Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Celebrations

Baby Eating, Womanizer and Macy’s Elves

I think those Folger’s commercials are misleading.  You know the one, where the son comes home from somewhere and his parents and sister are SO excited to see him.  They start off their reunion with Folger’s coffee.  They’ve even updated this one with new, more modern looking kids and the son is coming home from Africa.  First off, you can tell that family has money.  If the son can afford to go off and do “good work” in Africa, he comes from money.  Have you seen the house?  Lovely.  There’s no way they drink Folger’s.  At the minimum they should be grinding their own Starbucks or scooping the Italian grounds from an Illy can.  So, aside from their choice of beans being unrealistic, I just can’t buy how excited his teenage sister is to see him.  Do people really act like that?

The holidays are hard for some folks.  I think because we’ve created these unrealistic images of joy and disappointment ensues.  I certainly don’t want to waste too much time on the obvious consumerism the season advocates.  More than anything, I just try to focus on the economy building all the shopping may help and that some folks find work when they need it most. 

What I’m finding is a shift in thought about the holidays.  I think the trend is to appreciate the time off work and the opportunity to have parties, drink, laugh and splurge on activities.  At least that’s what the holidays are turning out to be for me.

My season starts at an annual holiday party at a local advertising agency.  You can set your clock to this event as the activities are pretty boilerplate.  But, we all look forward to going and wouldn’t miss it because of the tradition.  It’s not a sweet party, although proceeds are given to charity.  The party starts with some social lubrication (booze), then moves to some musical numbers.  It’s amazing how many guys know how to play the guitar.  Jack, the artistic director for the evening, writes some new songs each year based on the year’s news and events – all set to popular Christmas songs.  The highlight is a song called Don’t Eat the Baby.  This is about a pig in the nativity scene that wants to eat the baby Jesus.  The room chimes in during the chorus with “don’t eat the baby.”  That’s why there is no pig in the nativity.  From there, we move onto a white elephant gift exchange where rules are thrown to the curb because of extortion and alcohol consumption.  Good times.

Depending on the year, I either have other parties to attend or I perform at some private function.  This year I was invited to a St. Andrew’s Day party (Scottish theme) and was later asked if I could sing.  So, my performing partner and I then turned into gig mode.  We show up early, set up and then chat other guests up until we have to sing.  For the most part, our act is pretty harmless.  I say this as we never expect kids to be around, but once they show up, anxiety is part of the prep as I then worry about being inappropriate.  I think we did okay at this event, but in our attempt to be cool for the tweens (yeah, I don’t think they were actually teens yet), we broke out Womanizer, Sexy Back and Humps.  I guess since I don’t listen to words, I don’t expect them to know how terrible these songs are.  I did find joy in some of the parental smirks.  They were uncomfortable a little, but this 40 something crowd still thinks it’s the 80’s and were throwing some caution to the wind….as much as they can with other parents from the private Catholic school.

Last week I went to see Santaland Diaries, based on a short story by David Sedaris from Holiday’s on Ice.  I am a huge fan of Sedaris and fell in love with him after reading Me Talk Pretty Some Day.  I distinctly remember reading that book in bed and shaking from laughter.  Sedaris is a master storyteller and his memoirs continue to bring me joy, so I was happy to see this play.  I’d read the short story about Sedaris before his writing career took off and he’d gotten a job at Macy’s in New York as an elf for Santa.  To tell you more would do his story a disservice as he is the funny writer, not I.  The play was rather enjoyable and only lasted an hour.  It’s only one actor and the play is pretty much exact to the short story.  Sedaris’ humor is slightly twisted, so seeing a slightly twisted holiday play was a perfect way to spend a Saturday before Christmas…much better than shopping.

There’s still time before the holidays and I’m pretty happy.  I don’t have too many more plans, but I do know I’m not going to make coffee for my brother, unless he asks.  

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