Why I Never Go Home for the Holidays

I have a few reasons why I don’t go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I cemented this right after I moved from Michigan to Colorado (a journey I started the day after Thanksgiving, 1993. That might be telling. Or not).

First of all, I’m going from Colorado to Michigan. The chances of me having to spend my holiday in an overcrowded airport, stranded for three days of my four day weekend, are about 70%. No thank you. I like DIA, but not enough to live there over an extended weekend. And the crowds! Nopenopenope.

Second, the holidays are fraught with drama, even between relatives who see each other all the time. And apparently I have the singular ability to say some random offhand thing that offends someone and then we have Drama 101. So, no need to stoke that fire. Nope.

Third, I’m just not a big fan of Christmas. I LOVE Thanksgiving, because gorging yourself on turkey is probably one of my definitions of Utopia, but the whole holiday “shiny happy family” expectation thing just is NOT going to happen. Ever. I’d guess 70-80% of the population knows what I’m talking about. Everyone wants a Hallmark holiday, and then Uncle Gene barfs into the Christmas tree while Aunt Sally is screaming at Uncle Sam to STFU. It’s a thing.

I’d rather go visit when the weather is nice, there’s a good chance my flight will leave at LEAST on the day it was scheduled, and I can enjoy myself, because there is no holiday pressure.

Also, people need to get over the fact that if someone isn’t “home” for the holidays, they’re depressed. I assure you, I am quite happy to cook a 20lb. turkey for myself (yes, I REALLY do this – I freeze the leftovers and I have turkey for months – it’s AWESOME) and I hate Christmas so I don’t care that I don’t have a tree (I have not decorated since 1999). I drink vodka and binge watch Netflix – it’s AWESOME.

I’m also a little bothered by this concept of “home”. My home is here, in Colorado, in my apartment with my silly Shiba and my insane calico cat, and the friends I hang out with. My family lives in Michigan, and I visit them. But that is not home. I don’t live there. I don’t want to. That is not home.

The Post Office, or the Christmas Rant Corollary

The only thing more annoying than Christmas shopping itself is Christmas shipping. You all know what I mean. This, my dears, is the Christmas Post Office Rules of Conduct Rant. Enjoy.

Rule #1: Complaining does NOT make the line move faster. Hello, have you BEEN to the post office in the last fifty years? Have you EVER seen anyone who works there move with any speed? If you have, I’m going to need some empirical proof, because frankly I don’t believe you. That said, bitching to anyone who will listen is not going to speed up the process. All it’s going to do is annoy the fuck out of the people who had the misfortune to stand next to you in line. Shut up, already.

Rule #2: Have your packages ready. Spend ten minutes at home addressing the box, INCLUDING zip code, and make sure you seal and label the box correctly. If this is too difficult for you, perhaps you should just go see a matinee of whatever Disney movie is playing at the moment and give up. Clearly you are an idiot.

Rule #3: Leave your kids home. Again, you know damn well you’re going to be spending an hour standing in line during the holiday season, and the thought bores YOU out of your mind. Imagine what your active three-year-old is experiencing. Spare all of us the toddler meltdown and either leave the kid home or make daddy take the package to the post office already.

Rule #4: You’ve been in line for an hour. An HOUR. By now you should have been able to read all the helpful signs posted ALL OVER THE POST OFFICE about different services and their cost. DO NOT spend twenty minutes quizzing the postal clerk as to how best ship your package as if these signs did not exist, or I cannot be responsible for what gets thrown at your head. Just sayin’.

Rule #5: DO NOT come into the post office during the holiday season with one of those orange package pickup slips and expect not to wait your turn. Huffing and sighing in line behind me is going to get you nowhere. Eventually some postal worker will have pity on you and call you all up front to get your stuff; until then, STFU and wait your turn. I’ve been standing here longer than you have, and no, the reason for your visit does not matter.

Rule #6: Don’t be an asshole to the postal workers. If you had to watch 40% of your customers agonize over what color stamps they want (seriously, people? Does it REALLY matter? A stamp is a stamp is a stamp, FFS) you’d be crazy too. They don’t call it going postal for nothing. Say please, and thank you, and make their day a little bit better. You’ve been there an hour; they’ve been there ALL DAY.

Those of us who have learned our lesson the hard way shop online. Seriously, check it out. It’s totally worth it to go click, click, insert VISA card number here, and have a gift purchased, wrapped and shipped in ten minutes. Trust me, you won’t be sorry. And you won’t have to wait in line at the post office.

Wow, I’m Already Over Christmas

And it’s only December 4.

Well, quite honestly I was over it when they started pushing out Halloween decorations on October 5 to make way for Santa, but that’s probably best saved for a seven thousand page rant for another day. I’ll spare you for now. Consider it my Christmas gift to you. You’re welcome.

