Bah! Humbug! – A Christmas Story
Well, just one more day and we all will have made it through the 3+ month-long “holiday season.” But other than internet shopping, politically correct pleasantries, and the annual contact with distant family members, what is Christmas really about? I mean aside from religion… Because let’s face it, a large amount of celebrants are either A) not religious at all, or B) not celebrating it for the religious connotations. I’m talking about how the season as a whole has evolved, especially within our lifetimes. Now, is that evolution something that is seen across the cultural board, or is it simply growing up? Or is grumpy cat finally rubbing off on all of us? I think one of the lessons we can steal from Mr. Scrooge is that we should take a step back and look at how Christmas has affected our lives with the help of his three ghosts.
Though instead of the ghost of Christmas Past/Present/Future I’d like to think that we could choose whomever we’d like to guide us on our holiday spiritual journey. Mine would be three Doctors… preferably 4, 10, and 13.
The Doctor of Christmas Past
Mr. Baker would undoubtedly take me back to Virginia (under some sort of cloak courtesy of the TARDIS, of course) to take a peek at childhood Christmas festivities. That cloak would also undoubtedly cast a rose-colored tint to look upon what more and more of us crotchety guys and gals refer to as “the good old days.” Typically “back in the day” was only referred to by wrinkly old men who hiked uphill both ways in the snow to go get milk when they were our age, but now more and more of our generation has begun to revere our youth at a much earlier age…
But I digress. With the TARDIS parked in outside in the snow, we could look in through my grandparents’ windows to see the whole family eating cinnamon bread and homemade toffee in PJs and slippers. And when I say the whole family I mean grandparents, their five kids, their kid’s husbands/wives and kids, and maybe a pet or two. We were content stuffing our faces, opening presents, and watching Return of the Jedi on laserdisc. Yeah, you heard me, laserdisc.
We were worried about super important things like drinking the last of the apple cider, who got to play the Sega next, or making the biggest snowball… not things like jobs, bills, and gift etiquette for friends and family. Were Christmases in the 90’s all so carefree or was it just the age, geography, and/or company? Or did it just seem like the movie styled “big family” Christmas because we choose to forget the hair pulling and ice shoved down our pants? Maybe both. Because even if we’re stuck on Christmas morning moping in front of the fireplace to thaw out a half-frozen rump that fell victim to a snow-ball prank, it will always look funny years later when you’re staring through the window with an invisible Timelord.
The Doctor of Christmas Present
After the trip with Mr. Baker to snowy Virginia in the 90’s, the next
totally unbiased pick for the regenerated timelord sets the TARDIS for 20ish years later across the country for sunny California! Except apparently my part of the state didn’t get the memo this particular year and leading up to Christmas had been nothing but sporadically torrential downpours. Because Californians don’t know how to drive in the rain, we see especially chaotic shopping centers and roads flooded with both water and cars. Sales have been picked clean and the Christmas Creep has been so prevalent this year that some stores aren’t even carrying Christmas kitsch and decor any longer. I mean seriously people, no Christmas decor the weekend of Christmas? Some things just baffle the mind. And consequently there’s no wreath on our door this year either…
But once inside and out of the rain our apartment is home to a 1000+ light tree topped with a gaudy (yet strangely endearing) flashing star towering over already wrapped presents that had been handily delivered (primarily by Amazon) in the weeks leading up to now. The poor dog has a red and green bandana with some jingle bells (that she seems completely oblivious to), and jingles around the apartment that is also equipped with a lit garland, a mini tree from my old apartment, Christmas Cthulhu, hot chocolate in a Star Trek mug, and an LED light-up sweater with jingle bells waiting to be worn to work the next day. Other holiday kitsch is strewn around, and a USB Christmas tree is plugged into the computer tower and lights up the Death Star next to the monitor.
Decor and crafts aside, these days we’re just happy that presents consist of sweaters and checks from family members. Sure, some blurays and other things we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves are great, but instead of waiting for the hottest new game systems (we buy those on our own), we want more practical things that are no fun to buy ourselves. Either that or money to pay off the credit cards when we did go a little spend-crazy on Cyber Monday…
So while Mr. Tennant is prepping to hop off to London in the TARDIS to save the world from the Daleks, I’m left with another look around the tastefully gaudy decor in the apartment with the wagging jingle-puppy, sweater gifts, and cozy fiance. Over the 20 years between Virginia and California it is hugely apparent that the dynamic of Christmas-time has changed dramatically, but change doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Sega Saturns are now replaced with clothes and checks to pay for holiday bills, snowballs with umbrellas, hot chocolate with (brandy) eggnog, and a big family gathering with a small one. The only constant other than change so far is that the season is still spent with the important people! *cue David Tennant gagging*
The Doctor of Christmas Future
So without an actual TARDIS there’s really no way to give an idea of what Christmas Future will be like, or what the next doctor will be regenerated as. I’m picturing a Michael Fassbender doppelganger… Let’s face it though, 20 years from now I will probably be contributing to building my own “big family” get together, and the little squirts can join #13, their dad and I as we battle the CyberSantas to save the world from their death sleighs led by mechanical reindeer. Christmas presents will consist of real sonic screwdrivers and possibly some K-9 units (now equipped with hover action and pre-programmed house training).
Unbeknownst to us, however, the CyberSantas are a ruse and the real threat is the holiday Daleks disguised as trendy metal Christmas Trees who rise up to “decorate” the world with quantum explosives made to look like Christmas lights. With one switch they could detonate the entire world and create a singularity that would exterminate the human race. Lucky for us we were there to help the Doctor reverse the polarity of the detonator housed in a cloaked Dalek ship in orbit and save Christmas! I mean, the world…
Upon “detonation,” the cleverly disguised Christmas lights fizzle out and the Cybersantas deactivate and drop from the sky like flies hit with Raid. The family high-fives and the 13th Doctor picks up a new companion to travel the skies and return again to save the world next Christmas!
Back to the Present!
Okay, maybe I’m mixing my references, but I don’t care, it’s my Christmas post! The Doctor, Enterprise, and DeLorean can all coexist as far as I’m concerned. As uncharacteristically sappy as it sounds, the Doctors helped me realize that whether it’s gameboys, sweaters, or fighting CyberSantas, each Christmas is ultimately filled with the people most important to me (Doctor doesn’t count). I’m not celebrating Christmas for religion, presents, or even to give thanks that Holiday Daleks were thwarted… I’m celebrating it because I enjoy spending it with the people I love and decorating the shit out of my apartment!
So who cares if it’s Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Winter Solstice, whatever. If I or someone else wishes you a *insert happy holidays/christmas/kwanzaa/hannukah greeting here* it doesn’t mean that we’re trying to make you subscribe to something you don’t believe in, or that we are being too politically correct to share our own holiday greeting. “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” in my book really means:
Thanks for being there and adding something special to my life, I hope I do the same for yours!
So as a special thank you for all that you do (and so that I can mix even more scifi references in here with a holiday twist), I’d like to take a moment and have Warrent Officer Ellen Ripley step out from Sunday’s photoshoot to say: