Deck The Halls With My Balls.

It’s difficult for me to explain to people how much I despise Christmas. It is a failed holiday, at least in my consistent experience. Christmas is a wretch. It’s a goddamn horror show. That’s not right; it’s more of a psychological melodrama— akin to one of those reality programs wherein the producers stuff a bunch of incompatible personalities together in a room to see who freaks out the most. Mash a load of sugar and alcohol into everyone’s mouths and toss in the stress of forced gift giving and rampant money being spent on forgettable garbage and you have the closest interpretation I can come up with to Dante’s Purgatory. I suppose it could be Hell, and ironically, all in the name of Jesus.

“Drink Through It” 

That’s the advice my wife has just handed to me, followed by this eggnog fueled gibberish:

“Someday we’ll go lock ourselves in a dog kennel—we’ll never make it to Mexico— but a dog kennel, that’s doable.”

Spending a month in a dog kennel would be better than celebrating Christmas.

I don’t understand why I feel the way I do about this. I know it is irrational. But I also don’t understand why people feel good and joyous and jolly about Santa Claus and ornaments; slaughtered pine trees and mocking, plastic Jesii. I cannot begin to fathom why, in the midst of the shortest, darkest days, and the coldest, harshest weather, we have collectively decided to rush out and launch a consumer-capitalist inspired middle figure at the concept of living within means. For sixteen dozen millennia people have faced winter by hunkering down, holding onto what they’ve got, and hibernating until the butterflies and the emerging crocus bulbs signal the impending spring. Only within the last sixty years have we figured to go bananas—to max out the credit cards and work extra time to give the people we claim to care about every god damn thing they could ever, possibly, desire.


When there is a massive, gaping hole, an immediate reaction is to fill it up with the most commonly available substance of volume—and garbage is an eminently available voluminous substance. It’s renewable, to boot. Cities and islands are built on top of landfill. Mountain ranges are born of mangled appliances, rotten textiles, and gloss-coated, never decomposing pornographic magazines. I don’t want to be involved in any of it. It’s already a beautiful time of year—the trees are bare and exposed, the ground is wet, but cold, and supermarket shelves are stocked with creamy, seasonal elixir.

We self-medicate for those conditions that the epidemiologists haven’t yet identified. Science will catch up, eventually. In the mean-time there is wine, and big cans of beer; there is eggnog and marijuana.

The last three Popes have railed adamantly against materialism—maybe the Popes before them, too. They’ve warned that the soul is seriously compromised by the pride, gluttony, jealousy and sloth that come with gross material possession. Maybe I’m part Catholic in December.


Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.