10 Holiday Pet Peeves

I suppose you could also call this "First World Holiday Problems" which would be apt to describe this.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we are soon to embark upon the stretch of time between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day that is known as the holiday season.

This time is idealized as one for families, being with the ones you love, and making sure that the cold weather doesn't reflect upon your demeanor. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus – it doesn't matter. It's all in the same time period, it's about the spirit of the season, not the technicalities. 

That being said, there are plenty that annoy me about the holidays and the days preceding the holidays. I thought that to celebrate Thanksgiving, I would list of 10 of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to this time of the year. So without further ado, let us begin:

1) Holiday Music on the Radio Before Thanksgiving -- Thankfully, I haven't heard too much of this recently. Most of the radio stations either threw it on their HD stations or have gotten the memo that most people do not like to hear jolly predominantly Christmas music when they're just getting through Election Day. So far only one station has gone all Christmas music and that happened on Friday, which is at least somewhat reasonable. However, it's only a matter of time before we will be bombarded with this non-stop. Even though I still think that after Thanksgiving is still too early for holiday music, I at least can understand it. If you ask me, I prefer it when it's a week or two before Christmastime.

2) Obscenely Terrible Holiday Music -- There are some great holidays songs, don't get me wrong. I love the wistfulness of "Auld Lang Syne", the joyfulness in "What Christmas Means to Me", the powerfulness of "O Holy Night", anything from the Charlie Brown Christmas category, and "Waltz of the Flowers" which is associated with the Nutcracker Suite is one of my all time favorite classical music pieces.

I'm talking about the emotionally manipulative stuff like "The Christmas Shoes", the creepy as hell "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (what exactly IS in her drink?!), and the overly saccharine "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" that bother me. Especially the "Christmas Shoes" which I'll direct you to this rant by Patton Oswalt, which perfectly encapsulates everything I hate about the song. The fact they still play it during Christmastime when it seems like everybody hates the song is just as baffling as why Nickelback is still relevant even though everybody hates them. 

3) Family Holiday SUDs -- I've talked about how I hate Stupid Unnecessary Drama before, so I'll keep this short. Basically everything about the SUDs in normal times is cranked up to 11 when it comes to the holiday season. You throw in the pressures of the holiday season and wanting to make everything perfect for you and the ones you love and throwing in family gatherings and you got yourself one soapy mess. Usually, the SUDs tend to wash away in due time, but god does it get really annoying.  

4) Not Knowing What to Get Someone Gift-wise -- We all have that one friend/family member/co-worker that is just impossible to shop for. You have no idea what would make a great gift for him or her. They either play their interests close to the vest or they play some sort of mind game in which they tell you that they don't want anything but then get all mad when you don't get them anything. Needless to say, the hunt for a gift for these folks is tedious because you feel like you're walking on a minefield with them. You don't want to get them something too simple because then it may not seem like you put thought into it. On the other side of the coin, you don't want to get something too specific because of the outside chance that you misinterpreted their personality. I try to make it relatively simple for most folks. If they get me something relating to video games, baseball, or something really cute or absurd, then I'm on board. Yes, I'm the kind of person who would squeal in delight if I happen to get a Horse Head Mask just for the sheer comedic value. However, I somehow doubt anybody would ever get me that, especially family members. 

5) Black Friday...ish -- I have no idea how this even began. The idea seemed alright in practice. Super savings the day after Thanksgiving. That's a swell idea! It gives people something to do the next day. That's awesome. But then, the opening times for stores got earlier and earlier. The average store opens around 8am or so. Soon, they'd move it up to 7am...6am...5am...and so on. Now we got folks who camp out Thanksgiving Day just to be able to get into WalMart first at 3am to get the best savings and the best products available for their loved ones for the holidays. It's like its own feats of strength -- you're marathoning and sprinting through the aisles of various retail stores while running on caffeine, sleep deprivation and fighting off the effects of tryptophan. That surely can't be that easy. I have nothing but the utmost respect for anybody who works in retail or even places like Dunkin Donuts during these times. And now I hear that they're opening stores at midnight or late Thanksgiving evening? I suppose there's nothing else to do on Thanksgiving night but that's just ridiculous. 

