Christmas traditions that should really die now

Christmas is all about tradition: the tree, the presents, Santa Claus and, if you're so inclined, that Jesus fella. But just because we've been doing it for so long doesn't mean that it's still a good idea. Some things are good: Christmas specials, family dinner, lights on trees, filled stockings, midnight mass, tinsel.

Other things? Well, they can go to the Island of Crappy Holiday Ideas. (Hell, there was an Island for Misfit Toys, so really, this isn't a stretch.)

10. Secret Santa Here's the way Secret Santa should work: everyone in the office brings a $20, puts it in a hat, the hat gets shuffled up, and everyone takes out a $20. And then you say "Hey, $20! I can really use that! Thanks, Secret Santa!" and you go back to online shopping at your desk. 9. Radio Stations that Play All-Christmas, All-the-Time Little known fact: built within the human brain is a hard-wired limit on the number of times that one can stand to hear Hall and Oates sing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" before complete meltdown occurs. So Delilah? You're killing us, baby. 8. NORAD Tracking Santa Why Colorado's Defense Command station feels the need to get all warm and fuzzy once a year really makes no sense. Because of the reputation it got from WarGames and -- I don't know, reality? -- there's really not much it can do to seem innocuous. I mean, I suppose Patton might have made cupcakes, but I still wouldn't have wanted to give the guy a hug. Or, you know, eat one. 7. Mistletoe This has not been used to any decent, honorable effect since ... well, ever. The idea of mistletoe is sweet. But hanging it up in a random doorway is just an invitation to the worst sorts of people to loiter, and then feel justified in their grab-assery. 6. Turkey for Dinner This isn't fucking Thanksgiving. That was less than a month ago. There's still leftover cranberry sauce in the fridge, and second helping stuffing residue in your large intestine. This is Christmas, so break out with something new. I hear Roast Beast is pretty good, even if it does look suspiciously like dog. 5. Leaving Anything Other than Cookies for Santa Okay, you can get away with a carrot for the reindeer, but beyond that? Things are out of hand. The elves want midget porn, Ms. Claus wants some Midol, Frosty the Snowman's looking for something from one of the local dispensaries to fill that corncob pipe. Everyone's got their hands out nowadays. 4. Hallmark Ornaments If you have an entire Christmas Tree dedicated to collectible Star Trek ornaments, then guess what Wesley Crusher? That's not a Christmas Tree anymore. It's a testament to your ongoing societal isolation. 3. Pet Stockings Oh my god, your pet doesn't care that it's Christmas. Your pet just wants you to take that festooned tree back outside, because really, putting a tree in the living room in which they can't climb, or upon which they're not allowed to pee is just fucking cruel. 2. Mall Santas Mommy, why does Santa smell like Hot Dog on a Stick and Yankee Candle? And why is Mrs. Claus charging you $15 for a Polaroid? 1. Politically Correct Seasons Greetings Merry Happy Winter Day, everyone!
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen