MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! And a one…and a two and a… Grab your coat and let’s get hopping! Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la…la! Time to do holiday shopping!Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la…la! Don we now our gay apparel! Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-WOAH…hold the la-las! Don we now our gay apparel? Can we even sing this in our politically correctly confused society? Would it be offensive to don gay apparel? What kind of apparel would be considered gay and would people be offended if we donned it? Of course this song comes before the time of using words that already have a meaning for something else. When written the term “gay” meant “happy.” Hmmm. OK, so, Don we now our happy clothing! Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la…la! Time to start some X-mas loathing! Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la…la!

So…did you notice the typo in this week’s column title? Or did you look at the article’s accompanying picture, see the capitalized, bold printed, underlined “Merry X-mas” and get hit with a yule-tidal wave of cheer? Perhaps, you were expecting some festive anecdotes to ring in the season? Well tough turkey s***, there will be no festivities for you here, just harsh criticism! If you did notice the typo then congratulations! But, it’s not a typo.

A week before Halloween, (that’s the scary, get candy holiday) giant furry spiders and talking haunted toilets found themselves sharing the same shelves with doe-eyed reindeer (easy pun) and grinning ceramic St. Nicks. A week later Halloween is gone, some (very little) autumn and turkey-day items find their way onto back store shelves. While entire aisles are renovated, rearranged, dominated by and fill to capacity with… X-mas crap! All ushered in to the tune of repetitive X-mas carols already blasting over the stores intercoms. However, one must admit, that the Nightmare Before X-mas ornaments, stocking and Jack Skellington light sets does help with the transition.

Oh my goodness! Did you see what that old Grinch Mr. Chainsaw has done? He has taken Christ out of Christmas FIVE times in this column thus far. Oh, give me a break! There is no Christ in the X-mas most people know, love and celebrate. If there were he’d probably say, “Verily I say unto thee, forgeteth not the day of the Giving of Thanks.” Or should that be “the giving of Thinks?” Because before you succumb to shopping (which is the true modern X in X-mas) you really should start thinking.

THINKSGIVINGThink – Much like the words MERRY CHRISTMAS, retail stores know other words that draw your full and immediate attention- DOOR BUSTERS, BLOW-OUTS, BIGGEST SALE EVENT, CLEARANCE. Tag the word “holiday” onto any of these and they easily lure you in on those Black Fridays.

Think – if they can offer these low, low prices now then why are things so expensive the rest of the year?

Think – how can Black Friday sales start a week before Black Friday? Black Friday is one day, so how can you have a Black Friday sale when it’s not even Black Friday? Yet people accept this insanity, so they can shop and every year it starts a little earlier so they’ll want to shop more. Who is your one “true God” and does he accept Visa and Master Card?

Think – why is it everyone wants to start the X-mas season earlier and earlier every year and yet they consolidate all their holiday events into one single day? Oh it’s X-mas Eve and it’s on that one night and ONLY that one night and the next day is the only day that can be X-mas. So the actual celebration, visiting various relatives, eating numerous meals and opening gifts must be condensed into one single day? But the shopping days can stretch into weeks and the actual season goes on for months? And it gets a little longer every year!

In the midst of it all, through the brightly strung lights and over-toned by Black Friday plans, a well prepared meal is served and viewed as nothing more than any other eaten that year. Seriously think about it. When the two days off for Turkey Day are over, do you tell your friends and co-workers of how blessed and thankful you were? No! Oh, you’ll talk about how you stuffed your guts, but as far as being thankful, you’re too busy harping about the great deal you got on that Sony, surround sound X-Station 5, DVD gaming console you fought for. Now your sad little life is complete, because you believe you got a deal on something you wanted. That will be added to your collective stuff pile. Same time, next year, you won’t even take pause to be thankful for it.

Material goods, complete with flashing lights and 75% OFF have taken control of what was once the most wonderful time of the year. There is no true holiday cheer anymore, just a retail store façade putting a price tag on time honored traditions. We have only impatient self-centered selves to blame. As we rush a feeling of cheer, knowing full well that feelings are fragile things and take time. We all become numb in the now two-month long Holiday rush.

I know full well that a few of you have found chuckles here. Likewise I hope a little enlightenment that probably won’t change a damned thing but may help you to appreciate the damned a little more. In closing I implore you to take a pause from the getting this holiday season to think about and appreciate what you’ve already got.

In turn, dear reader, I extend my sincere thankfulness to you and for you. For a writer without readers is a lost soul crying blindly in the wind and I have shed too many tears to not appreciate those who quell my nerves and warm my heart. Have a thoughtful Thanksgiving.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at [email protected] or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!