Dealing With Annoying People at Christmas
People can be so annoying during the Christmas season. These are the folks who, like Glenn Beck, seem to find The Death of Western Civilization hiding behind every store clerk who wishes them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
To help you spot people like this, I've compiled a handy little list. Once you can identify them on your own, how about offering them some spiked eggnog? You know, to help them relax.
1. The WE SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS people. These people insist on sustained, meaningful eye-contact while deliberately enunciating their greeting: "Merr.y.CHRIST.mas!" This is the super-secret-code for "Are you one of the faithful few keeping Christ in Christmas?" I like to respond to these folks by wishing them a cheery, "Happy Kwanzaa!" That always throws 'em off.
2. The Anti-Santa Advocate. These are the parents who let you know in hushed, concerned tones that, "Oh, no. We never LIE to our children." The reasons for the Santa boycott vary: a.) Santa is a consumeristic substitute for Jesus, or b.) if their children find out Santa isn't real, they'll start thinking Jesus isn't real; and, of course c.) Santa has pagan origins. I find it helpful to ask these people if they've heard of St. Nicholas, the Christian saint who was a lover of the poor and the patron saint of children. Santa, it turns out, is not some nefarious liberal conspiracy to secularize Christmas. Historical facts are such a buzz kill.
3. The Christmas Police. These folks engage in a mighty protest every time an American city refrains from having a public nativity scene. They write letters, complain about how children can't sing Jesus-centric Christmas carols at public schools, and generally give me a headache. All that energy would be better spent kissing under mistletoe, I say.
4. The Unfriendly Atheist. Sneering condescension is icky whether you're a believer or not. In November, some atheist group sponsored a billboard along a major highway that reads: "You KNOW it's a myth. This season, celebrate REASON!" This tactic is so effective that I'm going out right now to torch my front yard nativity scene. Ho, ho, ho. Reason's Greetings!
5. The Christmas Purist/Abstainer. These peeps are on a mission to "reclaim Christmas," "restore Christmas" or celebrate the "REAL REASON for the season." What this usually means is no Christmas at all. Because, you know, we're supposed to be focusing on higher, spiritual realities and not mere human customs. And anyway, Jesus wasn't actually BORN on Christmas. That's just a dirty Catholic trick.* And take it from someone whose parents celebrated Christmas by not celebrating Christmas: it totally sucked. Abstain from Christmas, if you must. But at least wait until your kids are grown up.
*not surprisingly, the roots of "Purist Christianity" are often deeply anti-Catholic.
6. The Party-Pooper. There's one in every neighborhood. This is the ONE house that never puts up lights, opens their door to carolers and/or fires off a warning shot every time you so much as wave when you see them at their mailbox. My suggestion? Love bomb 'em with cookies and vodka.
7. The Christmas Competitor. Pretty much the exact opposite of the party pooper, the Christmas Competitor is the person who blows the neighborhood electrical lines by putting up so many lights and lawn decorations. They have all their gifts wrapped by December 1st because they finished their Christmas shopping in July. You'll receive their glamour-shot Christmas card one day after Thanksgiving. Give these people lots of compliments because nobody is that perfectionistic unless they're super insecure.
8. The Christmas Proselytizer. This person finds an opportunity to preach the Gospel in every single conversation. "Finished your Christmas shopping?" you might ask. This person will respond with: "I finished my shopping for this year but did you know that Christ finished his work once and for all upon the Cross?" I call this the Gospel Segue and every time someone pulls this on me, my brain does the equivalent of a computer crash. I have no suggestions for dealing with Christmas Proselytizers except to walk away. Fast.
9. The Nostalgic Screw-Up. This person is in complete denial about how terribly they destroyed their life (and maybe yours, too). But somehow, every Christmas, they find a way to only remember all the wonderful things. They'll wax eloquent on magical Christmases past and pretend your life together was nothing short of a Norman Rockwell painting. They might even suggest taking a big, happy family picture. My suggestion? Poison their eggnog with a sleeping pill (so you can enjoy your Christmas in peace).
10. The Christmas Instigator. This stinky little pot-stirrer likes to bring up controversial topics of conversation around the Christmas dinner table. The religious topics might include: predestination v. foreordination, wifely submission, why ____(fill in the blank religious faith) is a cult. Political topics might include (depending on your political affiliation): climate control, why vegetarianism is the most peaceful way to live, why Glenn Beck is God's gift to mankind. There's no way to avoid this person. My suggestion? Try to minimize their impact by sticking them next to the one other person who will argue with the entire time--so everyone else can talk about important stuff. Like stuffing.
Have your own pet peeves about Annoying Christmas People? Share 'em with us!