrote. And that was it, I saw Chris a few times that summer, but I got the impression that he wasn’t really interested in being friends anymore. And yeah, it’s not like we were especially close anyway, but we could have been close, a lot closer, if only I had double checked, ordered that shirt a size or two smaller, maybe included the Cold Stone gift card with the shirt.

So this year, Merry Chris-tmas, I’m putting the Chris right back, I got him a shirt, I made sure it was the right size, and yeah, maybe he won’t have it, hopefully he’s still not carrying a grudge, but I got him an Outback Steakhouse gift card just in case. And it shouldn’t be awkward, because I wasn’t even included in the Secret Santa this year, so maybe everyone will see my good intentions, they’ll let me back in for next year, they’ll say, “Wow, Rob really turned that around. What a good sport. And he didn’t even get anything in return,” so maybe they’ll feel a little bad, and they’ll chip in and buy me something for the New Years party. Maybe. Whatever I’m not expecting it, and if it doesn’t happen, whatever, it doesn’t happen. But it would definitely be a nice gesture. Merry Christmas everybody.

Love, Actually, actually is all around

My wife and I have this annual holiday tradition. Every year, she watches Love, Actually on TV, and each time, about halfway through the movie, I come downstairs and start making snarky comments and bad jokes, to the point where nobody’s having any fun at all by the end of the film. Jeez, when I say it like that, I sound like a huge dick. And, I don’t know, I’m not that big of a dick.


But Love, Actually, come on, in which darkest timeline have I wound up where this movie has taken on such celebrated significance? I saw it in the theaters with my wife while we were still dating, and at the time, yeah, I did nice things like that, went to the movies to see romantic comedies. We saw Two Weeks Notice, a bunch of other mostly Hugh Grant movies. As we exited the nine o’clock showing of Love, Actually that night, all I thought was, well, I guess that’s as bad as it’s going to get.

But no, she started watching it the next year, and the year after that. Each Christmas, the TV stations started playing it more and more. Every time I’d hear a significant buzz, groups of people waiting for the subway, talking about how much they love Love, Actually, stuff like, “Oh my God, I just love that movie. It’s seriously probably my favorite movie of all time. Love, love, love, Love, Actually.”

Last night was the 2013 viewing, and I caught more of the movie than I usually do, to the point where some of the stories didn’t ring any bells in my memory. Obviously I’ll never be able to forget the scene where Hugh Grant, acting as Prime Minister of the UK, gives President Billy-Bob Thornton some ridiculous speech about Britain being a small but proud nation, but other subplots, like the one about the office romance hindered due to that lady’s disabled brother, it was as if they’d been blocked from my memory entirely.

Which was probably for the best. If only I had stayed away this year. But I can’t help myself. I hear that ongoing Mariah Carey chorus and I just have to march in and start poking fun. And asking lots of questions. Like, is Liam Neeson that kid’s dad? I mean, I know the mom died, right, but do they address whether or not he’s the kid’s biological father?

To me, it seems as if he has to be the step-dad, like maybe he married this single-mother, and after a while she died, and he’s left in charge with this little kid who he really doesn’t have that strong of a connection with. Because their relationship is so over the top. “You’re in love? Well go get her! Run after her! Right past Mr. Bean, through airport security, go get ‘em!” If that were a real dad, he’d be like, “Hey, do me a favor, all right? Just stop talking for a second. Please. Just one second. I’m incredibly depressed around the holidays, ever since your mother died, it’s just me and you. Stop talking about your little kid girlfriend for a minute, please.”

And you talk about love, right? Half of the stories have nothing to do with love. What about the one where the guy falls in love with his best friend’s wife? First of all, I’m watching this movie and I’m like, who the hell is this guy? Why does he look so familiar? Then it hits me, he’s the actor who plays Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. And again, I wish I had never watched it this year, because now when I watch my favorite TV show, I’m not going to be able to shake the image of this guy wearing an oversized sweater holding up signs telling his friend’s wife not to make a sound so he can steal a kiss while he’s not paying attention. I’m going to be too focused on scrutinizing his fake American accent. Seriously, how do people do that? If I tried to talk in a British accent, best case scenario, everybody in earshot would mercilessly make fun of me, worst case scenario, I’d get punched, hard.

