For many years I have been a member of the fraternity Kappa Bah Humbug. The only requirement for joining is to hate Christmas.
We have parties with kegs of spiked egg nog and play drinking games where every time somebody says Merry Christmas you drink. Those wearing Christmas sweaters are doomed to be chased down and given a wedgie by frat brothers still sober enough to run. Our mascot is a Grinch.
But recently my girlfriend made a pledge that she was going to make Christmas so enjoyable for me that it was going to be my favorite holiday. Fellow Grinches who heard this laughed hysterically and told her it was a lost cause, all while lacing up their sneakers in case she put on a Christmas sweater.
It isn't the holiday of Christmas that I have a problem with. The meaning of the day is important to me and I quite enjoy being with family and friends on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. What I hate are the days and weeks leading up to the holiday that drive me crazy.
Of course, I don't like the commercialism and the fact that we can't get the Halloween decorations down quickly enough to put up the Christmas trees and lights. I certainly don't like the tactless inflatable Christmas yard decorations that I want to deflate with my Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle.
Then there is the buying of gifts which stresses your mind and your bank account while hearing nothing but bad Christmas songs everywhere you turn. Nowhere can you look without seeing something Christmas. But most of all, I hate the expectations that Christmas has to be done one certain way and if you don't like those ways then you don't have the Christmas spirit.
Take my Christmas tree. I would be happy with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree -- you know, a small, baby tree with a single ornamental ball. But a "real Christmas tree" has lights and many ornaments and is all festive.
My girlfriend bought me St. Louis Cardinal and Notre Dame football ornaments, which I have to admit I loved. I was actually a tiny bit excited to put up the new ornaments on my tree as we both decorated the day after Thanksgiving. And the tree looks pretty good with the festive lights. At least that is what I have thought both times I remembered to turn the tree on.
I even helped her decorate her tree. A large white tree with beautiful blue lights and ornaments strategically placed all over. Her tree actually makes mine look like Charlie Brown's tree.
My girlfriend wasn't finished trying to get me into her "I Love Christmas" club. On two separate occasions we have driven around looking at Christmas lights. Each time she gets giddy as the lights blink to the music. After about two songs my ADHD kicks in and all the lights start looking the same and I start counting the minutes to Dec. 26.
Then there are Christmas movies. I take pride in the fact I have not seen classic Christmas films such as "Miracle on 34th Street," "It's a Wonderful Life" or "White Christmas." Gasp if you must, but I don't like watching old films, especially sappy ones. I prefer such the Christmas hits of "Die Hard," "Lethal Weapon" and "Christmas Vacation." Those movies make me happy where watching old movies doesn't interest me at all.
But I made a promise I would watch one classic movie of my girlfriend's choice. She chose "White Christmas." Not only an old, sappy, poorly acted Christmas movie, it is also a musical.
Fifteen minutes in I was hoping for a power outage. Twenty minutes in I was looking for garland to choke myself with. Twenty one minutes into the movie I pick up my phone and got the look.
In the words of Ralphie on "A Christmas Story," "Fudge!"
But like Ralphie, I didn't say "Fudge."
My girlfriend looked at me and said with a straight face, "It's almost over."
An hour-and-a-half later I saw the two greatest words I have ever seen, "The end!" And can you believe it snowed at the end? A movie called "White Christmas" and it snowed. And they sang. And they sang and sang. And danced. Dear God they danced too.
After those two hours I will never get back, I got in my car and drove home. It took me a minute to realize I was jamming to "Carol of the Bells" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Noooo! What is happening? What will the Grinches think?
In words of Ralphie, "It was all over -- I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child's play compared to what surely awaited me."
Surely I couldn't be enjoying Christmas. Nah. Bah, Ho, Ho, Ho! Uh oh! Merry Christmas to all and to all, please find a better movie to watch than "White Christmas!"