Seven days to go. . . . Do any of you actually have your Christmas shopping done yet?
'Tis the season to be jolly, but for some of us Christmas brings out the worst parts of our personalities. Personally, I've always preferred holidays that had less to do with depleting my personal finances, though the idea of people depleting their personal finances for me is kind of perversely exciting.OK, so I'm opinionated. But I am methodically opinionated. Thus, in the great tradition of David Letterman's nightly top-10 lists, here are my opinions on the 10 best and worst things about Christmas.
10. Television specials like "A Perry Como Christmas." They do have the special therapeutic value of curing insomniacs much faster than a Depeche Mode album.
9. "X-mas." Does anyone actually know where this term originated, what it actually means and whether born-again X-ians exist and whether it's possible to X-en a child?
8. Eggnog. What is actually in this stuff? Does anyone actually enjoy it? It always makes me think of paregoric.
7. "A Christmas Carol." One time was fine, the second time was OK, but the sheer frequency of performances and screenings of this Dickensian parable makes it mind-numbing.
6. Christmas carols. Since these seasonal songs have existed, people who couldn't sing in a church choir have warbled their way through their cheery lyrics.
4. BYU football, which has a tendency to drag on long after other in-state teams have dropped out and long after I've lost interest in a mythical "national championship."
3. Jockeying for parking places while shopping or working, especially when competing with people for places that have to be no farther than 10 yards from the store front.
2. Paying post-Christmas bills.
1. Last-minute shopping and the banal things people say while standing in line.
For example: "I'd like to return this, put this on layaway, buy this with credit, exchange this, have this wrapped, apply for a store credit card, make a price check on this and cash an out-of-state, two-party check."
10. Summer and spring are at least one day closer.
9. It comes once yearly.
8. The fact that many families spend so much during the season that they can't afford to drive very often.
7. Getting a day off work.
6. The much-maligned fruitcake. Maybe it takes a sick mind to appreciate this treat made with candied fruit, but frankly, I think my mother's variation is terrific.
5. Christmas specials like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," all of which should be required viewing.
3. Perversions of Christmas carols, such as "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells"
2. Getting presents.
1. Spending time with family and loved ones. (There, you thought I couldn't get mushy, did you?)
(Jeff Vice, Payson, is a staff writer in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)