Or what about the story where the guy is cheating on his wife? I’m not trying to make a moral argument or anything, you know, because a story about a guy cheating on his wife, in a romance movie, you don’t really need some guy like me pointing out how out of place it is. But from a logistical standpoint, it really bothers me. Like, he buys a necklace for his mistress, OK. Why don’t you go shopping for jewelry like on the way home from work or something? Why insist on taking your whole family to the mall, and then making the worst attempt ever to sneak out of their sight for a second so you can buy a necklace? Isn’t that a little reckless? It’s stupid, is what it is. And then, you’re not into your wife, fine, but maybe buy her something a little nicer than a CD to at least pretend that you give a fuck about her not finding out. Doesn’t she even say something earlier, like, “Is it just sex? Or is it sex and love?”

What’s the message here, that true love is all about perspective? That regardless of how bad a situation appears from the outside, somebody might be caught up in true love? That actually sounds kind of legit. Holy shit, did I just figure it out?

I could go on all day, but I’m clearly in the minority here. Love, Actually actually looks like it’s here to stay, and for the long haul too. I can just picture myself as an old man, this movie’s going to come on and I’m going to force myself to sit there and provide asinine commentary, pitching the same lame Love, Actually jokes. Remember when I said before that I wasn’t that big of a dick? I guess I can be kind of dickish, but only when Love, Actually is on. I don’t know, it just brings out the worst in me. It’s a good thing that all of the follow-up imitation ensemble movies always bomb at the box office, like He’s Just Not That Into You, and I think there’s a Valentine’s Day one also, the sister from Seventh Heaven is in it. OK, I’m done. I’m going to be sick. Wait, no, OK, I held it in. Wait, it’s coming back. Yeah, I’m definitely going to be sick. Yep, I did it, I threw up. Gross.

Closed on Christmas

Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, we’re not going to be able to have that holiday party this year. I know, everybody was looking forward to getting together, or maybe not everybody, but Morris was definitely excited, remember last year? Ha. But we’ve got to look out for the bottom line, and in this economic climate, well, you never know when we’re going to need that money. Besides, think about the shareholders. Do you think they want to see us loafing around for four hours at an open bar?

office christmas

I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering about those bonuses. Yeah, well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re still doing bonuses. The bad news is that it’s not for any of you. Haha. That was supposed to be a joke. The delivery, anyway, I guess the subject isn’t that funny. Just think of it as more of an incentive to work harder, year after year, and maybe someday you can become an executive, and hopefully then you’ll be eligible for a bonus.

We are buying some bagels though. They’re actually already here, I think Manny dropped them off this morning in Conference Room B. There was cream cheese in there, right Manny? No? I thought I told the secretary to get some cream cheeses, a regular one, and then something else, something with chives, or scallions. Manny, are you sure there wasn’t any cream cheese?

I’m actually just being informed that the bagels are all gone, apparently the nighttime custodial staff must have cleaned house on their way home for the day. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right? Although, I probably should have had Marge make an announcement, an interoffice memo. As long as somebody ate them, I guess it’s not a total waste.

Morris, can we write off those bagels as some sort of a charitable contribution? How much do you think two dozen bagels cost, fifty bucks? Seventy-five? I’m just going to go ahead and write eighty, because I definitely ordered cream cheeses, I’m sure someone must have had them. Can we write it off as a teambuilding expense also? Does the IRS let us write off expenses incurred while building the team? That’s job creation right there. Just write it off twice.

Good news everybody, we’re giving everybody a half-day on Christmas Eve. It’s nothing, no need to thank me. Just go home and have a very Merry Christmas, you know, after three. The half-day ends at three. At least you’ll beat the afternoon rush home. But to help kind of make up for lost time, we’re actually going to open up on New Years Day. So, you know, you can come in a little late, let’s say nine-thirty, or nine. Let’s just say nine-fifteen. But yeah, enjoy Christmas Eve, but remember to come in on New Years Day.

Why the long faces? You’re still getting Christmas Day off. Right? Marge, check the calendar. Well, that’s got to be a typo. I’m not even sure the building will be open on Christmas Day. Well does Manny have an extra set of keys? Can he leave them with someone else? OK, no, yeah we’ll just keep Christmas Day. Why not? We’ll all stay home on Christmas. But let’s maybe rethink that whole nine nine-fifteen in time on January 1st. Let’s just make it nine flat.

