Archive for christmas gifts

Black Friday: Why is this even a thing?

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2010, Non-Advent with tags , , , , on November 27, 2010 by K-Mo

Today is Black Friday, which means it’s the official start of the Christmas Season, which means it’s officially time to start complaining.  However, the Cynical Advent Calendar is a real Advent Calendar and therefore we are not starting officially until the 1st of December.

That being said, since Black Friday has become it’s own thing in later years, it’s perfectly safe to just rip on this day for what it is without having to tie it to any sort of countdown.  So, as the kids say, let’s rap.

First of all, the name itself should be an indicator as to what kind of fucked up holiday this is. Black Friday sounds like the day Jesus died (which instead is called Good Friday for some reason) but in this case ‘black’ means that its the day of the year where most retailers make back enough money to stay out of the red.

Does that not sound INSANE to anyone else?

Hedging the entire livelihood of a company on one day of media driven consumer insanity is pretty fucked up, but in a way it’s also the American Dream. After all, it’s not like a doctor can decide he’s only going to really save lives one day out of the year.

I am just so tired of hearing about this non-holiday already. I’m tired of being bombarded with sale prices and bullshit every which way.  I don’t care that some fuck store is selling high-def TVs for $1.00 because if I have to risk my life or actually interact with Black Friday shoppers in any way, I’d rather pay 200% mark up.

But Black Friday has given birth to a concept I really like– Cyber Monday. First of all, the name sounds a little dirty to someone who grew up in the days of AOL chat rooms. But the concept is pretty awesome; everybody stay the fuck in your homes and stop being so crazy.

Well it’s here everyone.  See you back here in a couple of days so we can start counting down until the end of Christmas, when the world finally regains it’s sanity and normal life resumes.  If you absolutely need help to get through these dark times, you can always nuzzle up with your vice of choice and plop down in front of the 2009 Cynical Advent Calendar.

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The Ghost of Cynical Advents Past

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by K-Mo

Today’s bonus entry is yet another list! Yay! Hooray for you, the lovely reader, who gets to read it.

Some of you may know that I used to run the Cynical Advent Calendar on my personal livejournal before starting this blog. Some of you may not, but are learning this fact for the first time. I thought it’d be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and recant my ten favorite entries from years past!

Icicle Lights: December 08, 2004
I hate improper use of icicle lights. You know, those dangling lights that every one of your neighbors (and probably you) has? They’re nice when USED CORRECTLY. My mom had some on our old house, mind you this was before everyone else had them since my mom is constantly on the cutting edge of Christmas trends. Anyways our old house was a tiny bungalow with a pointed roof, so they looked nice on that house and really did resemble iciles. I can’t stand how haphazardly people just throw them onto whatever stands still and call it a Christmas Miracle. Your lights look shitty dude. Take them down and hang yourself with them.

Little Drummer Boy: December 10, 2004

I hate the song “Little Drummer Boy.” It has to be the only song in existance that doesn’t really grow or crescendo or anything. It starts to build and then, just no resolution. Just the same crap all over again with the fucking “pa rum pa pum pum” shit. This song is also 90 minutes long. It also makes no sense at all! “Oh look, the baby Jesus. Damn, I have nothing to give him so I’ll just BANG ON MY FUCKING DRUM. FOR A FUCKING NEWBORN. THAT’S TRYING TO SLEEP!”

Giant Candy Canes: December 03, 2005

Those giant fucking candy cane sticks. You know, the ones that are the size and general shape of a candy-striped phallis. I don’t know what I hate more, the gluttonous aspect of it or the image of little Cindy Lou with the damn thing stick out of her mouth boasting to daddy about how she “got her whole mouth around it.” We do not need food items that double as weapons. And for the most part these things go to waste.I’ve gotten them before and never finished a single one, and with good reason… nobody needs that much fucking peppermint.

Giant Inflatable Lawn Decorations: December 13, 2004

Nothing says the holidays like a big fucking inflatable fuck apparently. No matter if it’s Santa going down your chimney or Rudolph adoring your lawn like a fucking jackass, the neighbors will all say “Look, the Smiths dropped $30 on a fucking inflatable Christmas balloon. We need to waste money like that.” I’m convinced that’s all it is, “Who can waste more money.” If you don’t have one of these tacky things, it means you’re too poor to afford one. Rich people are required to have a minimum of ten. I mean, come the fuck on… does anyone really need an eight foot tall Spongebob in a Santa hat RAPING their Christmas display?

Non-Rudolph Rankin Bass Christmas Specials: December 12, 2004

I hate any of those Rankin-Bass Christmas specials that AREN’T Rudolph or Frosty. For me, Rudolph starts the holidays. I haven’t seen it this year, so this year will have no Christmas. But the others are Johnny-come-lately’s, riding on the coattails of their more successful brothers. Santa Claus is Coming to Town? Fuck it. Little Drummer Boy? Fuck it. Rudolph and Frosty’s Merry Winter New Year’s Jubilee featuring Jack Frost? Fuck it. They don’t have abominable snowmen, they ain’t worth shit. Yukon Cornelius for Life!