6) The Family Holiday Letters -- Just like we all have that one friend/family member/co-worker who is impossible to shop for, there's also always that one family that has you on their Christmas card list that sends you the Family Holiday Letter. I'll admit I've seen some decent ones, but most of these some of the most obnoxious and Stepfordian things I've ever read. It's the type of thing that other folks point and laugh at us about. As I've said before, I've seen some decent ones that are at least humorous in nature and usually are parodying the whole thing. It wouldn't be so bad if it was just a personalized private letter that talks about all that is happened, but these are impersonal and always come across as a family that is trying way too hard to seem perfect when in reality, families aren't perfect and pristine as you try to make them be. My mom is a notable hater of these holiday letters

7) Pictures With Santa -- Okay this one is a personal thing rather than something universal. I had a bad experience at a Breakfast With Santa event when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was at Monsignor Clarke and my mom took the three of us there. I was having some hot chocolate and someone was flinging their arms around. I forget who it was but what ended up happening was the hot chocolate spilled right on my lap causing me to scream like a banshee who just saw a ghost. I had yet to see Santa in line and I sucked it up long enough to get my picture. We still have that Polaroid somewhere where I'm wearing this purple dress with a giant wet spot where I got the lapful of piping hot chocolate. We went to the doctors afterwards and I got second degree burns on my lap area. Since then, I have always detested pictures with Santa since it would always give me horrifying memories of the burning...oh god, the burning. And no, I didn't sue anybody for it. 

8) The "War on Christmas" mentality -- By this, I mean folks who seem to be offended by the idea that people treat Christmas as a secular holiday or dare to celebrate another holiday if they celebrate at all. I hate this more than I hate Kristen Wiig on SNL. First off, we as a country are predominantly Christian with the majority of Christians being Protestants (though up in here in New England it's Catholics) so a war on Christmas wouldn't even make sense. Secondly, not everybody believes in the same things. Some folks celebrate Chanukah, some celebrate Kwanzaa, some celebrate Festivus, it doesn't matter what you celebrate or don't celebrate. The idea of the holiday season is the same with everybody -- be kind to one another and don't let the cold weather turn you crazy. Also, Christmas has been on the route to secularism for years now. Halloween started off as a religious holiday, which turned into a secular one. Besides, there's some countries out there that celebrate Christmas different. Take Japan. They celebrate Christmas as purely secular where it's treated more like a form of Valentine's Day but with KFC and Santa Claus (seriously, KFC is a Christmas staple in Japan). So what if they don't put religion in the argument? Everybody has their own way of celebrating the holidays no matter which it may be.

9) Christmas Shopping That Isn't Done Online -- I love getting gifts for friends and family. I like putting the thought into it, trying to pay attention to things that they may actually like. I admit that I don't always get it right but I make the effort. I think I'm just a fan of the element of surprise. However, the actual process of going out and getting the gifts out in public. 83% of the time, I tend to find myself damn near losing my patience because someone won't move out of the way so I can grab something they're standing right in front of. Or I get yelled at for getting something before they did and because it was the last one, they get mad. Mostly, it just feels like everybody has an extra dosage of crazy in their meals as the holidays approach. If it wasn't for shipping charges or the fact that on-time delivery isn't a guarantee, I'd stick to mostly online shopping, but alas. 

10) Missing Out on Holiday Specials/Movies That Are Actually Good -- More than ever, I tend to be falling into this trap where I have no idea when a certain Holiday specials/movies is showing on TV and I miss it altogether. While there are a lot of sappy or subpar Holiday Specials but there's some good ones. I love to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles during Thanksgiving but I always seem to miss it when it's on TV. I like A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone to watch for the Christmas stuff. I hate when I miss these ones on TV. Especially with the technology of the DVR, there's no excuse, which is even more frustrating. 

Now this list is done mostly tongue-in-cheek. While I can't stand these things (especially the religious arguments), it doesn't mean I'm an ungrateful brat. No, I have other things that could probably warrant that claim. I actually don't mind the holiday season as much. I may complain, but don't we all? Hopefully you guys have a good beginning of your holiday season and may the rest of it be awesome.  Also, be kind to one another on Black Friday...Thursday...whatever it's called these days. Don't get into too many fistfights.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

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Govstench November 19, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Unfortunately I have been burned out by the Christmas Holidays. When it started after Thanksgiving, it was tolerable - but retailers have ruined it by starting it earlier and earlier each year. I avoid the Christmas music on radio by playing my own CDs and either watch sports or read a book. I will tolerate it on Christmas eve and end it on Christmas night. We go out for Christmas dinner with our close friends but besides a few candles in the windows, which are only up a few days, that is it. I sense this holiday season won't be so great for the stores with an uncertain economic future. Save your money and have a feast with friends!
Emily Chen November 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
As a musician who is on the road 7 days a week, I totally agree with #1 and 2!! I listen to the radio while on the road and plan on switching to my iPod very soon... In regards to the less than desirable songs, can we also include how there are, what feels like, at least 250 versions of Little Drummer Boy (and a lot of other classics) that are ALL terrible?! Ugh! I'm a big fan of celebrating one holiday at a time, please...


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