Scrooge McGrouch trash-talks Christmas

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman January 12, 2015 09:58

santa-hatNow that it’s three weeks in our collective rear view mirror, is it OK to talk about the holiday season yet? I mean talk bad about it. Written evidence perhaps to the contrary, I’m no Scrooge. But I do have a short list of Yule tidings I can do without:

  1. Santa hats: This is identity theft taken to the absurd extreme. Even before Thanksgiving, millions of Americans – fat ones, thin ones, old ones, young ones, and a whole bunch of other ones who probably wouldn’t think twice about lifting quarters from a Salvation Army kettle – broke out their made-in-China red felt-and-faux fur hats and wore them until 2015 began. By this time, most of us have had it to here with them.

After all, for more than a month we’ve put up with millions of red-hatted wannabe Santas walking through malls, working cash registers, picking up garbage, directing traffic, serving coffee, filing lawsuits, teaching school, driving trucks and much more.

No wonder kids don’t believe in the Jolly Old Elf anymore. Seeing “Santa” on a corner barstool throwing down boilermakers on Christmas Eve (can we call this “Miracle on Washington Street”?) would shake the faith of even – and perhaps especially – Mrs. Claus.

My solution: Require that all Santa hats be made in the good ol’ U.S. by, say, North Face or Marmot. They’d then be of some practical value and would cost so much that there would be far fewer fake Santas out there. Not only that, but the move would cut our massive trade deficit with China by about .00000001 percent – which is at least a start.

  1. Car antlers: Nothing says Christmas like a 2003 Toyota Prius outfitted with a kitschy pair of LED-lit window antlers and a glowing red nose stuck to the front bumper.

Sure, I wish I had thought of car antlers first and had made a fortune off the collective bad taste of the motoring public. But I didn’t, so I’ll instead carp about how stupid they look. I can only conclude that antlering vehicles is a sign of a civilization in very serious decline.

My solution: Pass a vehicle code section making car antlers illegal, and use fine revenue to buy presents for kids whose parents can’t afford to (and who don’t have antlers on their own cars). Or, and I like this one a little better, have the Department of Fish and Wildlife open a season (say Nov. 20 through Jan. 5) on antlered cars. “Check it out,” a successful hunter might brag at a local watering hole. “I bagged a six-point Altima on Parrotts Ferry Road.”

  1. Gift wrapping: The time, energy and cash spent in this pursuit is staggering. There’s the cost of the paper, the afternoons of scissoring and Scotch taping — and then the mere seconds it takes to rip all your work to landfill-ready scraps.

For guys like me, who don’t finish shopping until Christmas Eve and find wrapping more complex than quantum physics, it’s even worse. I paid Pac ‘n’ Copy over at The Junction shopping center 11th-hour prices to wrap my presents. “I don’t know how to do it well,” I stammered to the owner. “But you do know how to delegate,” she consoled.

My solution: Pac ‘n’ Copy and Hallmark aren’t going to like this, but let’s get rid of fancy paper, ribbons and bows altogether. Instead, let’s make newsprint the default wrapping choice.

As a retired newsman, I see it as win-win: You can’t really make newsprint look that good, so guys like me would quit trying – or paying other people to try for us. And newspapers around the country would print thick, expensive pre-holiday editions to meet the demand for paper – which just might jumpstart our ailing industry.

  1. Late lights: Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for Christmas lights and annually festoon the inside and outside of our place with dozens of multi-colored strings. But I always turn them off before New Year’s Day, when their charm disappears an instant and when NFL football is really the only thing that matters.

My solution: A PG&E surcharge on customers with late-burning lights. It would begin Jan. 2 and escalate through Super Bowl Sunday, when power would shut off five minutes before the game.

Coming to this very spot in a few days: So you won’t think I’m a hopeless Grinch, my very short list of things I actually like about Christmas.

 Copyright © 2015 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman January 12, 2015 09:58
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