I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple gift cards for my nieces (I like to fancy myself the “cool” aunt who inspires them to read; chances are, at the ages of 12 and 14, I’m the “annoying” aunt who makes them spend money on books. Oh well – I’m not changing now!) and the parking lot was FULL. FULL! It was freaking NOON on a Saturday, WTF? And, Christmas spirit is officially over. EVERYONE looked stressed out, ticked off, and in a hurry. Granted, I am NOT a fan of Christmas and do 99% of my shopping online, so I have very little tolerance for this “let’s all run to the store and stand around” crap. I TRIED to zip in, get my two cards, and get the hell out, but oh, no. Here’s why (and take notes, shoppers – this is especially true at Christmastime but it applies year ’round):

The aisles are called AISLES for a reason. DO NOT stand in the aisles to reminisce with old friends, spend four hours asking your kids what they want to buy (which could be a whole separate rant, if I weren’t so lazy), or otherwise TAKE UP THE WHOLE AISLE BY STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF IT when you can clearly see people want to move along. You are either looking at the shelf to your left or the shelf to your right. Pick a side. Don’t stand in the middle and act like you own the row. Newsflash: you don’t. This applies especially to doorways as well. Honestly, people, WHY do you think the damn doorway is a parking place? It’s called a door WAY, not a door BLOCK. The fact that you have the ability to read at a level that allows you to browse a book store should also dictate that you understand the meaning of EXIT and act accordingly. Sadly, this appears to be a mystery to a majority of people and becomes even more hard to grasp as we get closer to the holidays.

And now, my random holiday rants (which can likely be applied year ’round, but are especially true this time of year):

If the only time you pull the car out of the garage is the Christmas season, for the love of God, please consider mass transportation, making one of your ungrateful adult children drive you, or a cab to get to your destination. You’re not making any friends driving 12 miles an hour in a 40 MPH zone and slamming on your brakes at every light because a) it OMG might turn red in the next twenty minutes or b) you were SURE that store was here somewhere. Seriously, if you don’t drive on a regular basis, DON’T DRIVE.

Hang up your cell phone if you’re in the checkout lane. I get that you think whatever you’re doing is a bazillion times more important than the clerk who has to ring you up, but really what your behavior is saying is that you’re a self-centered, inconsiderate douche who probably needs to have your cell service revoked until you understand the Earth revolves around the SUN, NOT around YOU. And stop being rude to the clerks. It’s not their fault if the store is out of something, and you just look like an asshole giving them crap for it. Clearly you have never had to deal with the public, or your ego has become so inflated that you have forgotten how the real world works. Here’s a clue: management makes the rules, then becomes conspicuously absent when they have to be enforced. So STFU already. Screaming at some poor eighteen-year-old who is only trying to pay her way through college is not going to make the Barbie du jour magically appear in your cart. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, there is NOT a magical “back room” where all the stuff you can’t find is hiding. STOP ASKING ALREADY. If you can’t make the basic mental connection that stock on the floor = sales, then you probably should not be shopping for anything, ever, let alone during the holiday season. You suck.

Leave your damn kids home. Seriously. They’ve been wound up since early September waiting for Santa, and by December they are completely mental. This is not their fault; I blame the Corporate Advertising Evil Overlords. That said, you know this. You have to. You live with these people. (I recently saw a Hallmark “Countdown to Christmas” ornament commercial and thought to myself that any parent who actually purchased that deserved to spend time in the room with padded wallpaper. Seriously, the little girl in the commercial made me want to hang myself with a pair of nylons. No, I’m not kidding). Taking them out to a store full of toys after feeding them a buttload of carbs and sugar at McDonald’s is only going to make the shopping experience suck for you and everyone around you. Either learn to use the Internet, or get a babysitter. And for the love of God, recognize that a four-year-old does not give a shit what you buy Grandma for Christmas. He’s too excited about what Santa might be bringing HIM. This is excusable for said four-year-old, but not for the idiot parent who dragged his over-tired, over-stimulated ass to K-Mart to pick out Granny’s present. When I shoot you that crusty you-suck-as-a-parent look, don’t be surprised. You earned it. And dads, same rule applies to you. Just go get something for your wife and put the kids’ names on it. Seriously, if they are under the age of twelve, they don’t fucking care.

Also, could we please stop the Secret Santas, Christmas Pot Lucks, and various and sundry Christmas crap at work already? People are stressed out enough. Let’s just all go to the bar, have a couple beers, and pay our own tab. Or better yet, let’s just forget the whole thing. Honestly, it would be much simpler, we’d have a lot more fun, and no one would be up all night baking cookies. Win-win. Not only that, but in our new global workplace it’s time to recognize that there are a growing number of people who don’t celebrate Christmas, so let’s just stop the pretense already. I was raised Catholic, but quite frankly if Christmas ended tomorrow I’d be the first one to celebrate. Seriously.

And could we PLEASE get over the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” crap? Let people say whatever the hell they want, and take it as a general expression of their well wishes for the holidays. Seriously, do we REALLY need to get our panties in a bunch about this? I’m an agnostic, but I don’t spend twenty minutes bitching out the Salvation Army guy in front of K-Mart for saying Merry Christmas. In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?” It’s CHRISTMAS, people. The season (supposedly) of brotherly love and tolerance. Could we maybe show some? Sheesh.