It's officially December, which means it's okay for me to start nagging you a lot about Christmas.
You might be so jolly and cheerful that you sneeze eggnog. But odds are you're slightly burned out by the Christmas carols that have been playing in grocery stores since early October.
Either that, or you're not exactly a Christmas person, in which case you're in the wrong country on the wrong month.
Point being, it's easier to survive the whole thing if you can really get into the spirit of the season. It's a lot easier to tolerate if you just succumb. One of us… one of us… with boughs of holly… fa la la la la…
Not that there's anything wrong with Christmas. I mean, sure, it's a little commercial, with the annual trampling-to-death of a shopper or two. And sure, it can be a little awkward to decide how much to spend on which person, and who's a good enough friend to get a present for in the first place. And sure, Christmas trees are horrendous fire hazards.
I'm not sure where I was going with that. However, if you pretend you read a different paragraph where nicer things were said, you'll soon realize what a wonderful holiday Christmas is and why you want to be a part of it.
Christmas is strongly wrapped around the hearts and minds of so many for one simple reason – it's tradition. This means it doesn't matter how silly something is to an outside observer.
Say, for example, you were to see some strange oddball fill his socks with easily melted chocolates and plastic toys, and then hang the sock over a fire. Madness, you'd say to yourself. But some of our traditions may be just as strange to them!
This is a good starting point for those of us lacking the holiday jollies. Pick a holiday tradition, such as covering something in glowing lights, or baking a fruitcake or caroling. In fact, for utmost cheer, I insist you do all three at once. Fruitcakes are just shy of radioactive anyway, and it'd be just that much more festive.
Oh… you'd probably need unsanitary levels of radioactivity to make it sing. Scratch that one, then. Two out of three isn't bad.
Still, all the Christmas spirit in the world isn't going to help you if you don't know the true meaning of Christmas. "What is the true meaning," you might ask, "and how much can I expect to pay to learn more about it?" The best way to answer this question is to buy lots and lots of DVD Christmas classics.
There, you will learn that the true meaning of Christmas is quite flexible, depending on who is solving what personal problem. Scrooge learned it was about sharing his money. The Grinch learned never to pick on an entire town that can sing in perfect harmony.
Of course, for us students, the true meaning of Christmas is a free month off. That should be jolly enough to get you sanely through the season.
Johnathan Kastner is a senior English major. His column runs every Thursday. He once heard a tale claiming that Christmas was a religious holiday before WalMart acquired it in a hostile takeover.