Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Christmas Nazi's....

With Christmas approaching I thought that it would be a good time to discuss the Christmas Nazi.  We all know at least one of them, they're the people who so closely control every facet of the Christmas experience that by the time Christmas rolls around there are at least a half dozen people plotting to kill them; grandma getting run over by a reindeer was no accident.  They do all of this because Christmas is all they have to look forward to, but they fail to realize that with each passing year they just make the prospect of another Christmas with them more unbearable for those around them.  They get a lot of joy out of Christmas while at the same time sucking the joy out of everyone around them; they’re the black holes of the holiday season.  Okay, maybe they're not that quite bad, but they are annoying.

Christmas Nazi's are a pretty regimented group of people and have a mental checklist of what they want done and when.  They insist that the tree and decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving, denying their loved ones the joy of being trampled to death at a Wal-Mart Black Friday sale.  They put lives in danger by insisting that no matter how steep the roof, there must be lights.  They insist that all of the yard ornaments be placed in just the right location for optimal road side viewing and they place our safety in jeopardy by making us stand in the middle of the road to ensure that everything is just so.  And, of course, they stand at the window watching what the neighbors are doing to ensure that their yard has the most crap.

Someone at work sent me an IM today about a discussion that she overheard from another group.  One of the office Christmas Nazi's, and we're cursed with several, was complaining about not having a tree and wondering why someone had failed to take care of that yet.  You see, the Christmas Nazi has all of these rules and expectations, but they're usually not the one to do the work, they have people for that. 

One of our Christmas Nazi's actually spent a thousand dollars to have someone put her lights up for her.  At the end of the season, which for the Christmas Nazi seems to be sometime in July, these well paid people will return, take the lights down and store them until next year.  It's easy to feel festive when it isn't your butt hanging 15 feet off the ground.

I'm the antithesis of the Christmas Nazi; if given the choice I would never put up a tree or decoration of any kind.  One year I didn't put a tree up until Christmas Eve and only did so then under protest.  Christmas decorations at our house don't hang around long either, every year I pack up the decorations as soon as the presents are opened; by 8 AM on Christmas Day the only sign of Christmas you'll see at my house is the discarded wrapping paper and empty boxes bulging out of our garbage can. 

Every year I store the decorations more carelessly too, I started off packing them away neatly and then putting the boxes into neat stacks too, but last year I found that if I stood just right and put the right arc on it I could throw everything up in the attic and never even have to go up there.  Yes stuff get’s broken, but it’s much more efficient.  My wife has mentioned a couple of times how Christmas stuff doesn’t seem to be made as well as they used to be and that it’s amazing that they’re only out for 2 days a year but still tear up so quickly.  The bad thing for me is that I have already maximized my storage efficiency; I may have to just start throwing everything out into the yard when I’m done for the year.

Christmas Nazi’s forget that Christmas isn’t about how many lights you have in your yard or when you have your Christmas tree up.  It isn’t about how many festive Christmas sweaters you wear or how many family, friends and co-workers you can force feed with Christmas spirit.  It isn’t about playing Christmas music 24/7, which forces others to listen as well.  Christmas, to me, is about ROI, or Return on Investment.  If I spend $5 on your Christmas gift and you spend $50 on mine, my ROI is $45 and I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say that is a fabulous Return on Investment.  Every year I have to remind myself of why we go through this pain every year, and that’s for the stuff that people give us.  My tip for those that have to suffer with a Christmas Nazi is that a swift kick to the neck may not kill them, but it will put them out of commission for awhile.

There are 16 days until Christmas, so spike the eggnog, avoid sharp objects, and enjoy the rest of the holiday season, the Christmas Nazi’s out there certainly will.

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