Come on, don’t look at me like that. Don’t you want to be team players? Don’t just think of yourselves, consider the team, about everyone else. And to think, I was just about to send out for pizzas. Well, you guys can forget it. I’m just kidding, everybody march over to Conference Room C, I’ve got a couple of pies waiting for everyone. OK, so you brought lunch, that’s great, can’t you just take it back home and eat it for dinner?

What’s that? Manny, goddamn it man, I told you last night that I was thinking about ordering pizzas today, not that you’d order pizzas last night for today. Man, those’ve got to be … well, cold pizza’s not bad. I love cold pizza. Help yourselves, this place gets pretty cold at night, ask Morris, ask anybody, you know what this place feels like after five, so I’m sure that pizza’s still good. Enjoy.

Me? Oh, no thanks, the board’s going out for our annual holiday luncheon. Honestly, it sounds a lot more glamorous than it is, you know these corporate wine-and-dines. Anyway, get back to work everybody, and Merry Christmas. Right, Happy Holidays, whatever, that’s what I meant. No, I wasn’t trying to exclude anybody, Jesus, just have a great day off, and remember, nine o’clock sharp on Thursday.

Rethinking the holidays

I’ve got a bad case of the post holiday blues. Christmas is over. No more presents left to open. I always used to hide like half of my presents away, saving them for February, March, something to get me through the cold, wet winter. If it got so bad that I couldn’t take the dismal stretch of time expanding outward in front of me, I’d open a Christmas present and let myself bask in a fleeting moment of joy. But the people who give you gifts, they want to see you open them up right away, on Christmas, not two months later, and so people just stopped giving me presents. Or they’d stop wrapping them, just handing me a foot massager or a brand new pair of windshield wiper blades.

Everybody has so much fun at Christmas. The best part is taking off the day before, and depending on what day of the week it falls, you might get the day before that off as well, a four, maybe five day weekend. And then sure, you’ll go back to work the next day, but nobody does any work in between Christmas and New Years. It’s all a big joke. Show up at the office but just kind of hang out and talk about presents and go out for drinks during lunch.

But then it’s New Years and then it’s over. What’s next? Three months of winter. Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday. I propose that we move Christmas to the end of February. We could still do the old holiday season, but this would now be exclusively for New Years. Think about it. You just get done with Thanksgiving and a month later you get the Christmas/New Years knock out punch. Let’s spread it out. Let’s give ourselves something to look forward to.

Christmas in February makes so much more sense. Just as everybody would start winding down from the New Years celebrations, you’d start hearing Christmas music and seeing Christmas decorations in the mall. Some of your killjoy friends would complain, stuff like, “I don’t see why there has to be Christmas decorations in December! Can’t we at least wait until January?” and then your secular friends would say stuff like, “There’s nothing in the Bible that says anything about Christmas being in February! That’s not even when Jesus was born!” and your traditionalist friends would pipe in with, “We need to move Christmas back to December! This an outrage!”

As a country, we don’t have that many holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Fourth of July. What else? Sure you get your days off for Labor Day, Presidents Day, a bunch of other whatever days. I think we need to rethink the holidays. We need to have it so no two months go by without a holiday. I’m talking like holiday, holiday. Like two days off from work, at least. And we’ll spread them out so there’s always something relatively close to look forward to.

Just think about the winter months. It’s so depressing, nothing ahead. Easter is kind of losing its secular appeal, if it ever even had any. And it’s on a Sunday, so nobody gets off work.

This fits in with my whole theory that we need a lot less work, as a country. We need a three-day, four-day work week, tops. We should only be working five hours a day at the maximum. And we need lots more holidays. Tons more days off.

And we need to start including the service industry in these holidays. I always hate that whenever ninety percent of the country is off having a good time, there’s always one or two people selling tickets at the movies, or pumping gas. Let’s stagger it out so that they can join in the holiday spirit also.

I thought writing about this would cheer me up, but it didn’t. We’re still in January. It’s really, really cold. I wish I had a week off to look forward to. Remember that stuff I said about the three-day work week? Make it a two-day work week. I promise I’ll shut up and stop complaining if I can just get a two-day work week. I’ll work really hard. I promise. Seriously, those will be some of the most productive ten hours you’ll ever see.