Source: Sherman Publications

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Second opinion - December madness

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

December 21, 2011

By Gabriel Ouzounian

The holiday season is here and good cheer is seemingly everywhere.

Families are spending time together, enjoying good food, shopping for gifts and reflecting on the things that matter most – the people they care for and love.

Or, you know, the newest Modern Warfare video game.

If my snarky tone did not make the transition from page to brain, here is the sentiment - I despise the holiday season. From start to finish, it is one long greed-fest that brings out the worst in people who are otherwise respectable members of society.

My ire starts with Christmas music, which seems to have started in September this year. Incessant is the only word that can describe hearing Feliz Navidad for the fifth time in six hours. By the time the holiday songs final fade from the airwaves, we have all memorized every word to every ode to Christmas, including the inanity of Here comes Santa Claus.

Seriously where is Santa Clause Lane and why is it profound in anyway?

The holiday madness actually starts before the summer ends. Kids are being promised bigger, better and more expensive toys, couples are being pressured into buying their dearest a new Lexus or jewelry and citizens everywhere begin dreading the money sink that is holiday shopping.

The only comfort is knowing Thanksgiving – a truly great holiday for contemporary reasons not historical - is right around the corner. The purpose of the holiday is that it has no express purpurpose but to relax. No expectations, no massive purchases outside the food - just merriment.

But, as soon as the turkey is eaten, consumerism rears its ugly head with Black Friday.  Since when has this become a national holiday? Consumers truly lose their dignity on the day, as young and old do everything in their power, including bodily harm to strangers, to get that last gift at $5 off.

As Christmas draws near and Mother Nature turns the weather nasty, we skitter around frantically like ants from store to store. Last minute shoppers, now on their Christmas break (if they're so fortunate to get one), are more stressed than ever and it's contaigiuous.

The cashiers, working Christmas Eve and being berated within an inch of their life, too turn nasty. The ripple of dreariness is palpable, and the colorful decorations serve only as a sour reminder of what the holiday was meant to mean.

Then you have those who are so dismally unfortunate to have family members and loved ones with birthdays and anniversaries from October through January. As if Christmas alone was not enough, now etiquette dictates that you gut your bank account to appease those you love and sometimes those you are required to "love." The bitterness is indescribable.

Christmas morning comes and those with small children or the dreaded "morning person" squint tiredly from their bloodshot eyes to a sun that hasn't even risen yet. These weary people lumber down the stairs and for one pure, brief moment, everything is wonderful.

Coffee is served, the joy on children's faces is smile-inducing and that feeling one gets when the gift they purchased is truly appreciated borders on addictive. The room is scattered and messy with wrapping paper and boxes, but no one cares.

Breakfast smells begin to waft in and for the more fortunate among us, mimosas are served. This is Christmas.

But time is a cruel mistress and soon it is off to relatives houses on the icy roads with complaining mouths agape. Etiquette is again required, pajamas are no longer acceptable attire and the attention you would rather be giving to one person or thing is being demanded everywhere from every direction.

The holiday is hectic again and what was meant to be a vacation has become more stress-inducing than even the most viscous deadline. This sentiment carries just until the New Year.

I guess my point is if the holiday is stressful, it's not a holiday - it's a chore. Worst of all, this is the kind of job that takes away money and incites hatred of those around you. For some, the brief moment of clarity on Christmas morning is worth it, but why can this not happen without presents or massive, blatant, disgusting consumerism at its finest?

This bliss happened just last month. It was called Thanksgiving.