For many Americans, myself included, the last two months of the year are a happy time of reckless drinking and excessive binge-eating. It all begins like clockwork at approximately exactly 9:37 p.m. on October 31st when, shortly after putting your kid to bed, you begin to steal his Halloween candy. At first you show admirable restraint taking only the loose Tootsie Rolls at the bottom of the pail, but by the end of the first week you’ve moved on to a breakfast of snack-sized Kit Kats and mini-Twizzlers. A midnight raid early in week two takes out the last of the king-sized Milky Way bars and you know you’ve hit rock bottom when your son asks what happened to the jumbo Reese’s Cups and you suggest the dog ate them.
No sooner are you beginning to show signs of early onset diabetes when you abandon the candy and move on to a gluttonous carb-filled Thanksgiving feast where you consume enough food to feed all the starving children in China dating back to the 1950’s when parents still said things like, “You eat that meatloaf. There are starving children in China.” Your reward for all your hard-eating is a 72-hour turkey coma…followed by four weeks of Christmas cookies for dinner. Your shame spiral then comes full circle when, moments after receiving your yearly visit from the ghost of Dick Clark, you wake up hugging the toilet, your face plastered with bits of pork gravy and sick.
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. So complain all you want about holiday store displays in October and Christmas music in November. Not me. Those eight weeks are magical. Give me Perry Como and The Carpenters. Give me Bill Murray in Scrooged and the whole of Britain in Love Actually. Give me all the Christmas crap the Hallmark Channel can make. Kit Kats, Reese’s Cups, Todd’s carrot souffle, row after row of brightly decorated Christmas cookies — I surrender. I’ll buy new pants. I’ll run tomorrow. I’ll join a gym in January.
But for now I’m going to be a kid. I’m going to remember when the day after Halloween meant Christmas; when Santa Claus seemed possible. I’m going to take my kid to the Christmas tree farm, cut down the biggest tree we can find and then make Todd drag it back to the car.
How to survive the holidays? Give in.