ADVENT PLAYLIST 2014 | 22. “last christmas”

Welcome to the 1%J 2014 1%J ADVENT PLAYLIST, in which we attempt to reconcile the simultaneously occurring but often contradictory spirits of Advent season and the “holidays.”  It has recently come to our attention that there’s a typo in this introductory paragraph thing, but we are going to leave it because now it is a “tradition,” like that blue streak through the T in “Deckmaster” on the back of Magic Cards.

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Why is everyone always giving their heart away on Christmas?  What a terrible time to convince someone else to fall in love with you.  People have family obligations – they’re usually busy – they’re just trying to get some cool toys.  Who has time for romance?

Love is never especially interested in convenience, though, and I guess that’s just a part of the miserable holiday spirit.  Every year you think everything’s going to work out for you, and “everything” for most yous usually includes “love.”  Because that’s like, the whole point, right?  It’s the greatest gift of all.  It’s what everyone wants even though they probably already have it and in all likelihood they’re probably not going to get any more of it.

Last Christmas is always a failure then, because even if Last Christmas wasn’t the last time you tried, it’s the last time your trying ended so spectacularly in a tragic act of re-gifting.  This holds as a rule for Christmas in general.  Making tasty dinners, not disappointing our families, keeping plants alive in places that are very much not their natural environments – these are the battles of everyday life, and our inability to win them is no more spectacular on Christmas than any other day.  It’s just that much more noticeable.

Why This Year will be any better than Last is a mystery, but it always will be.  Again, this is a pretty everyday attitude (tomorrow is the day I won’t fuck up – next week is the week I start doing [inanely unobtainable component of Positive Life]).  Getting older – in my limited experience, at least – seems to be about letting go of those hopes (no, I will not get better – no, I will probably never achieve the improbable).  But Christmas, I guess, is the one day when you let go of that reality and actually expect things to miraculously work out.  Which is why something as ridiculous as falling in love remains a Christmas theme, despite its astounding implausibility and despite it’s complete irrelevance to the True Meaning of Christmas.

Maybe someday that holiday hope dies out too, and the focus of Christmas turns to the maintenance of the illusion for all the delusional young people around you.  But I’m not at that point yet, and neither are George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley – and as long as their record keeps playing I’m going to keep tossing hearts away like they’re Harry and David fruit baskets.

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