The World is Going to Hell

So, I was playing around with some of Google Labs offerings, and I stumbled upon Google Trends.  A quick search for "Christmas" revealed the sad truth.  People just don't seem to care as much about Christmas as they used to.  Last year I was in a funk around Christmas time and was so disappointed because it felt like everyone else was too.  Now I have evidence to back up my feelings.

I am not going to stand idle and let this happen.  This has renewed my interest in celebreating Christmas.  My lights are going up and my friends are going to know that we should all be celebrating.  I'm tired of the focus being on how much crap can be sold to the masses.  I just want a good old fashioned Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to All

I just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas.  Take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate this holiday and to reflect on your life.  A new year is coming and it's time to think about how you can improve yourself.  I will be celebrating tomorrow with family, friends, and lots of food. 

Christmas Party Awkwardness

Ashley and I survived another year of company Christmas parties.  I love the social awkwardness that surrounds this special event.  My close friends will know that I'm not a total introvert, but at the same time I'm not exactly a people person.  I'm that guy that sits with his friends in the back making fun of everyone else and their ridiculous antics.  Now that I have shared this with you, dear reader, I can continue on with my evaluations of the 2 company parties I attended.

  • Ashley's company party - This one was particularly awkward for me.  You see, my wife works for a small company of 5 people.  Since the company is so small, the party was at the owner's home.  While this isn't a bad thing, it automatically puts a few people in a lot more comfortable situation than the rest.  The party was casual which is nice, but it was so casual that people brought their kids along.  A few people were drinking way too much, and that tends to make me very uncomfortable.  Couple that with the fact that I share very little common ground with those in attendance and you'll realize that I had a very dull night.  It's worth noting that the party wasn't for me, so this is totally acceptable but still very agonizing.
  • My company party - This was a totally different ball of wax.  We have a larger company with around 30 employees.  The attendance wasn't huge, but it wasn't as cozy as Ashley's.  We rented a conference room at a local hotel and had a semi-formal event.  There was live musicians playing Christmas tunes and we had a nice steak dinner. 
    This was definitely more enjoyable for me, but (there's always a "but" isn't there?) it felt forced.  We had assigned seating to try and make people interact who normally don't. (Thank you to the seat assigner for putting me at a table with Brandon and Laura, it surely made the night more enjoyable for both Ashley and myself.)  All in all, this was just okay for me mostly because I'm not one who likes to socialize.  I'm sure there are others at the company who enjoyed the party and its format.  The best part of the night was the after-party which was just a few close friends hanging out.

It's funny because you get to see a lot of different people from different backgrounds try to hang out and find common ground. You'll always have at least one person that drinks way too much liquid courage to try and force social ability into their soul.  You'll always have at least one person who doesn't sense that "vibe" that the conversation they are having is very awkward and that they should just walk away.  Instead they just kind of linger in your conversations a little too long.  There's a double bonus if the 2 aforementioned people are actually the same person, they'll make the night truly magical.

Company parties are a necessary evil.  If you are a social bug, then it's going to be a fine evening out.  If you are like me, then it's going to be another evening of people observation and mocking.  There was less of that from me this year because of a prank I was involved in, but I'll reserve that story for another post here soon. 

Merry Christmas!

I Long for Simpler Times

The holidays really bum me out.  I really just dislike what people become around this time of year.  I'm not sure if my change in feelings is due to my getting older or if it is just our modern age which makes things suck so bad.  The commercialism of these special times just sickens me. 

I work near a mall which makes me a near expert on the observation of the holiday human.  Bumper to bumper cars line the parking lots and mall entrance roads filled with angry people and screaming kids.  Once the joyful family enters the mall, the kids begin screaming for their favorite toys, candy, and whatever else suits their fancy.  If the parents do not comply, the child will fall to the floor in a fit of rage complete with punching and kicking.  The general masses won't tolerate public discipline of the child, but will still sneer at the behavior. They themselves are oblivious that their own children act the same way; well, that is without their daily dose of Ritalin.

After the children are calmed down with a wad of french fries and chicken nuggets, it's on to the shopping.  Lines of shipping carts fill the aisles of overzealous advertising.  Busy lifestyles and stress breed impatience and impatience doesn't mix well with lines.  Shortages of lead painted toys make adults fight in order to satisfy their kid's "needs" on Christmas day.  Common courtesy started fading sometime around Easter and is now non-existent.  People will cut line and bump into one another without a word of apology.

It's a very dreary and selfish picture I painted, isn't it?  Sadly, this is truth.  This is not the same holiday season I remember growing up.  The holidays are about friends and family and spending time with them.  I wish people would buy less things for others and spend those wasted mall hours doing something more meaningful.  Write a note in a Christmas card or bake some cookies and send that instead.  It will mean just as much, I promise.

Plan some together time with friends and enjoy a night out.  Make a tradition of it!  Traditions are what make holidays special.  It's something that is concrete and dependable in this craziness.  You can always count on that dinner at Granny's with all of the family. Every year it's just like you remember it and that is what is special about it.  I've always gone driving around on Christmas Eve to look at the lights on people's homes, and my wife and I have continued that tradition.

I would like to wish you, dear reader, a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.  Please be safe and remember what is important.