Electric Candles: December 02, 2006

Candles. No, not those kind you burn with the wick and everything, but the electronic variety. They suck ass. I hate them so much. Like, it’s always really creepy when people put them in their windows. Just a few eerily glowing candles on a seemingly empty home. That’s just creepy.

I just never got them. They’re not for Hanakkhua(sp?) are they? No, case they come in the “single candle” and “tri-candle” varieties. They’re just like… wastes. They’re the decorations for people who don’t want to put their entire ass into it. Old people.

Pre-stocked stockings: December 05, 2006

Nothing says “There’s No Such Thing as Santa” than a plastic stocking filled with misc. crap that would never sell on its own. You’ve seen this abominations, haven’t you? I’m sure every year you prayed to Santa you wouldn’t get one. They are always filled with the most useless garbage and toys that no kid would want. Shit like fake spiders left over from Halloween, generic “Fun Days” coloring books, crazy straws, just anything you would find at the dollar store, really.

Nothing says “I don’t love you all that much” than one of these fuckers. Nothing says “Oh shit I forgot it’s Christmas! I spent all the family’s money on Crystal Meth” than this bullshit.

Caroling: December 14, 2004

Caroling. What is up with that? Who does this anymore? I mean, we always see commercials of young, Dickens-esque carolers going from house to house with big, ancient tomes that supposidly have music notes inside. The truth is, nobody does this. Why the fuck would anyone want to just go around and sing at people’s houses. If someone caroled at my house, I’d have no way of responding. I’d just feel awkward and like wonder when it would be safe to close my door. Or fuck it, if I heard them coming, I’d shut the lights off and hide. Goddamn, it’s creepy. It’s like the gestapo are coming for you.

Fruitcake: December 08, 2005

Fruitcake. No, not the actual cake, for I’ve never really seen fruitcake in it’s natural habitat. I’m talking about the use of fruitcake as a holiday joke. Every comedian, talk show host, sitcom star and public official dusts off their crappy fruitcake jokes right around this time of year. And they are LAME. The percentage of people actually giving and recieving fruitcake are about 5% and that’s all over the world. That’s because the comedians told them how disgusting it was and so now they’re not buying the stuff. And seriously, is it THAT hard to get rid of? It’s called a trash can.

Coal Candy: December 12th, 2005

Coal Candy. There’s about 52 different varieties of coal “gag” candy to put into a child’s stocking. At first they think “OH NOES! I WAS BAD!” but then they look closely and see it’s only candy and their fears disappear. But then they actually eat the candy and taste the sweet flavor of irony, as the candy is so retched that they know now they WERE being punished, all along. Look, just cause a candy only comes out once a year, and as a gag too, doesn’t mean it has to be revolting. Coal Candy, lumps of sugar, sometimes gum, tastes exactly like what they’re made of, sugar, black food coloring and sin. And the blackness they leave sticking to your teeth and gums will haunt you until New Years Eve.

Bonus Post: A Few of My Favorite Things!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by K-Mo

Since I missed two days this month, I’ll be making them up tonight and tomorrow with bonus posts.

I’ve been doing some form of the Cynical Advent Calendar for quite a few years now (about the same amount of time I’ve been working in retail…) so I’ve gotten kind of a reputation as somewhat of a Grinch or a Scrooge or some other Christmassy villain. Nothing could be further from the truth! I don’t HATE Christmas, I just hate certain things about Christmas.

So, to be a good sport, I thought I’d make a list of the ten things I like most about the holiday season.

Christmas Crunch!

Fuck yes!

10. Christmas Crunch – I know, I know, it’s just normal Crunchberries with a Christmas theme, but goddamn if I don’t love this cereal to death! Nothing says Christmas to me than that malted corn taste and that sick greenish/pinkish milk that’s left over.

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – There’s a small list of Christmas movies I can stomach, but this one is just tops. It’s the kind of movie you wouldn’t mind watching in the middle of the summer (and admit it, you probably have!) It was a hard toss-up between this movie and A Christmas Story but ever since TBS started playing it for 24-hours straight on Christmas Day, it’s gotten kind of played out.

8. The Simpson’s Christmas Special- The episode that started the whole phenominon! It’s a little dated by today’s standards and the Simpson’s characters hadn’t exactly developed completely yet, but I still laugh every time Lisa pokes Bart and he goes “Ow! Quit it!” after getting a tattoo for Christmas and then having it removed with a laser.

