1. The remorseless cheer of holiday music which sticks in your brain like cotton candy, causing otherwise grown-up people to hum Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer at inopportune moments such as during department meetings or sexual foreplay (events that rarely occur together, even in the most progressive of neighborhoods).
2. Toboggans and the idea that somebody might suggest I would like to take a ride on one, which I would not. Ill admit that when I was a kid I used to love riding down snowy hills outside my junior high school on plastic lunch trays stolen from the cafeteria, but those days are long gone. Having had them once, I have no need to replicate the experience -- but I would hate to deny that experience to kids today (even though the district might expect me to) because it was such incredible fun.
3. The prancing self-righteousness of those who do their holiday preparations early. These folks need to find a hobby that doesnt make the rest of us feel inadequate. A teacher who starts putting snowflakes on the classroom windows before Columbus Day, for example, needs to spend WAY less time at The Christmas Tree Shop.
4. Having to hear about the possibility of lake effect snow during the evening news and being given false hope of a school-closing when, in fact, its just the evil manipulations of the local television station to get us to watch their programming all evening.
5. Having to fit into festive holiday sweaters that are about as comfortable -- and about as flattering -- as slipping into a Goofy costume.
6. Brassy-tasting alcohol-free eggnog, which tastes as if it has been made with run-off from lake effect snow.
7. Christmas decorations so bright they appear radioactive. You know the kind I mean, right? The aggressive sort of decorations where HUGE representations of Santas or dreidels colonize a public area? The ones that are filled with air always deflate into sad, creepy versions of their former selves and the plastic ones look like backdrops from cheap horror flicks. These are especially annoying if they are put up before Columbus Day (see # 3 above).
8. Wondering what to buy the 12-year-old nephew who, when asked to provide a wish-list of gifts, started off with A Brace of Concubines.
9. Jack Frost nipping at any of my extremities.
10. Having to mutter, with a humble false smile, No thanks, I was just browsing approximately 1,345 times to poor, tired, and hungry salesclerks sporting bewildered expressions who dread my approach as much as I dread theirs. Also, they never know which department might have the brace of concubines Im might be searching for.
11. My freakish need to watch Christmas-themed films when I know they will make me cry. If I see any character from A Christmas Carol or even one of the loser-misfit-toys from the old animated Rudolph I instantly burst into tears.
12. End-of-term parties more accurately described as impromptu mating seasons. You want to give yourself the willies? Watch a couple of your less adorable colleagues tease one another about kissing under the mistletoe. Its enough to put you off the alcohol-free eggnog.
13. The whole Secret Santa routine. You end up getting the material-goods version of leftovers and you realize that the stuff has been, well, left over for truly excellent and startlingly obvious reasons.
14. Dealing with parents for whom you have developed an almost electric aversion. You still have to be nice to them even when they are creeping you out by being all goo-ily friendly because its that time of the year. (This is especially difficult when it happens to coincide with that time of the month.)
15. Fruit cakes or any sort of baked-goods that have (or might have) little chewy fruity-bits hidden inside them.
16. The profligate use of sparkles, sequins, glitter, and tinsel. Enough already. If you are over 22, do not use any of these items on your person. Trust me on this one: it doesnt help and might actually hurt.
17. Getting truly weird gifts, such as slippers resembling snowshoes, candles shaped like mushrooms, an ash-tray in the shape of a miniature kayak (why oh why?), or a decorative pillow so unyielding, so lumpy, so preternaturally heavy, it is obviously stuffed with gravel.
18. Colleagues at the end-of-term party who descend upon the appetizer platter like hyenas gathering around a kill.
19. Otherwise professional, worldly, realistic, easy-going people getting pathologically wistful. I have enough trouble already, what with crying over those holiday movies. I dont need anybody else to go and leak nostalgia all over the place.
20. The thought that itll be a whole year until we get to do it again. Because, even with the hassles, this is a great time of year to work in a school. Happy holidays![content block]