It’s my first ever holiday season living in a warm climate, and in spite of this—or more likely, because of it—I’ve felt an urge to feel extra Christmas-y this year. I’ve always said that my true religious affiliation is basically “Christmasist.” I love cookies, I love lights, I love presents (and all manner of accompanying complicated gift wraps). I love carols, even the weird medieval ones or the ones that have been rearranged to sound like the soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil. I see no reason why this big sparkly winter festival celebrating the fact that we all got through another year alive is any different from Halloween or Valentine’s Day, two other formerly ecclesiastical holidays that have had all the religion systematically drained from them by the secularizing vampire of the Hallmark company, thank God.
I’m not suggesting anyone do anything that makes them uncomfortable, but if someone, say, hung a little string of non-denominational lights in their window, or, OK, maybe hand-sewed a decorative felt Christmas stocking for their recently acquired and increasingly spoiled little dog (a dog someone’s husband has, perhaps, begun to refer to as “the Dauphin”), is it really such a big deal?
Yes, according to some—including the Dauphin’s human father. So, in the spirit of giving that is the hallmark (HA!) of the season, allow me to offer to all you Grinches out there my ideas for how to have the least Christmas-y Christmas ever.
Go someplace warm. That is, if you aren’t already someplace warm. If you are, then go someplace else warm, preferably someplace that not only doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but where you can actually get in trouble for celebrating Christmas. Saudi Arabia might be a good choice, or Afghanistan, as long as it isn’t snowing there. I’d tell you to go to Israel, but they’ve got Christmas trees in the malls there, so I’d pick somewhere more oppressive where you’ve got a fighting chance of seeing a public execution on the big day. What could be less Santa-friendly than that?
Go to the movies. Granted, the local Cineplex isn’t as—how shall I put this?—Gentilerein as it used to be on Dec. 25. Like bagels, Seinfeld, and chronic hypochondria, the Yuletide movie-going experience is just one more facet of Jewish identity that has been subsumed into the swirling miasma of the murky American soul. But if you still plan on honoring this time-honored tradition, you’ll want to make sure your choice of film is as nihilistic and devoid of meaning or uplift as possible. I suggest The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Three punishing hours of orgies, larceny, and untrammeled American greed? That’s a bitter pill to swallow for those who just spent an entire morning gleefully tearing into a year’s credit-card limit worth of gifts. A close second would be Inside Llewyn Davis, since there’s nobody like the Coen brothers to remind you how life has no essential meaning. Ho ho ho!
Throw stuff away. Negate the all the giving and receiving by using the day off to go through your closets. Or get a head start on your tax return. Or decide today’s the day you’re finally going to tackle HealthCare.gov. It’s up to you. Just remember: Whatever task you set for yourself, make sure it’s incredibly frustrating, time-consuming, and guaranteed to cause you to snap at your loved ones.
Eat something unpleasant. Chinese food is played out; and anyway, it’s delicious. Why not jumpstart your New Year’s resolutions and decide Christmas is the first day of your juice cleanse? Mmmm, green juice and only green juice! And maybe some water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper! It’s so unpleasant! It’s so not filling! And it makes you incredibly cranky, which … see above.
Be in transit. Why be in Saudi Arabia for Christmas when you could fly to Saudi Arabia on Christmas? A 12-hour-plus flight, and when you get off … you’re in Saudi Arabia. Could anything be less rewarding? And if it’s too late or you’re too cheap to book a punishingly long plane ride somewhere awful, there’s always a Greyhound bus. A direct flight from JFK to Jeddah is 12 hours and 45 minutes. The same amount of time spent on a bus gets to you to Canton, Ohio, plus there’s no food and only one bathroom. You be the judge!
Just go to work. And revel in the smug satisfaction that you’re being productive in an empty office while all those vapid schickers are out eating ham and having fun. ENJOY.