J- I was feeling somewhat adventurous the other day, so I decided to get a jump on my Christmas shopping to avoid the last-minute feeding frenzy at the mall. It gets so crazy in there, everyone fighting for their turf and toys. It’s survival of the fittest, and I’m not nearly as fit as I used to be!
M– I remember hearing my mother whisper to a friend, “I do all the work and the running around and jolly ol’ St. Nick gets all the credit.” Literal child that I was, I imagined she was hoofing it to the North Pole and moonlighting as an elf after tucking us in at night.
J- Yes, as a former elf myself, I can honestly say that it’s exhausting, especially when you have to stay up till 3 o’clock in the morning assembling bicycles and mini kitchens that have 2,000 parts to them. You might as well be putting together the Hubble telescope. But wait! No worries! They do come with the handy-dandy 25-page booklet of instructions to ease your pain. I have to admit though, that the look of shock and awe on their little faces on Christmas morning is worth it all – even if you’re looking at them through half- crossed eyes due to lack of sleep.
M- Christmas craziness was a major factor in my decision to convert to Judaism. As a child I equated Christmas with guilt. I felt guilty for killing a tree, guilty for feeding Santa cookies and milk when doing so could cause him to have a heart attack (like our neighbor), and guilty for receiving presents when, according to Sally Struthers, “for just pennies a day…” I could be saving children in Third World countries. The only joyful moment of Christmas for me was running downstairs to discover the nearly empty water bucket I’d put out for Santa’s thirsty reindeer. I thought that was a true miracle. And now, as a Jew, I feel guilty for feeling peaceful during the holidays when everyone around me is crazed. Perhaps I need some therapy!
J- Guilt is not something that I usually struggle with during the holidays. Frustration and hostility are the two emotions that simmer beneath the surface of my seemingly calm exterior. I try to be jolly, it’s true. But there’s just always so much to do – and so little time to do it in. I understand that everyone is stressed. I am, too. But why are they so aggressive? Stop giving me the stink-eye. I’m morphing into Scrooge! The other day at the mall, I had a close encounter of the third kind. When I returned to my car, I discovered that “Snooki” had taken off half of my front bumper. She had tried, unsuccessfully, to parallel park in front of me. When I calmly pointed out the damage to her, and asked for her information, she glared at me from behind her enormous shades and from beneath her enormous hair and spat… “You’re in New Yawk. It’s a fenda-benda. Get used to it!”…Bah Humbug, “Snooki!”
M- Did you know that bah humbug literally means “hoax?” And while I wish Snooki and those other reality “stars” were hoaxes, I fear they’re all too real. Thanks to the 2007 Writers Guild strike, we’ve digressed from well-written comedies to trashy, catty reality shows and in the process have exposed America’s dirty little secrets to the world. The digression is a bit like Christmas. How did we go from celebrating the birth of Jesus to a three-month shopping frenzy that includes sporting hideously ugly holiday sweaters, elves working 24-7 at the North Pole in defiance of child-labor laws and then culminates with flying reindeer and a strange man sliding down our chimney flues in the dead of the night?
J– I know! All year long we train our kids not to talk to strangers and then we try and stick them on some weird-looking, chubby guy’s lap at Christmas and expect them not to go bonkers. Meanwhile, the poor mothers are left completely stressed out trying to capture that “Kodak moment.” Oh by gosh, by golly, what we put ourselves through.
Snow Globes! Whenever the holidays get me down, I log on to YouTube and watch “Pixar’s Knick Knack.” That ingenious (some might say horny) snowman just kills me! (M)
Those funny Christmas sweaters (sorry, Martha), especially the ones that light up and have bells on them. They crack me up. And I’ve never, ever, witnessed anyone being “Grinchy” while wearing one. (J)
Fruitcakes! I like that they’re soaked in spirits but there’s something really wrong about adding red and green “candied fruit” to anything you plan on ingesting. (M)
People, who after exiting a revolving door, stop abruptly on the other side, trying to decide where they want to go, oblivious to the fact that there might be other people still revolving around in there who will want to exit, too. I had to revolve myself around three times the other day before I got to get out. (J)
Email Class & Sass at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Martha and Jen on Facebook at Jennifer Pappas Wag Writer.