Holiday Season Part I: A Few of My Favorite Things

I love Christmas…possibly to an annoying degree (definitely if you ask MB).  I love the music, I love the movies, I love the decorations, I love the food, I love the whole holiday spirit.  In fact, even winter (which I hate with every fiber of my being) becomes somewhat tolerable during the Christmas season because everything is just so darn cute!  So, with that in mind, this week kicks off Bread is Pain’s Christmas Season!

First off, I am going to share my favorite things about Christmas in USA.

7)  24 Hour Holiday Radio.  MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  This is the bane of so many people’s existence during the holiday season.

Oh, I think I’ll just flip on the radio….BWAH, Christmas Carols on the pop station, negative, let me try again…Mariah Carey Christmas album?  She isn’t even the right genre for this station; this is the hard rock station.  Maybe Jazz will save me, let me just tune the dia-Bing Crosby?!  COME ON!”

While others desperately try to avoid holiday tunes; I actively search them out.  Midnight on Thanksgiving is a happy happy time for me and those like me because I know at that point there will be at least three, if not more, radio stations that will play Christmas Music 24 hours a day until Christmas.  At no point during this time period do I have to run an errand “festivity-free”; I will always have Nat, Elvis, and Dolly keeping me company and excited about Christmas.  AND as an added extra bonus, I am able to gleefully torture those around me who hate it and what is more Christmasy than that?

6)  Chriskwanzaka.  This just makes me laugh.  It is so purely American.  If you need more info: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chriskwanzaka

5) CRAZY Christmas Lights.  When I was little, one of my favorite things to do during the holidays was to drive around and see all the over-the-top lights people had put up on their houses and now is no different, I still enjoy seeing all the insane displays that people have taken the time to put together.  (“God, it’s not insane, it’s just being really into the holiday spirit and making things pretty for people’s enjoyment, why is she so rude?”)  For instance, there is a house in my hometown that coordinates their outdoor Christmas lights to one of the radio stations (“I take back what I just said that is nutso”).  That’s right, their lights are timed to flick on and off in rhythm to the Christmas music being played on a particular AM station that I guess they highjack every year for this express purpose (Manheim Steamroller if you are curious and yes it is totally freaking awesome).  Each year traffic will be backed up around their house because people stop their cars out front to watch – this is going crazy over Christmas lights but it is also unbelievably fun.

4) Christmas Movies.  When I am in the U.S. during the holiday season there is no end to the amount of Christmas movies that I will watch.  I mean, I love the classics: Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas*; but if I am going to be honest, I’m not that choosy.  I will watch a lifetime original Christmas movie:  She was in an abusive relationship, physically injured, mentally depressed, and emotionally cold…until one foggy Christmas Eve when Rudy became Santa’s only hope and everything changed.  I will also happily sit down and watch a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie:  Their daughter Tammy has leukemia, the bank is foreclosing, and the world’s most unrealistically nice and honest people, the Cratchit’,s are starting to lose hope.  Can a brand new angel trying to find his way in our wacky world save their Christmas Spirit?  Tune in Sunday and then subsequently every day this week to find out.  In the meantime watch this advertisement about a Mother tirelessly working during Christmas and thinking that her family hasn’t noticed only to find the nicest and most sentimental Christmas card in the history of the world left for her by her daughters…then cry for a while and call your Mom, you a-shole.

Point being, I’m not picky, I just want uplifting and possibly stupid Christmas stories all season long.

3) The Salvation Army Santas.  I love spontaneous charity.  If I happen to have a random opportunity to give to a good cause I do it which is one of the reasons that I love the Salvation Army during Christmas time.  There is not a grocery store or mall that you can go to during the holiday season where these hard working volunteers aren’t standing out in frigid temperatures ringing their bells.  This provides me with the opportunity to feel like an awesome and virtuous person every time I run out to buy wine and cigarettes  milk and cookies.  Now, as if feeling morally superior plus getting rid of all of that pesky pocket change (and actual bills if you need an extra dose of superiority…sometimes I do) isn’t enough of a treat our Salvation Army Peeps also don Santa hats and the more occasionally and therefore super exciting full Santa outfit…and let’s face it; it is always great to see Santa.  Which brings me to my next point…except when it’s not…

2) Mall Santas.  When I was growing up in the U.S. during the 80’s we heard a lot about “stranger danger”: “never go anywhere with a stranger, never tell a stranger your name, in fact, screw it, don’t even TALK to them, definitely don’t take candy from them, and if a stranger wants you to sit on their lap then you run**!” 

Enter Santa.

Is it any wonder that we all have photos of ourselves terrified, crying hysterically while possibly wetting our pants on random Santa’s laps?  I mean, while Nancy Reagan was on TV lecturing me about “pushers” and “just say no” at no point did she say, “Except at Christmas, taking candy from that random dude who wants you to sit in his lap it totally cool.”  And apparently, the 21st century is no different.  I would be lying (although a better person) if I said that I didn’t laugh a little bit every time my friends post a Facebook picture of their kid crying on Santa’s lap; I mean, it is crazy, why are we still doing this?  Are their kids that actually like it or is it just to entertain miscreants like me?  Either way, I’m a full supporter of mall Santas…I mean, what would a holiday be without a little creepy mixed in?