7. A Muppet Family Christmas – Not to be confused with any of the other Mupper Christmas specials, this one was from the late 80’s/early 90’s when the Fraggles were in full swing and featured not only the classic Muppets but the Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock gang as well. As a little kid I was completely in heaven whenever this special aired on TV. Unfortunately it’s like impossible to find nowadays.

6. Christmas Cookies – Surprise! Fat kid loves cookies! I’m a glutton for sweets and Christmas is just the best time for these things! My mom always makes a ton of cookies but so does everyone else I know so I’m constantly at cookie maximus each December.

5. Stocking Stuffers – Despite being insanely too old to have a stocking, my mother still stuffs one for my brother and I each year. It’s mostly stuff we need like deodorant, a toothbrush, shower gel, etc  with a healthy dose of candy added in. Every year I tell her I don’t need a stocking anymore, but really I think I’d be lost without one. I always seem to run out of the essentials by this point and its nice to get some freebies.

4. Coca-Cola in Glass Bottles – This is what I imagine the three wise men must have drank on the way to see baby J. I’m a glutton for pop, but pop in a glass bottle is like the elixer of life.  They’re usually gone by the time I go to sleep on Christmas night, but it’s still a treasure to behold each year.

3. X-Entertianment’s Advent CalendarEvery year the only thing to keep me going during the holidays is this website’s annual advent countdown.  Something as simple as showing off the contents of the Playmobile and Lego advent calendars has spun into an annual epic episodic tale of hand energy, the many clones of Mare Winningham, giant coconut crabs and Christmas magic.  You must check it out!

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – The best holiday special of all time. Sure, I love the Peanuts, but this has it beat. I used to watch our taped-off-the-TV copy of this movie all the time, despite the season. The Bumble? Amazing. The Island of Misfit Toys? Amazing.  The whole thing is just amazing.

1. New Stuff – What can I say, I like getting new things! What’s the point of Christmas if you can’t restock your inventory a little bit? I know I’m looking forward to not wearing tattered clothing anymore.  Yeah consumerism is ruining the holiday, but that’s not going to stop me from accepting presents. Me love presents.

December 18th – Shopping Insanity!

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , on December 18, 2009 by K-Mo

Today I finished all of my Christmas shopping in one glorious go (except for one more gift, which I am ordering online from the comfort of my own home.) I refused to get swept up in the holiday madness this year and planned all of my gifts out well in advance so I could just swoop in and buy them all when I had the money. Don’t get me wrong, I like shopping, I just hate people and going into a store a week before Christmas is like entering a human zoo.

I know it’s kind of cliche at this point to even moan about Christmas shopping because it’s common knowledge that the stores will be packed and that people will be losing their goddamn minds over stuff.  That doesn’t make it any less terrible and there’s no way I could run a blog like this and not touch upon the subject.

I should be doing all of my shopping online, but the only thing preventing me from doing that is all the shipping hassles. Its not too outrageous if you buy the gifts at the beginning of the month, but as the season winds down and that last paycheck before Christmas comes in, you end up paying double the amount just to get it to ship in time.  In that sense, every year I’m essentially duped into entering the brick and morter stores anyway, despite my attempts to go digital.

This year wasn’t as bad as in recent years, but I also got smart. I went during the day, as early as I could, when many people were still at work. That’s not to say it wasn’t still a complete madhouse of old people, stay at home moms and screaming children, but at least the lines weren’t terribly long.

The worst though is the parking. Why does Christmas have to be in December when it’s freezing out? I have no idea who these people are who get the front parking spots, but I’m always stuck out in the wastelands of the lot and have to use a GPS to find my way back to civilization.  The long trek to the store in the cold is just sickening, but even worse is coming back to your car. You’re guaranteed that you won’t find it right away, causing a considerable amount of wandering around in the frigidness.  Then when you do find it, you’re not treated to that instant woosh of warmth like you get from entering the store.

Even if my shopping is all done, it doesn’t mean I get to completely avoid the chaos. Chances are sometime in the next week I’ll need to run up to the store for some toliet paper or other random item and get to experience the maddness all over again. You can’t do anything or go anywhere during this time of year without it being a real pain in the ass!

Can’t I just hibernate and wake up in a week or two when it’s safe to come out again?

December 17th – Christmas Themed Christmas Gifts

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , on December 17, 2009 by K-Mo

Okay, so I already talked ad nauseum about how awful Christmas clothing is,  but what’s even worse than that is receiving it as a gift. In fact any gift that’s holiday themed is pointless and kind of a waste of money because the person receiving the gift has to wait almost an entire year for it to be relevant. Oh sure, if you get it a few days early you have enough time to wear the “Ho Ho Ho” sweatshirt your clueless aunt bedazzled for you, but then its just boxed away and forgotten.

Now, there’s been few of these entries where I’ve been able to say I’m a culprit, but when it comes to giving gifts like these I’m guilty as charged — or at least I used to be. My mom used to be one of those people who had a Christmas Village on display, so each year the “safety” gift to get her, the one I KNEW she’d like, was another light-up ceramic  building for her seasonal suburb.

