The 12 Steps of Holiday Angst
Please note that the years are only estimates based on a small sample size.
1. Bewilderment. Years 0 to 3. "Why is my food giver and poop cleaner putting this itchy hat on my head?" Let's dress the kid up for some cute pictures that will only get lost in the electronic sea of pictures on several hard drives. These pictures will only be missed if said hard drives are irrevocably destroyed.
2. Glee! Years 3.1 to 12. "DO YOU KNOW WHY CHRISTMAS IS GREAT!? BECAUSE YOU GET NEW TOYS!!!!" As related to me by a young cousin.
3. Irritation. Years 12.1 to 22. "Man, Christmas is so lame. I just wanna hang out with my friends, play video games, and not be in school. I never get what I really want anyway, no one understands me. I don't wanna go look at lighting displays or sing carols or whatever." Or at least, you don't want to admit that you like doing these things with your family. You don't make it easy for your family to understand you, either, since you barely speak to them.
4. Aggravation. Years 22.1 to Infinity (for some). "I fucking HATE Christmas! The music is so repetitive! I hate the way THEY play it immediately after Halloween! ARGH! And I'm too broke to buy anything cool for people anyway, this blows. I'll just go get drunk like I do every week, and not think about how much money I've spent on booze this past year." Let's not forget your $25 a week mocha habit, either.
5. Acceptance. Years 22.1 to Infinity (for some). "OKay, so Christmas is really commercial, and all about spending money you don't have to stimulate the economy for the Capitalists to rake in even more money from the workers, but it doesn't have to be. My family and I have just turned it into this little celebration of another year's end. Sure, we buy each other stuff, but not because of any other reason than we love and respect each other. I try to find something that I think my family would like, and just really enjoy seeing their expressions of joy. You know, it may be stupid and pedantic, but we've changed it so Christmas means something special, not just the day some kid was born without adequate medical care in the Middle East." That is a fine sentiment, but could you try saying that without being a smug cobag?
6. Rebounding Joy. Years 22.1 to Infinity(for some). "I don't care about getting gifts anymore, but I do love watching my kids tear into presents. I hope they stay like this forever. I'm still glad I paid extra for a hybrid car." I hope you like ties because that is all you are getting from your kids until they are mature enough to see that you are a person, and not just their parent.
7. Booze. Years 21 to Infinity. "Great eggnog, Eddie!" Nothing wrong with a libation or four here and there.
8. Booze. Years 21 to Infinity. "Great eggnog, Clark!" You're not driving, right?
9. Booze. Years 21 to Infinity. "If I had a rubber hose, I would beat you..." If you do it right, you can make tire tracks looks like reindeer tracks. We carry this secret to our graves.
10. Booze. Years 21 to Infinity. "The carols are in my head! THEY'RE IN MY HEAD!" Put the electric drill down.
11. Booze. Years 21 to Infinity. "Macy's parade sure is good this year." This stage is also known as senility.
12. Death. Years Far away, I hope. "Christmas isn't quite the same without grandpa reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Yeah, your father hasn't quite found his rhythm yet.