1) Egg Nogg.  Egg Nogg is awesome.  In fact, it is so awesome that during the Christmas of 1826, the cadets at West Point smuggled in booze so that they could make their Egg Nogg and subsequently started a riot**.  If you are unfamiliar with this potent and wildly unhealthy drink, let me briefly explain:  egg nogg is a drink consisting of rum or whiskey, heavy cream, a bunch of sugar, about one million egg yolks, and then some seasonings like cinnamon or cloves so that it tastes like Christmas.  It is delicious but is also dangerous for a variety of reasons:  A) It tastes like super good milk so you don’t realize how much booze you are drinking.  B) It has an insane amount of cholesterol, fat, and sugar so it may induce heart failure.  C) As evidenced, it has been known to cause riots.  But you know what?  It is so darn good, I don’t care.  I’ve always said there should be more cholesterol in alcohol.

So, there you have it, a few of the things that I miss about being back Stateside during the holidays.  Next week, I’ll give you a list of the things that I love about being in France for the holidays.

What are your favorite holiday things?

*Speaking of, did they change the Charlie Brown voices?  Someone told me they did and I am horrified.  It’s like when they tried to colorize Citizen Kane and Orson Welles said “Don’t touch my film with your crayolas!”  Don’t mess with Orson Welles and NEVER mess with Charles Schultz!

** I am not making this up:  http://www.army.mil/article/49823/The_Eggnog_Riot/  I am also not making this up: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande22.html  Americans don’t take kindly to people messing with their booze.

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22 Responses to Holiday Season Part I: A Few of My Favorite Things

  1. Brea B. says:

    Hahahahaaha! The parts about mall Santas and egg nog made me laugh out loud! Also, “Call your mom, a-hole!” is hilarious. I love the spirit of Christmas, too. And we, too, have a house in our town that hi-jacks an AM radio station to play the music synched up to their Christmas light display. It’s epic, as is the traffic jam snaking through their neighbhorhood for weeks. I bet their neighbors hate them, but I love it!

    • breadispain says:

      Love that you have one of those houses too! It is definitely something I miss here in France – but then next week I’ll talk about some of their Christmas crazy. Can you believe that about the Egg Nogg riot? Cracked me up!!

  2. Big Sister says:

    You forgot Roadkill Wreaths!

    • breadispain says:

      There are so many things I keep thinking of now that I have already posted! I guess that is what the Breadispain facebook page will be for…I can torture everyone with random Christmas thoughts! :)

  3. Big Sister says:

    Oh, and there’s this crazy excellent chemical reaction that happens if you make your egg nog and then refrigerate it for 6 months or more.
    -http://www.chow.com/food-news/53619/old-but-not-lethal/
    -http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2010/01/best-eggnog-recipe.html

    • breadispain says:

      WOAH! That recipe sounds CRAZY potent…I may just go Martha Stewart style this year so that my guests don’t end up swinging from the rafters (or falling from them). har har…

  4. grenobloise says:

    I miss the candy canes………………………………………………..

  5. Gwan says:

    We don’t have half that stuff in new zealand either. (And it’s summer and really not the same as a “real” northern hemisphere christmas as you may know.)I’m not big on christmas songs, but i like the traditional christmas carols. I love being able to go to a carol singing, even if it means sitting through mass to do it haha.

    • breadispain says:

      I loved my NZ Christmas – and my Aussie one. I almost considered writing a piece about my favorite Southern Hemisphere Christmas things…maybe I still will. Like surfing on Christmas Day and Santas in Hawaiian shirts! :)

      • Gwan says:

        Wasn’t sure whether you were there for xmas. My family is english, so we never really had the relaxed kiwi beach bbq christmas either, just huge roast dinners in the (sort of) middle of summer

      • breadispain says:

        haha – I see nothing wrong with that! My first winter in NZ we decided to have Christmas in July so that we could eat all the yummy Christmas foods when it was cold out! :)

  6. Theresa says:

    Roadkills wreaths? Wreally?

    I’ll be celebrating, for the third year, my new tradition of Christmukkah. It’s a lovely holiday that I urge all those with Jewish friends to take up. Last year, we wore paper candles on our head like Israeli kindergartners — this year, there might be a dreidel pinata. And although we took a break last year, we might have to get out the ol’ egg nog again. Not sure about aging it 12 months, though it’s great to know the alcohol kills the raw eggs’ bacteria. No wonder syllabubs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllabub) were so popular!

  7. Mandy says:

    I am actually sitting here reading this with Pandora Christmas station blasting on concert level behind me. I feel the same way, except…I don’t want anyone to know!! Ha! Griping & complaining about all the work involved in the holidays is my cover up…wahh, wahh the baking, the decorating, the wrapping (I really do hate wrapping) & I don’ t know why I do that…but anyway. I’m so bad about Christmas movies, if we’ve not watched a certain one before Christmas actually gets here I have been known to CANCEL just so we can stay home & park it on the couch to watch that one movie that we’ve already seen 300 times already. Yes, I definitely have issues too.

    • breadispain says:

      haha! I love it, Mandy! We have had some epic Christmas Eve arguments at the house about whether to watch It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott)…not the best Christmas spirit but all in good fun. While writing this I am listening to Etta James “Silent Night”…what a great season, really! Hope y’all are all well!

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