Monday, December 29, 2008

The Three Phases of Christmas

Do you ever wonder why each year when you get ready to decorate for the holidays, you find your Christmas lights wound into what appears to be the world’s largest ball of chewing gum? I have a theory. I think it’s due to what I call the three phases of Christmas.

Phase I happens in late November or early December when you’re channel surfing your car radio to find a decent song. All of a sudden, you hear Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. A smile comes to your face as you realize that Christmas is just around the corner. Soon you get a beautiful Christmas card from an old friend and you remember a Christmas past. Again, you smile!

You write out your Christmas list and begin considering what would make the perfect gift for each of your family and friends. You go shopping early to pick up the gifts for the folks who won’t be home for Christmas. As you approach the store, you hear The Salvation Army bell softly tinkling, and you reach into your pocket to donate a few dollars to those less fortunate.

Phase II happens in mid December when it finally occurs to you that Christmas is HERE! You panic as you begin to wonder how on earth you’ll get everything done before the fat man comes.

You go out to the garage to fetch the Christmas decorations and you’re almost crushed by a gigantic ball of twinkle lights. It takes you days to unravel that mess. While decorating, you come dangerously close to falling off a ladder and breaking your neck. A day later, the jerk next door apparently hires a landscaping firm to decorate his yard, making your exterior illumination look sad by comparison. You’re no longer smiling.

Phase III happens the last weekend before Christmas. You are officially freaked! You go to one of the big city malls and a flock of kiosk operators swarm you like flies on roadkill in August. You get jabbed, poked, pulled, and sprayed with all manner of toiletries and perfume. You walk around smelling like a hooker.

The clerks are so frazzled by ungrateful shoppers that when they say Merry Christmas it sounds more like a snarl. I think what they’d like to say is, “I hope you and your family choke on fruitcake.”

When you get to your car you, discover that you have received a gift that keeps on giving. Apparently, an inconsiderate shopper has unloaded their cart, and rather than park it where it belongs, they simply give it a push down the parking lot where it careens off several vehicles before coming to rest against the door of your car. One thoughtless act - $1200 in ding-damage. Happy Holidays!

By the time Christmas Day arrives, you’re sick of hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” You reduce the possibility of hearing it again by jamming the radio off and tossing the knob out the window. You consider ripping the speakers out of the door but fortunately someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re forced to hurl some obscenities, which takes your mind off the song.

You are so beaten down by the holiday madness that the day after Christmas, you just want it to be over. All you can think about is tossing the tree and getting that junk out of the yard. You go around babbling for hours. You lose all recollection of that day and later, you’re surprised that the decorations made it to the garage.

And…..That’s how your Christmas lights always wind up looking like the world’s largest ball of chewing gum.

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