So apparently I’m the pie-eyed optimist of the group; caroling and going on about good will towards men and holiday cheer? I’m the one who’s not the bitter bastard?
Frankly, I’m not comfortable with that position.
But I have to admit, even though I’m generally a sarcastic jerk, I love Christmas. It gives everyone an excuse to be a little less caustic, a little more considerate of others, and unapologetically cheerful in a time when unfettered happiness is viewed as a sign of mental deficiency.
It’s also a time when I can drink a quart of fermented egg juice, throw in a pint of rum, and blame it on the season. Christmas, people!
I don’t like violence, Rudolph. I’m a businessman.
#3: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is some fucked up shit. We have an animal with a horrific physical deformity, who is bullied and tormented by his peers, to the point where he exiles himself to a land of equally disturbed and disturbing individuals. Seriously – Hermey the wanna-be dentist elf? Yukon Cornelius who spends an disturbingly high amount of his screen time licking his pick axe? You know that the animators were smoking something potent to have cooked that up. Though the part of me that had watched “Godfather” 20 or 30 times by the time I was 15 appreciated the fact that my boy Hermey ripped out the fucking Abominable Snowman’s teeth without anesthetic to set him straight. Forget Rudolph and his glowing freak show nose, that thing’s probably radioactive; Hermey has a jar full of Snowman teeth to show how far he’ll go to save Christmas.
#2: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is just…it speaks to me. There’s a sarcasm and a meanness to it that gets a total 180 into schmaltzy treacle by the end; but I forgive it every year for taking me there. The thing is I get the Grinch. The Whos down in Whoville are a bunch of capitalistic, self-righteous jerks who probably staged the entire sing-a-long at the end of the show just to get their shit back. I want the Grinch to win because I’m the guy glaring at the “Reason for the Season” bumper sticker on the car in front of me and rolling his eyes whenever Burl Ives comes Holly Jollying along on the radio. I love Christmas; but I love my Christmas and I’m convinced that everyone else just has an agenda. So the Grinch grounds me a bit. My heart sure as Scrooge isn’t growing three sizes; but it reminds me of an important lesson: don’t fuck with rich people on Christmas. They’ll watch you fall off a mountain with their stuff and, instead of helping you, sing the whole damn time.
#1 “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is my number one Christmas treat every year because, Goddamn, growing up, this was my Christmas every year. Starting Thanksgiving night, and stretching to December 25, the entire month was a barely held together pastiche of stress, scheduling snafus, and household disasters (I was shocked by that shitty plastic tree on the hi-fi unit every. damn. year. until I was in college). Clark Griswold’s manic, practically homicidal, desire to give his family the perfect Christmas is instantly recognizable. And the movie expertly captures the collision of self-centered family dynamics in the world’s most tenuously connected Venn diagram, with this crappy Charlie Brown tree at the center (lotta sap!). I always loved it because it was so completely over the top, but I could still see the truth at the heart of it; the insanity that we subject ourselves to in the name of The Season. “Christmas Vacation” goes ahead and voices our darkest worries for us so that we can laugh along and say “At least we’re not THAT bad…yet.”