The Christmas List

December 20, 1997


I thought tonight I'd write a rant about people who bitch and moan about how Christmas is just a big commercialized holiday and how awful it is and how disgusted they are by the capitalistic crassness of it all. We all know a few people like this, and I've come across a few journals recently complaining about this in the apathetic rhetoric of the ultrahip and socially aware. Yawn. Speaking as an undercover agent of Santa, this tired argument makes me want to bitchslap these feeps with a stocking full of coal. But instead of ranting about it for two pages, I'll just pose a single question to them that should effectively undermine their position if answered honestly: How many of your presents did you refuse last year?

So, speaking of Christmas, the preparations are finally getting underway at the Atkins household. We bought our tree this afternoon and started decorating it tonight while we watched It's a Wonderful Life. We didn't finish the decorating, though, because half the ornaments are hidden in the garage underneath piles of God knows what. We haven't dug them out yet because they're with the house lights I haven't dug out yet, and those aren't up yet because the Christmas spirit has been slow in arriving around here. I've been shopping and all and known it's on the way, but basically Christmas is sneaking up on me and I'm shocked to find it only five days away.

I've had trouble getting into the spirit of the season this year because I've missed most of my usual landmarks. You see, I have an informal list of things that have to happen before I really feel like it's Christmas and many of them haven't happened yet, at least not while I was paying attention. Sure, store decorations have been up since Halloween and Santas have been stalking the malls since mid-November; sure, I've been aware that Christmas is coming, but without my little list it hasn't hit home. Now that I've seen It's a Wonderful Life, it's starting to.

This is the list:
  • On the radio I have to hear...
    • Father Christmas by the Kinks
    • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by Springsteen
    • Another Auld Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg
    • That horrid Band-Aid song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
(I don't listen to that last one, but I have to hear it and change the station.)
  • And on TV I have to see...
    • How The Grinch Stole Christmas
    • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
    • It's A Wonderful Life
    • Frosty The Snowman

(I don't watch Frosty, but I have to stumble across it and change the channel.)

Yes, I know it's weird that there are two things on my list that I don't like but gotta have. If you don't like it, get your own damned list. I'm just saying that these are the necessary conditions for me to have a Cool Yule.

Now, I'm sure all these things have already happened this year, but since I wasn't witness to them they didn't trigger my alarm. In fact, I know Rudolph was on but I wasn't in the mood to watch it so therefore it didn't happen for me, and I missed most of Grinch so it didn't count. (Hey, it's my list, I'll administer it as I see fit, thankyewverymuch.)

I know I'm running out of time, but seeing the movie and putting up the tree in the same night has jump-started me into the proper spirit. I may only have four days left, but I'm going to be like an elf on speed as I deck the halls and fa the la. Tomorrow the wreath goes on the grill of the truck, the lights go up on the house, and I'm going to find my Taco Bell CD of Christmas songs.

And after that, I have to start listening for Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird on the radio. I have a list for New Years Eve, too...





Copyright © 1997
Chuck Atkins