In my defense, however, this was the little kid equivalent of buying my mom a toy and they say most people buy gifts that they’d actually like to receive. It wasn’t my fault all the stuff she wanted was feminine and grown-up. But getting her a new police station for the village was something akin to giving her the Ninja Turtles Sewer Playset or the X-Men’s Danger Room.

These days the village stays boxed up in the basement having grown too large after years of receiving new pieces from me and my brother.  Likewise, my mother’s basement is filled to the brim with other unused holiday junk. That’s because every year my mom and her umpteen sisters and sister-in-laws all exchange Christmas bullshit with each other and so there are just boxes and boxes of unused  snowmen candle holders, Santa serving trays and other brik-a-brak that she’s completely forgotten about.

But who could blame her? Getting some new Christmas merchandise on December 24th is a guarantee of another eleven months of box time before any use can come of it. This summer, the holiday table at our garage sale was the biggest one and there’s still even more junk taking up space in the basement.

From now on, I think I’ll start giving all my relatives presents for 4th of July instead of useless Christmas junk.  That way the wait time until the item is actually useful would be cut in half.

December 10th – Secret Santa

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , on December 10, 2009 by K-Mo

Coming in off of yesterday’s economic rant, here’s another tradition that was made up to make sure you end up spending every scrap of money you have this holiday season. The whole idea behind a Secret Santa gift exchange is innocent enough, in fact it’s almost downright noble, but in practice it never works.

First of all, Secret Santa is usually carried on in places where people are only slightly familiar with one another, places like work and school. If you’re doing it with a group of actual friends or family, I’ve noticed it’s customary to call it “drawing names” and not “Secret Santa.” And that’s because society has recognized that there is a distinct difference between the two.  One is a custom of buying a gift for a randomly chosen person while recieving a gift from another randomly chosen person while the other is Secret Santa.

In Secret Santa you never get anything you want, need or really care for. Often times Secret Santa gifts are joke or gag items because the person giving them doesn’t know you well enough to be sincere. And Secret Santa gifts are always always always the most awkward things to both give and get. Everyone has on their best poker face, trying to stay cordial and genuine while unwrapping useless items.

It’s even worse to have to get a gift for someone. There is some ancient Christmas black magic that is cast over any set of Secret Santa names that guarantees you will always get the one person you’ve barely even spoken to. Then there’s always some sort of price cap and depending on how low it is, it can be downright impossible to find something of any value.

This is when you start resorting to the generic gift ideas like food, gift certificates, stocking stuffer doodads and gift sets of booze. I’m pretty sure Secret Santa was actually invented by the stores that hawk this shit so that they can move it out before they roll out the Valentine’s Day garbage.

Whenever there’s an option to decline a Secret Santa, I take it. It’s not that I don’t like giving gifts or recieving them, but I save that pleasure for the people I actually know and care about. When I give a gift I want it to be something the person actually likes, not something that ends up just being shoved in a closet and sold in a garage sale come spring.

December 9th – Christmas Debt

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by K-Mo

Today I had the lovely experience of discovering that my cell phone’s service has been shut off until I pay my late balance which I think makes today’s entry so much more pertinent.  You know who hates the holidays even more than me? My checking account.

If I see one more goddamn Christmas special where the main characters discover that the joy of the holidays comes from love and family and all sorts of intangible feel-goodies I’m going to vomit blood all over my television screen. That’s all nice for TV land but it doesn’t really translate well into real life. You can’t wrap up goodwill and peace and stick it under a Christmas tree.

Although part of me wants to just try that. I could give all of my loved ones wrapped boxes that are empty and when they open it I can go “that’s filled with my love.” All they’re gonna think is that I’m just a cheap ass who can’t afford real presents. And the truth is that’s exactly it!

I’ve got no money for Christmas presents this year thanks to this roarin’ recession and the fact that I’m still trying to pay off my debt from last year.  Every December it’s always the same thing, your money just goes every which way except for where it needs to be.  You can’t just not pay your bills but if you do, you don’t have any money for presents.

The whole tradition of exchanging gifts just really makes the season have an entire damper. You get one day out of the whole month where you get all this shit from people, but spend the rest of the time ignoring debt collectors and scrounging up change (which will then just end up in some Goodwill bucket anyway– but that’s a different rant.)

It’s shitty. This is supposed to be Jesus’s Pagan birthday celebration or whatever. It’s supposed to be some time for miracles. So why is it that I can’t tell the guys who shut my phone off that and get to make calls the rest of the month? Or why can’t I just pay my bill off and say “fuck Christmas” this year?

What’s the point of a holiday that’s traditions force you to buy and consume to the point of complete misery? And how can you even get off calling it a religious holiday when it’s such a blatant celebration of gluttony?