We are now in the holiday season, a time of year when multiple holidays have become so prevalent they begin to merge together into one big two month long holiday. Some people respond to this by insisting everyone say “Merry Christmas” to them and taking great offense when this doesn’t happen. These people call this time of year “The War on Christmas”. If it were a little more like an actual war, with guns and bombs and tanks and such, it might be kinda cool, but as it is, the name does not live up to the hype.
I take a slightly different approach. Over the past few years I and others have been referring to this time of year as “HallowThanksMas”, as a way of indicating the merging of three of the larger holidays of the season. But, even this is insufficient, as there are far more than just three holidays. Let’s take a holiday moment and look at them all…
Not a holiday, per se, but it is rapidly becoming the new beginning of the HallowThanksMas season. This is the day Walmart first puts out their Christmas decorations.
October 31st, the official beginning of HallowThanksMas. This is the night our children get dressed up in costumes and go door to door begging for candy. It celebrates the twin values of childhood obesity and panhandling.
All Saints Day
The day after Halloween. No one celebrates this day. Except maybe Catholics. Maybe. Once upon a time.
Dia de los Muertos
Also the day after Halloween. This is still mostly celebrated by those of Latin American descent, but the anglos are starting to take notice. I predict Dia de los Muertos will quickly become the new Cinco de Mayo, what with anglos becoming increasingly disillusioned with Cindo de Mayo once they learn it is not, in fact, Mexican Indpendence Day, but instead celebrates a small but significant defeat of the French. After all, if we celebrated every time the French lost, we’d be celebrating all year long.
Blackout Wednesday / Drinksgiving
The day before Thanksgiving. This day has replaced New Year’s Eve as the night non-alcoholics get blackout drunk and do stupid things. Fun fact: This holiday was once sponsored by Four Loco.
The last Thursday of November. After the previous night of over-drinking, we celebrate a day devoted to over-eating. The traditions include preparing gigantic poultry-based meals while hungover, watching Detroit lose a football game, arguing about cranberry sauce, throwing shade at relatives, both present and absent, slipping into a life threatening food coma, and preparing one’s Black Friday battle strategy for the following day. Some traditionalists even include a giving of thanks, but this has become increasingly optional and downright passe.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is the first of four annual shopping holidays. If there was ever a holiday that resembled a “war on” anything it is Black Friday. This is the day, immediately following the day we gave thanks for the wonderful bounty that is our life of plenty, when we go out and beat perfect strangers to death for a flat screen TV. This is both the largest shopping day of the year, and the day with the most small appliance related rectal injuries of the year.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the second of the shopping holidays. Local Saturday is an attempt to encourage shoppers to shop local. It does not work, as most people who actually would shop local are instead spending their day visiting friends and relatives in the hospital due to their Black Friday related rectal injuries. This holiday will soon pass the way of All Saints Day, nothing more than an interesting relic of a kinder time.
The Monday after Thanksgiving, the third of the shopping holidays, this one devoted to online shopping. This holiday was born of necessity, back in the dark ages when people only had Internet access at work. While this is no longer true, the holiday continues as a fun productivity-killing tradition. Why go shopping from the comfort of your home when you can do it on the clock instead. By the way, tradition says you are not allowed to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so choose wisely.
December 24th, the night before Christmas, and the final of the annual shopping holidays. While the previous three were devoted to online shopping, local shopping, and full combat shopping, Christmas Eve is the day for panic shopping. Christmas Eve is the reason, and the only reason, that drug stores sell perfume and clock radios. It is also a time for gathering, drinking a little too much, and letting the kids open just one present, so they will finally shut the hell up about it and stop harshing your eggnog and wine induced buzz.
December 25th, the big one. This is the day everyone has been telling you that you must mention by name when wishing others well on any of the previous holidays. It is the only holiday allowed to use the word “Merry”, all others must make do with less jovial “Happy”. It is the day we celebrate keeping our consumer driven economy afloat for just one more year by giving toys to kids, and worthless do-dads to everyone else. There is also a religious element to the day, as about five or six deities all claim this as their birthday, so… Happy Birthday Santa!
December 26th. That weird day Canadians celebrate that no one else understands.
Hanukkah / Chanuka
Sometime in December, nobody really knows for sure. Also, nobody really knows how it is spelled, which is kinda nice, because any guess at it is pretty much valid. From what I understand, Hanukkah is the Jewish version of Christmas, only without a baby Jew in a barn. Also the presents are spread out over eight days because of this eight candle candelabra thing. The presents are a little different as well, consisting mostly of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. I will admit, for some reason the chocolate does taste better when shaped like a coin.
Sometime in November or December or January, again nobody really knows for sure, but at least we can agree on the spelling. Ramadan is like the Muslim version of Christmas, only without anything even remotely like Christmas, and instead you can’t eat or drink during the daylight hours. They were smart putting this holiday in the winter months.
New Years Eve
December 31st, the last day of the year. This used to be the night everyone got drunk, but that is no longer fashionable, especially since the advent of Blackout Wednesday. So instead we face the end of another year, facing an uncertain future and our own impending mortality with all of the fear and regret as before, but now without the alcohol. I recommend skipping this one.
New Years Day
January 1st, the first day of the year. This used to be the day we watched the college football championship, but for reasons no one understands that no longer happens until a few days later. Activities include: eating black-eyed peas, for some reason, and pledging to join a gym, because dammit this is the year. Personally I recommend drinking the booze you skipped the previous night, and listening to the Black-Eyed Peas.
January 6th. Another one just for the Catholics. I think it’s like a Catholic Boxing Day. In some areas it is celebrated by having young boys dive into really cold water to retrieve something. For the rest of us, it means it is the last acceptable day to drag that Christmas Tree out to the curb.
I don’t know, I wanna say January sometime, or maybe March? No one takes Kwanzaa seriously because it’s so new, but I say that’s not fair. All holidays were new at some time right? Plus we’ve adopted other new holidays, like Blackout Wednesday. Yeah, honestly I don’t know anything about Kwanzaa, but I am all for adding a new holiday, even if people will insist on saying “Merry Christmas” to it.