every year, our entire society becomes obsessed with "the holidays." from the day after halloween until january 2, everything we see and hear is about a countdown to christmas, magical family togetherness, overindulgent food (and, obviously, her twin, "battling the holiday bulge"), and trinkets and sweaters and motherfucking earrings that say things like "joy," "peace," and "i heart santa." we are assaulted from all sides, and we like it. we walk through the world and everything seems different: the air seems more energetic, the streets are more bustling, and life is special, finally imbued with meaning in a dazzling array of twinkling lights and glittery presents and sparkling seasonality. we all buy right into the Holiday Magic because it makes us feel good, and we're happier and better people and give pennies to people in santa hats who ring bells obnoxiously outside of the grocery store. we live it and breathe it and absolutely love it for two full months - and then, just like that, it's over.
as this sad post-holiday time rolls around, i always find myself paying extra attention to the houses that still have their lights up. they look like twinkling little beacons of joy in the cold darkness of a january night, little orbs that whisper, "sssshhhh... forget about your new year's resolution. it's still the holidays - there's always next week!" i enjoy that, seeing my fellow holiday-romantics gently clinging to the magic of the season, unlike their grinch-like unlit houses next door.
i also find myself paying attention to the discarded christmas trees as they make their slow appearance to the curb. once beloved talismans of our Holiday Spirit, these pines are unceremoniously stripped of their charms and discarded, no longer serving their purpose as expressions of joy, and, instead, mere dry, needle-dropping nuisances that the dog or cat will invariably knock over. this ritual is that continues for months; from the assholes who toss their tree out on december 26th, to the slackers who line up their brittle brown shrub in march, i monitor the great tree disposal as i drive, noticing when the neighbor puts his tree out on a respectable january 6, marveling at the pile of properly-discarded trees at the fire station, grumbling at the jerk who carelessly tossed his out the car on the side of the freeway. asshole.
this comes every year, the cycle of holiday-mania, followed by a slight depression as the entire world comes off this high of fruitcakes and presents and excessive spending and wearing sequins and drunken missteps under mistletoe. suddenly, it's back to life, back to reality, and boring jobs and paying bills and going to the gym to combat the hell you just put your body and budget through.
clearly, we need a distraction to lift our drab spirits: it is officially valentine's day. god bless you, corporate-capitalist brainwashing.