The McBournie Minute: Have yourself a merpy little Christmas

Christmas is in the air. Well, that and a strong dose of car exhaust from cars idling in mall parking lots waiting for a space to open up. Yet, for some reason to me it just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

Sure, I can listen to “Blue Christmas” or watch the timeless holiday classic Bad Santa, but where’s the Christmas cheer? Where are the people smiling to each other and wishing a merry Christmas? More importantly, why am I not rushing around to get my holiday shopping done? It just isn’t Christmas because I’m done with my shopping.

I’ve had my own private little Christmas tradition since I have been a productive member of society. I figure out what everyone on my list wants shortly after Thanksgiving, and then I wait until Dec. 23 to buy anything. For some reason this year I didn’t. I’m sorry, America. I went shopping and last week I got everything done. How can you ever trust me after I ruined Christmas?

I’ll be celebrating this year the same way I do every year: being surrounded by family and smiling politely as I open each gift. My family, in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas, goes to a midnight church service, complete with candles at the end. Of course, we start drinking on Christmas Eve around 5 p.m., so when it comes time to go to church, we are all full of the Christmas spirit–and of course the egg nog that was mixed with it.

But really, I can go to church with a buzz any day of the year, if I had the dedication to get up early enough and start imbibing. It’s just not special to Christmas.

Maybe it’s the uncomfortable stories or comments you wish you didn’t hear from your relatives that make it the holidays. When I was a kid, we had a paper cut-out chain of letters with elves next to them that read “MERRY CHRISTMAS.” We hung it by both ends from the ceiling in front of the tree. One year, the tail of one of the R’s fell off, so it didn’t look like an R anymore. Suddenly we had a sign that read, “MERPY CHRISTMAS.”

A few years ago, we decided “merpy” was the term to use in such family gatherings. When someone says or does something awkward or borderline inappropriate, we call it merpy. Dad says something about that out of context sounds sexual? Merpy. An aunt starts telling stories from her college days, strong chance of merpy.

Then again, family can say inappropriate things at any time. It’s not just the holidays.

Tuesday night I’ll be flying to see relatives in Boston, perhaps that will feel like a rush. Christmas is of course one of the biggest travel holidays, so I’m sure to be stuck waiting in line. I wish be forced to take my shoes off and get patted down, if my plane ever takes off I’ll be crammed next to someone who likes taking up both arm rests and has bad gas. I’ll be trying to read and get my mind off the fact that my knees are jammed into the seat in front of me, which is now reclined practically in my lap.

Yes, Christmas is alive! Some holiday traditions will never die. We can find new ways to stress ourselves out for this special time of year. We as a nation can come together and get on each other’s nerves. The magic of Christmas lives within us all!