I’ve been waging (a completely ineffectual) war on Christmas for 20 years, and I don’t care who knows it. I hate the jingle bells. I hate the sweaters. I hate the songs. I hate that sucky columnists fling around the phrase “Yes, Virginia, there is a _______ (gadget that slices mangos,” government conspiracy,” war on Christmas,” etc) and act all like they’ve just earned their 10-cents-a-word.
I hate the traffic jams around all the shop entrances that impede my access to barbecue or tacos.
I don’t send cards. I don’t hollowly intone the reciprocal “Merry Christmas” to total strangers who could give a fuck if I am merry or not. I don’t even give presents. Usually I just dispatch $500 to some seemingly deserving charity, inform the fam that somebody in Zimbabwe now owns a cow with our name on it, and call it a day (the aforementioned fam pretends to be deeply moved by this sporting gesture, but in two minutes they’ve forgotten all about it).
Until this year. Man-o-man, what came over me? Why did I even think about buying gifts? Because, see, my gifts stress people out. This year, for example, to augment the thrill of the Zimbabwe cow, I gave my mom what I thought was a foolproof present: three pairs of fantastic fluffy socks from Title 9. She thanked me, but expressed her anxiety that these socks are so fluffy she doubts she’ll be able to wear them. In other words, she actively disliked these excellent fluffy socks.
She gave me a coral-pink warmup suit. In cashmere. I could be wrong, and I will of course consult the Manolo before doing anything rash, but it looks like I now require a pair of gold lamÃ© Chanel sneakers and a condo in Boca.
One of the more touching aspects of Christmas is the way the cozy warmth of the holly-jolly season occasions extra violence against women. Staffers at Indiana women’s shelters are steeling themselves for an upsurge as two of patriarchy’s most beloved ideologies–misogyny and consumerism–clash at this magical time of year. The result, in terms of battered women, is described as “a spike in domestic violence incidents as tensions over finances and other stresses intensify.” You know. When your wife spends too much on cheap crap from China, or when your mom berates you in front of the whole family, or when your white male privilege generally fails to live up to the hype, just break your bitch’s jaw.
The corollary, which explains the eerie phenomenon of empty shelters on Christmas, is even creepier. “Some women” quoth a shelter director, “decide to endure abuse on Christmas because they want their children to be home for the holiday.” Indianapolis cops predict that after this lull the regularly scheduled violent outbursts will “escalate during the post-holiday letdown.”
Triumph of marketing: the Xmas consumer orgy is so profoundly integral to the American sense of, I don’t know what, middle class identity maybe, that women are willing to get beat up so their kids can enjoy the frenzy. And this colossal American Xmas narrative is so mesmerizing there’s even an official “letdown” afterward. A letdown wherein the crushing reality of one’s drinking problem or the unattainable hotness of a coworker’s wife or the unpayability of one’s bills all comes flooding back, requiring one to beat the crap out of one’s wife.
Ho fucking ho.