The 5 Worst Things About Christmas

Christmas -- the present and Santa version, not the religious one -- has become an absurd, overblown monstrosity.

It's a frenzy of unneeded buying, gifts nobody wants, and time spent with people you spend the rest of the year avoiding. It's a holiday which no longer could be stolen by The Grinch, because it's simply too big for one cartoon monster to spirit off with.

While the season once mean something and it in theory celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, that's no longer what it is for most people.

Instead it's a season of gifts and gorging -- a celebration as relevant to the birth of the Christian Messiah as discount shopping is to Thanksgiving.

This list isn't for the people attending mass and spending a quiet day with family while exchanging some reasonable gifts.

It's for the people tired of the houses decorated with every inflatable decoration known to man and the ones who don't need to hear Train's Christmas album.

Most Christmas music blows
If I hear "Jingle Bell Rock" one more time I may go on a completely justifiable smashing spree.

That song, along with the rest of the overplayed holiday "classics: began playing in stores somewhere around Nov. 1 and the onslaught will continue through New Year's Day.

It's not that Christmas music is all awful (though most is) it's just that nobody want to hear novelty songs for six weeks or more.

The enjoyable tradition of neighborhood caroling has been replaced with every retail establishment playing Christmas songs so grating they make you wish for The Chipmunks.

The traffic is terrible
For about a month it's nearly impossible to get anywhere near a mall. That's okay if you can avoid the shopping centers, but when you can't it's simply miserable.

In the week leading up to the holiday even grocery shopping becomes next to impossible.

Parking lots are fill and checkout lines look like Russian bread lines from the 1980s. Throw in bad weather and you get a kind of shopping gridlock that makes you consider just subsisting off takeout for a few weeks.

Christmas movies are awful
Every single one has the same plot.

There is a man or a woman who has a high-pressure job -- usually a lawyer or a doctor.

This person somehow ends up in a small town in a rural setting which has a vaguely Christmas-sound name, perhaps "Mistletoe, Alaska." Once there our harried career person learns the joys of taking it slow (after being very resistant), finds love with an impossibly good looking person who turns out to be rich and there is always an old man who may or may not be Santa.

It's always the same and it's always awful.

Everything is closed
Christmas dinner is at 2, maybe even later yet everything except the odd Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts is closed.

Want to do some last minute shopping, maybe pick up some groceries? Well, you're out of luck. Not celebrating because you're not Christian? It's the movies and Chinese food if you're lucky.

Santa is not a news story
It's all well and good that people do the whole Santa thing with their children.

That's a personal choice and it's fine for kids to have a little wonder and whimsy in their lives (though the cut off date should be around 8.

If not, you're either working too hard to keep the deception going or your kid needs to be tested).

The big problem with Santa is when otherwise credible people help in deceiving kids. It's one thing for me to make reindeer tracks in the front yard or create clomping noises from the roof. It's something else entirely when local news breaks out the NORAD tracking Santa story.

Neither the news organization nor NORAD should be doing this.

It's no fun, not whimsical, it's a dereliction of duty.

It's why my son -- who we don't do any of the pretend characters with -- had a fit in first grad when his teacher insisted leprechauns had invaded his classroom, to evade the traps his fellow classmates built.

It's fine to do Santa in your house, but we don't need it to become something that journalists (such as they are on local news shows) and a joint American-Canadian quasi-government organization should be supporting.