Monday, December 26, 2016

Santa Trounces Jesus

Santa's got it all over the baby.
As an independent observer with no horse in this race, I must say that the buildup to this Christmas was even less Christmas-y than ever. I can't remember hearing any Christmas music playing anywhere out in public, and we got far fewer cards in the mail, and I never even lucked into a candy cane anywhere, whereas usually I come across a few here and there.

Personally, Jew or not, I baked some Christmas cookies for the local post office and we threw a holiday party for the neighbors, yet I never heard anyone say "Merry Christmas" and I never got one present from anyone, unless you count the handmade red and green potholders my neighbor brought to our party which I guess I should since they were the only gift I received. (Apparently my sister-in-law brought me a bottle of Chianti when she came for dinner a few nights ago but she never actually gave it to me, I only heard about it later on from my husband.)

This is all just leading up to the fact that I was stunned, shocked and somewhat appalled when I went to L. L. Bean's today and saw the veritable throngs of people clustered in long, long lines (reminiscent of those outside the box office for a Stones concert) at the Returns department. Really, the line just snaked on and on, folding in on itself several times the closer you got to the finish. I asked a few people if they were returning Christmas gifts they had received yesterday and every one of them, and some I hadn't even asked but who had overheard my question, shouted out, "Yes!"

So what gives? Are people really bad at buying gifts for their loved ones or do people just return things for the heck of it? Why not keep the thing and say, "Oh this dumb thing, my cousin (or aunt or granny or mom or brother or father or sister or friend) bought it for me one Christmas," and stick it away somewhere, and then after the cousin (or anyone on that list) dies, you'll be glad you did.

And what about The Baby Jesus? Not a peep about him anywhere; Santa gets way more press. In fact, on the highway driving into town today we passed about six of those digital signs posted to warn drivers about accidents and ice and snow, and they were all flashing: SANTA SEES YOU WHEN YOU'RE SPEEDING. Which is funny because it's far more likely that God sees you when you're speeding, but there was no mention of Him anywhere.

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