Articles and Features

The Holiday Season

Week of December 21, 1997

A frenzy starts every year at this time in the United States. I like to think that other countries don't have this problem, but considering that Christmas has been around since the year 336, well before the United States was a glimmer in Spain's eye, I'm sure other countries endure the madness also. I think there are two things that irritate me the most about this season: traffic and the holiday's duration.

Trying to go anywhere is compounded with difficulty during the Holiday Season because so many people are out getting Christmas presents, but that irritation is minor compared to the sight of Christmas ornaments and paraphernalia at Halloween time. As I've said in the past, Halloween is my favorite holiday. To see it consumed by the Christmas season bothers me to no end. I think that's why I love the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. In that movie, Christmas gets eaten by Halloween, as it should.

The following are some humorous quotes about one of my least favorite holidays.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukka' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukka!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'"
Dave Barry, Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide
"May our nation continue to be the beakon of hope to the world."
The Quayles' 1989 Christmas card.
Not a beacon of literacy, however.
"The parent who gets down on the floor to play with a child on Christmas Day is usually doing a most remarkable thing -- something seldom repeated during the rest of the year. These are, after all, busy parents committed to their work or their success in the larger society, and they do not have much left-over time in which to play with their children."
Brian Sutton-Smith
"I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping."
Steven Wright
"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments."
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1732-57
"People can't concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces properly if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December."
Ogden Nash, 'Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!', I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1938
"If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work."
William Shakespeare, The First Part of Henry IV, 1597-98
The best reason The Holiday Season should start December first instead of October first, in my opinion.
For more information about Christmas, try these links:
  • Christmas Unwrapped - The History Channel's exhibit on Christmas.
  • The following books and tapes are available through
    • The Nightmare Before Christmas VHS Tape - This masterpiece of animation from the mind of Tim Burton tells the tale of Jack, the Pumpkin King and resident of Halloween Town. In an effort to show his fellow citizens the wonders of Christmas, he steals Christmas and kidnaps Santa. The perfect revenge for a holiday that has already consumed Thanksgiving and is well on the way to eating another, beloved holiday. Great price from for $13.49!
    • 4000 Years of Christmas : A Gift from the Ages Hardcover by Earl W. Count, Alice Lawson Count, Dan Wakefield (Introduction) - A historical look at this holiday and its pagan origins.
    • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Hardcover by Barbara Robinson - This is considered a children's book, and in fact, that's when I read it, but it is such a wonderful story, that I feel compelled to recommend it. The Herdmans are a family of miscreants who had never heard about the Christmas story, yet take over the Christmas pageant. Despite the worries of the church-going folk, it turns out to be just as the title implies. Placing myself in the role of the Herdman family (we didn't celebrate Christmas when I was a child), I cried when I read this book.
    • New Wave Christmas Audio Music CD by Various Artists - Great Christmas music for the few of us that enjoyed the music of the eighties. It includes: Mary Xmess by Sun 60, Shouldn't Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas by Wall of Voodoo and, my favorite, One Christmas Catalogue [Too Many] by Captain Sensible. I went to every record store in the city searching for this thing last year, but you can get it from for $8.39.
  • I Hate Bloody Christmas! - A well-written treatise on the decadence and uselessness of the holiday. It is difficult to read because of the oddly colored background, but aside from that, a perfect Bah Humbug proving that Great Britain has the same problems as the United States.
  • Christmas in NYC - A bare-faced look at the commercialism and decadence of a holiday gone mad.
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