Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from Texas

Post Christmas Thoughts …


Before Christmas day arrived, I had intended to publish a few short stories about my family and how we spent our holidays when I was a child. For once, real accounts of a typical 1950s family Christmas. One thing led to another, and my time was stolen for numerous menial task, and not a word was written, so I will post them next season, and write them early, maybe July, when there is no seasonal sentiment or Jim Beam involved.

Television commercials during December are calculated and crafted to tug on your heartstrings. Smart producers pull out the stops to turn every add into a Hallmark mini-movie. Dogs and kids are the ones that get me; save Chewie Dog from the shelter, Dogs visiting kids in the hospital, let Uncle Stan and his dog Ringo come to Christmas dinner even though he is a junkie felon. The Peloton “bike to nowhere” is especially irritating. The young wife, clearly fit and healthy receives a Peloton stationary workout machine from her husband on Christmas morning. Hubby is insinuating that she is too fat so he drops $2500 as a hint. The skinny wife will spend the next year video documenting her stationary “trip down hell street” with everyone on Peloton. She loses thirty pounds while riding fifty-thousand miles in her living room. How inspiring is that for young girls? A few weeks later, in her next commercial, she is guzzling Vodka like a Russian soldier while her two girlfriends ask, ” don’t you need to go home and ride your Peleton?”

The adds that send me over the top are the car and truck commercials. Beautiful young wives in designer snowsuits giving their husbands a pickup truck that costs as much as a South Padre condo. Then you have the hunky young husband surprising his lovely wife with an ultra-expensive exotic SUV parked in the driveway of their multi-million dollar home, and yes, everything is covered in snow, and the mansion is in the mountains. Who are these people? Do they exist? Well, they do in the minds of the Mad Men that manufacture this fantasy.

What they don’t show us, and for a good reason, is the receiving spouse chasing the other through the house, screaming and cursing, wielding a 12-inch carving knife, because now, they have additional crippling debt that neither can afford because they are paying off college loans, living above their means, and one of them is unemployed. That’s real-life folks. I have a friend that pulled this stunt a few years back, and even though his wife feigned surprise, she didn’t care much for the car because it wasn’t a Lexus. Art does not imitate life.

The final assault on healthy parenting and the Christmas spirit, is the “everyone gets a trophy” and the “helicopter” parenting commercials. One popular vignette shows an average looking spousal pair wrapping a roomful of “Frozen” toys for their little princess. In a moment of illumination, the little princes burst into the room to announce, ” I want to be a movie producer!” That’s it, folks, to the trash go the other gifts, and they come home from Walmart with movie cameras, computers, screen editing software, and a trophy. All for a girl of seven years old. Parents thirty years ago would have said, “you’ll get what Santa brings you and like it” and then given the kid a butt busting just for being an insulant brat. You have to hand it to Walmart, they now go after those parents with money, good credit, and no backbone, because they realize the kids run the show. Where is Doctor Phil and Doctor Laura? Someone on TV needs to address this syndrome.

That’s my take on what Christmas. My wife thinks I’m a Grinch, and I may be a bit of one, but not by choice. Many like myself remember the innocence and sacredness of the holiday, and wish, against all the odds, that one day that feeling might return. I have to sign off now, the Hallmark channel is running a Pat Boone Christmas Special marathon and my smores are ready.

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7 thoughts on “Post Christmas Thoughts …

  1. jpgp5908aolcom on said:

    Ha….so true….

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  2. Gilmer Gal on said:

    There is more truth than fiction in this little ditty. My niece had to finish opening presents for her daughter because there were so many, the little 3-year old got tired and lost interest. How many toys are enough????
    Anyway, Have a Wonderful, Happy, Prosperous New Year to you and Maureen!

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  3. What a wonderfully entertaining story! I am so with you on this Christmas deal. I turn 69 this year, and I am here to tell you, this new idea of Christmas is disgusting. There is enough plastic bought with “Made in China” stamped on it to float away Mahhattan Island. (Which is not a bad idea, come to think about it.) I wish you a Happy New Year, Phil.

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    • Thank you for reading and visiting my blog. I am 70 and my wife is right behind me. I believe it’s the people our age that we’re lucky enough to experience Christmas before it was ruined by commercialism. You have to laugh at what it has become.

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      • I keep clicking on boxes in hopes of subscribing to your blog site. Evidently I am too stupid to make that happen. Please send up a smoke signal when you post another story so I do not miss it!

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      • WordPress is a bit weird at times but this should do it. Visit my blog website, on the right-hand upper corner, it says follow this site. Enter your email and click on the follow button. It will say you are now following and send you an email to confirm. Or you can just be alerted via email. WordPress is good, but a bit hard if you are not an IT guy, which I am not. Good luck and let me know if that doesn’t work.

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