Christmas Extravaganza Spectacular 2009
Good morning! If you’re reading this then it’s either Christmas Day or it’s sometime after Christmas and you’re just slow in keeping up with the site! Because I’m in charge of the content for this website that also kind of means that I’m in charge of the holiday-themed content as well, since it’s all grouped into the same general category of “moderately funny stuff”. Last Halloween I put out Afterlife TV (Revisited), a serious look at Ghost Hunters… and because of a personal emergency I missed Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday (and even Cyber Monday) so now it’s really crunch time for me to pull something out of my ass for Christmas (and likely New Years as well). I’d be lying to you if I said I had a single ounce of a clue as to what I want to write about this holiday season because I don’t, so we’ll just see how that goes. New Years, though, I’ve got that under control: a quick retrospective of this crappy decade appropriately called “The Double Zeroes”. :3
But that’s beside the point, I’ve got a whole week to ponder over this wacky and pathetic decade, it’s all about the jolly red fat man today so I should get busy talking about Christmas…
I thought about it, and I had quite a few ideas for Christmassy articles that I could write. I could write about how commercialized of a holiday it has been and how people needlessly trample others so they can buy crap like Zhu Zhu Pets and either give them to loved ones or sell them on Amazon at 500% markup. I could also write about how pristine and innocent people try to portray Christmas even though in reality family meet-ups end up like a horribly bastardized version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation minus the five million house lights and Randy Quaid. I could even stoop as low as making fun of crappy holiday tie-in products… but all things considered that would really just take the wind out of everyone’s sails if all I did was sit around and be cynical about Christmas.
I’m 21 years old and Christmas has become less of an actual holiday to me and more of a kind of, well, “chore” in a sense. It’s one of those things that just lose their luster the older you get so no I am not going to bash Christmas. In fact I’m going to devote the rest of this entire article to Christmas memories of years past, stories of a less hectic and chaotic time when all you looked forward to was running to the living room and opening presents; not opening presents and then praying you never get the credit card bill for all of that stuff or having Vietnam flashbacks of standing outside of Best Buy at two in the morning waiting for that cheap digital camera.
When I was in elementary school, and I mean early school like first grade or even kindergarten, we always had a half-day on the Friday that started our Christmas break and on that day we had Christmas parties that began extravagantly in kindergarten and then by the time we were in 5th grade it was just punch and cookies and resentment all around because we just wanted to get out of class and go play Pokemon. In the middle of my kindergarten Christmas party we had this little “musical chairs” kind of roulette game where we each had brought a small cheap toy all wrapped up and then passed it around in a circle until the music stopped (it would be the only time they turned that damned Christmas music off the entire day, too). I sat next to my friend William Henry and when the music stopped we all opened our gifts. Some kids got army men, some got cowboy stuff, and some got toy guns (it was 1993). I ripped open the paper to a bag of dinosaurs and internally said the kindergarten equivalent of “bad ass” (which actually is still just “bad ass”), and William Henry tore off the paper to… a farm playset. After seeing everyone else with tanks and jets and guns and me with my sack of tyrannosaurs and velociraptors, he was devastated and started crying… but not that quiet sobbing, no this was a full-on fury of vocalized tears expressing his distaste in rural entertainment of the plastic variety.
I’m not actually sure what happened to William Henry or his farm set, I just remember him leaving the classroom because I’m fairly certain the teacher took him to the office because I can’t think of any other place a teacher would escort a student who bursts into a fit after seeing toy cows and hay.
It doesn’t make a bit of difference where I work because I always end up being the guy who has to wear all of the costumes for whatever occasion because usually it just so happens that they magically only fit me. I’m not sure how this curse was bestowed upon me but it might have began with me seizing the photo opportunity to molest a giant inflatable Sonic the Hedgehog outside of a GameStop in Las Vegas one day because it just so happens I had to wear a giant Sonic the Hedgehog suit when I got my first job… at a GameStop. My friends refuse to let me live that down to this day. What goes around comes around, yeah? I’ve had the miserable experience as dressing up as a vampire for the DVD release of Twilight (I wanted to make like Dracula, the real one, and step into the sunlight when I had to wear that crap) and in the spirit of this article I have been Santa Claus before.Yes, I’ve worn a giant red suit with frills and a hat and a big fake beard and walked around a Blockbuster Video giving kids candy canes and carrying around an unwieldy red bag stuffed full of bubble wrap.
It’s one thing to see Santa Claus jam out on the Guitar Hero kiosk, but it’s another to see ol’ Saint Nick start taking out endcaps of merchandise with his bag of “toys”. By that time I pretty much hated my job at Blockbuster pretty good and was angry enough that I was working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (seriously who the hell rents movies on Christmas just go to the Redbox if you really must) so being able to be on the clock and just screw around as Santa Claus was easily the greatest day I can ever remember at work there… however arriving 15 minutes before my boss one morning only to see her stumble up to the door hungover was pretty funny in retrospect as well. I handed out candy canes and adopted the jolly persona instantly; I played Expert guitar with middle schoolers who initially came in to cause problems and probably steal things but decided that rocking out with Mr. Christmas himself was pretty much the awesomest thing ever. Somewhere out there on someone’s MySpace there’s a picture titled “…::: Me AnD sAnTa PlAy MeTaLlIcA!!1 :::…” and it’s yours truly in a Santa suit and some little punk in a Faith No More shirt both holding Guitar Hero guitars.
But what’s a Christmas nostalgia article without a story of the greatest Christmas gift ever? We all have one of those, that thrill of opening a present and almost exploding in glee. I’m sure throughout all of our Christmases we’ve opened at least 100 presents from all sorts of people, maybe even more than that if you’re older or just have a lot of little gifts, but rest assured there’s always that one single gift that we remember throughout our lives. Travel back in time with me, if you will, exactly 11 years ago to 1998. Yeah, the Pokemon train is totally full speed ahead at this time but do you know who else decided to put his snout in the way during the last few months of that year? A little purple fellow named Spyro the Dragon. On Christmas Day in 1998 I unwrapped a gift that was a brand new PlayStation console. The second gift I opened was a copy of Spyro the Dragon, and to be honest I was just about done after that; I wanted to play my game and be left alone the entire day… mostly because I had just unwrapped a brand new video game console and then of course once I started playing the game the second reason was because I was infatuated with the little guy. I’m not going to say I went all Nintendo 64 Kid over the console but I can’t say I wasn’t excited because the PlayStation pretty much owned (and I had gotten a Nintendo 64 two years prior) and now I had a dragon game to go with it!
Dinner at grandma’s house could wait, and I actually took my game and memory card with me to her house and kicked my uncle off of his PlayStation so I could run around and breathe fire on Gnasty Gnorc’s butt.
If there was a single moment that I’d consider to be the definitive idea of “Christmas” to share with everyone to get/keep them in the holiday spirit it’s that. It’s unwrapping that game and likely making an IRL version of the “:3” face and having your life’s interests basically spelled out for you like a giant sign in the sky. If there was a point in my life where you could say I officially earned my title of “Dracophile” it was precisely 11 years ago to this day, and that’s my Christmas story (speaking of which I’ve been watching that annual A Christmas Story marathon on TBS this year, like I do every year). With that said, from me and everyone else here at GatorAIDS.com we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Stay warm and drink plenty of hot cocoa!