The Six Greatest Mediocrities of Christmas

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
~ William James

They say all good things must come to an end. What about mediocre things? My personal theory is that the mediocre will always outlive the good by a sizeable margin. The evidence on this is vast and varied, but perhaps the most compelling is Exhibit A: the internet.

Eternal fame.
Great achievements are all well and good, but the internet's only interested if you've managed to supremely screw shit up. Cure for cancer? We don't want to hear it, Frink! Give us the illiterate; the desperate; the pathetic dregs of society, if you can find them. Does mediocrity come with age? I propose that yes, yes, it does. And now we come to the main point of this little rant – and principal evidence in my defence – Christmas. 

Ah, Christmas. A time of jolliness, presents, and merry little men who routinely invade your house at night to leave parcels and candy and watch your children sleep. To my shame, I've only recently begun to comprehend the many levels on which this socially accepted custom is severely disturbing. It lost its magic as I aged.

So, here are the top six (off the top of my head) greatest mediocrities of Christmas.

  1. Egg Nog
This may seem relatively benign, but trust me, it's the elixir of evil. This deceptively sweet beverage has even the most stoic of relatives falling over themselves laughing about the hilarious corporal punishment they once suffered at the hands of an over-zealous Catholic nun. Oh, sure, it's all fun and games, until Grandpa breaks a hip (and simultaneously wins the impromptu limbo competition sparked by the materialisation of little Jimmy's new hockey stick).

Egg nog numbs the pain.
  1. Children.
They're loud and sticky and easily breakable. Their presence quickly turns sweet old obsessive-compulsive Aunt Edith's immaculate house into a bog of eternal squallor. They ask incessant questions that just beg for you to stamp on that aggravating 'childish innocence', such as “Why do I have to be nice to get presents from Santa?”, “How does Santa fit down the chimney?” and the immortal “We don't have a chimney! How will Santa bring me presents?”. And when you answer these questions honestly, and the little twerp starts to cry, the parents get angry at you! You did the kid a favour. This is the real world, Sally. Stop that wailing about crushed dreams.

You'll thank me when you're old and jaded.
  1. Stress
Okay, I hear you say. Those things are annoying. But you can throw yourself into the Christmas spirit, build a mistletoe wreath and get under it, right? Maybe this works for some people (and I'm certainly not criticising some sweet mistletoe-lovin'), but the vast majority of regular, working-class folks find that Christmas is a flaming hotbed of screaming fits, stresses, and stomach ulcers. TV show The Middle dedicated its Christmas episode to the depression of a small child and the message that “Christmas is hard”. Even 17th century England found its own special way to transmogrify 'Christmas' into 'Fear' (presumably with the aid of a passing alchemist and a pinch of helpful will o' the wisp). This is not the kind of positive Christmas attitude we should be advocating! It's a frickin' public holiday, people! Stop impersonating the Grinch.
Please, just stop. This isn't attractive on anyone.
  1. Santa
This guy teeters on the wrong side of criminal mastermind. Think about it. He's got billions of devotees, most of whom are children. He's never truly seen. He has literally millions of copycat crims. He breaks into people's houses and demands milk-and-cookie blood money. Santa is just an all-around shady character. Some may say he's an innocent heavy-handed metaphor on the importance of morality and the ideal of self-redemption, but really, he's an evil genius just waiting to hit your home. The presents are out-and-out bribery to make parents forget that their child's Christmas Eve insomnia is induced not by excitement, but terror.

He's coming for you.

  1. The point of it all
Buried somewhere in the mindless consumerism, Christmas does actually have a point beside fancy food and free stuff. The mountains of frippery you have to dig through to actually find a sincere moral to the story, however, are inordinate. Oh, sure, you get the many, many Christmas specials on the gogglebox, all finishing up with a trite little message to the viewer. My problem with these is the tired, recycled nature of their Aesop, and the hypocrisy of the whole process. They're selling you bottled spirituality for the sole purpose of making money. Very, very rarely will such shows hold a genuine gem of moral – and whether you will make it through the imitations to these grains of truth depends wholly on the strength of your will and your stomach.

Cookie-cutter Christmas makes angels cry.
  1. Fruitcake
The ultimate evil. Fruitcake is not a food. It is a biological weapon. Forcing your prestuffed-with-turkey-and-Christmas-ham prisoners to eat it is a war-crime punishable under the Geneva Convention. Do. Not. Eat. Fruitcake.

World domination in progress.

So there we have it. The top six most unsettling aspects of a mediocre Christmas. Tread carefully, young grasshopper, and perhaps you will succeed where I failed: avoiding the mediocrity of the jolly season.

Happy holidays! And remember, kids, there's always next year.


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