Christmas is back. Deal with it.

December, 2012

All of a sudden, like an unexpected rerun of "A Christmas Story," it’s that time again. The weather outside is frightful, never mind that only a couple of weeks ago we were in 80 degree sunshine. Meantime, we’re being gently, but persistently, reminded that retail corporations are people too, and they really need us to spend all the money we ran out of during the year and buy more than we can afford. First it was Black Friday, which started somewhere between the turkey and pumpkin pie on Football Thursday. That’s the day we gave thanks for our dysfunctional families before asking them what they wanted. Even your humble columnist found himself in the middle of a Friday shopping mob, gasping for air and crawling to the nearest exit.

Then we got snookered by Buy Local Saturday. That was a new one on me but Erin Clark said it was the thing to do, and she’s on TV. Many of us dutifully ran to Oldtown to cheerfully buy perfect gifts that would’ve been cheaper online. Then along came Cyber Monday when we neglected those same local shops to jump online anyway and order stuff we couldn’t find at the mall because they were sold out before dawn on Black Friday. At least we can take comfort in the fact that we spent more money than we had in order to keep all the promises we’d made to those troubled relatives. Sort of like the government.

But that’s the way it goes. People are content to shop where and when they’re told and do what’s expected. Politicians figured out long ago that the masses can easily be manipulated as long as they have plenty of bread and circuses. I hope it wasn’t Wonder Bread but I’m glad the football circuses are there to take the edge off holiday groupthink at this festive time of year.

Take the blind conformity of Raider Fan for instance. For years, the local riffraff have made Salinas a bastion of the Raider Nation. Hard to figure, since Raider Fan has had so little comfort and cheer for decades, and it looks like they’ll be home for the holidays again. Otherwise reasonable Salinas gang bangers and wannabes see drunken, screaming freaks decking the Black Hole with boughs of folly, demanding respect for silver and black war paint on the way to yet another unnoticed defeat. But that’s life in the ‘hood, I guess. Nice paint but it’s up on blocks and runs like a lump of coal.

While we’re on the football circuses, ho ho, San Jose State fans, how about them Spartans going 10-2 and making it to the storied Military Bowl? A white Christmas in freezing DC may not be the Granddaddy Rose Bowl, but it’s certainly his newly enlisted nephew. And how about Coach MacIntyre, now being eyed by other schools? You’re finally winning and everybody wants to put your coach under their tree. Maybe in college football at least, the reward really is the destination and not the journey after all, especially if the journey was just Santa passing through your alma mater on the way to his next delivery. 

Tis the season alright but football, retailers, gang bangers and politics won’t matter a fig if the Biggest Day of All, Doomsday, happens according to those pesky Mayans. They predicted that we’ll be out of time in a couple of weeks but their calendar looks harder to decipher than Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos, so who knows. The laugh will be on us if the retailers grab all our dough and leave us holding the bag when it’s time to pay off our fines in the Big Holiday Party in the Sky. There, you’ll have to stand on your own, they don’t accept credit and the people on TV can’t tell you what to do. But isn’t that what Christmas is all about, after all?