As the Christmas season begins (well, it may be the first of December, but really, the season has been in full swing since just after Halloween, if you pay any attention to television commercials), the time is upon us for my annual 'how much do I hate Christmas' rant. It's that time of year when I complain about Christmas carols, bemoan the lines at the store, and bitch about the parking at the mall.
There are just two problems. First, I've covered this all before. It's not like it would be a grand revelation, and the jokes would mostly be recycled hash (I would definitely revisit the one about time-traveling to kill Bing Crosby). As much fun as it is to write an annual reminder about how much I despise Christmas in general, it would probably be more effective to just link to one I wrote a year ago.
The second problem is even more pertinent - I'm not really that upset about Christmas this year. I don't know what happened. Maybe the Ghost of Christmas Later stopped by and persuaded me in my sleep, so that I would run out and buy turkeys for everyone and cure the little crippled boy up the street (except that I can barely afford my own turkey, and I don't know any cripples, and I don't like turkey). Maybe I'm getting more tolerant as I age, though I find that particularly difficult to believe. Or maybe - and this is the most likely answer - being broke has freed me from my need to buy some worthless trinket for everyone I know, and so now I can just enjoy the pretty lights. We've already got a couple strands hanging in the living room, and they're really very nice.
It's confusing me, to be honest. Every year I dread the oncoming season, knowing that I will soon be feeling the pressure to get my wife something amazing, that I will be expected to appear jolly at the office Christmas party, that I will be subjected to hour after hour of relentless caroling. But this year, I didn't really care. I know I'll get something for my wife and kids, send out a card to my mom and dad, and completely ignore my extended family - but where that used to cause anxiety, for no reason I can completely understand, I just don't care.
Don't get me wrong - I haven't suddenly begun to actually enjoy all the Holiday crap. I still get annoyed when every single freaking thing I see has snowflakes glued on it. I have no greater tolerance for car commercials with jingle bells than I did last year (although, thanks to the wonder of DVR, I don't actually have to watch those commercials any more). And I still really don't like all the damned Christmas songs. While I'm at it, I'm not going to watch any inspiring tales of faith and joy on the Lifetime channel, because I would rather scoop out my eyes with a melonballer.
But I am starting to see cubicles wrapped in green paper, Christmas ornaments hanging from rearview windows, and people wearing ridiculous red hats, and unlike previous years, they just don't faze me like they used to do. I'm not planning on getting into the spirit of the season and wearing festive turtlenecks, but for the first time in more than a decade, I don't really mind if anyone else does.
I am looking forward to Christmas morning. I don't think I'm actually getting anything cool - my family doesn't have any more money than I do - but I love the quiet day and the tasty meal. I love spending that day with my wife and kids, especially because I usually start that particular morning with two shots of Johnny Walker Black and take a nap after lunch (sometimes, I take a nap shortly after the two shots of Johnny Walker).
So I hate to disappoint, but this year will not feature any angry grandstanding about the evils of mall Santas or the overwhelming desire to pummel a small child in the Target toy aisle. This year, I'll just review some games, and if I do anything cool, I'll let you know. Hell, I might even make a top ten list, or some game recommendations, or some other stupid thing like every other game reviewer on the Internet.
Before you know, I'll be taking my kids to get pictures with Santa. Considering my kids are in high school, though, that could be awkward.