I think Christmas is hilarious.
I have certainly had my ups and downs with this holiday over the years, having gone through the obligatory liberal disgust with commercialism and consumerism, and the malaise that is also associated with this season, but this year is just simply funny. It's a great excuse to go into denial over the president's, and more importantly the nation's, problems.
Seeing the behavior of the populace, and myself, stringing little electric lights all over everything that doesn't move and some things that do, rushing madly through shopping malls, standing in line at the post office, trying to finally get that website up by the first of the year. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said a thousand times about Christmas in late late 20th Century America. Besides, it speaks for itself. But this year I've really entertained myself with it, instead of bemoaning the incoherent madness.
I'm an egocentric artist and computer freak, therefore I won't buy prefab Christmas cards. I have to make my own. And these cards must be in color, because I'm vain. But my color inkjet printer is getting lame with the geriatric age of a Hewlett-Packard that is no longer under warranty. So, I have to rent usage of Kinko's color lazer and produce an original that can be duplicated on a color copier. But said copies cost nearly a buck a piece, so you don't run any more than you really think you need at the time. Hence, I've carried this creased but hardy original, in a manila envelope, in and out of four different copy shops with four or five copies at a time, so that I can get everyone mailed that I didn't think about the first time. Today I think I finally got it all covered. Other years I'd've been so pissed off...but this year I just laugh at myself. If you didn't get a hard copy in the mail, please go look at the web version. And if you have a color printer, print it out and hang it with the others you've received. I only have email addresses for some of you. If you did get one in the mail, go look anyway. The photos look better on the web.
Christmas is much maligned by many these days. But the holiday has inspired some tremendous works of art over the centuries, as well as inspiring many a common man or woman. We have Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Handel's Messiah. We also have the beautiful tree ornament that your aunt made 10 years ago, the hand-carved nativity scene that someone's grandfather made when he was young, not to mention the popcorn balls that your neighbor brought over last night. Anything that catalyzes human creativity cannot be wholly condemned in my book. I think some of the advertisements are actually very funny. Saturday Night Live had some of its greatest moments during its Christmas shows. We shouldn't deny the Christmas anti-heroes though: Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge, and of course The Grinch. They allow us to see the two sides of the holiday -- the two sides both of which most of us have felt during one year or another.
This sounds pretty corny, but I believe if you just open up to the "true spirit of Christmas", your creativity will too be awakened. You can wait until next year if you want. It will come before Y2K.
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