Diane Willmek/The Gauntlet

Ted gets a lesson about Christmas

Ignore marketing spectacles; dig deeper into your feelings, not your pockets

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I was walking down the sidewalk the other day when I ran into my friend Ted. Ted only has one eye and he dyes his hair purple. He had a look of profound consternation on his face so I asked him what was wrong, a move I will live to regret. This is how our conversation went:

R.D. Ted, you appear disillusioned. Is something troubling you?

T.C. Nnggg!! Shopping... money... sales... muzak...

R.D. Ted, are you talking about Christmas shopping?

T.C. Of course that's what I'm talking about! It was a nightmare! This whole holiday is a nightmare! No one knows what Christmas is good for except a break from school and the Charlie Brown Special on TV! How can I feel any goodwill when it comes with a price tag and a label saying "on sale now through Dec. 27?"

R.D. Ted, that's a little harsh. Christmas is a time for peace and cheer and family. I agree the plastic reindeer at every turn are a little cheesy, but just remember there's a deeper spiritual meaning behind it all and it'll restore your perspective.

T.C. Perspective!? How can you talk about perspective at a time like this!? Nothing about this feels like Christmas! I almost got bludgeoned to death the other day by a granny who wanted the crockpot I was holding! Are you telling me that's the spirit of peace and goodwill? I say that's the spirit of bitch-ass!

R.D. OK Ted, you make a good point that sometimes people go a little overboard with the whole shopping thing, but you have to balance that with the positives. Remember when you were a little kid and how much excitement you felt when you sat on Santa's lap?

T.C. Honey, the last time I sat on Santa's lap, the only thing I felt was digging into my hip. When I was a kid, I helped my daddy put up lights around the house. Now people put so much crap on their lawns, a commercial pilot could mistake them for a landing strip and land right on their stinkin' jingle bell rock.

R.D. Ted, that's not very charitable. For some people, this time of year is a celebration of a religious holiday. For others, it's a celebration of family and the love you've shared in the year that's ending and more to come. Either way, there's more to it than the glitz and the glamour, and you have to learn not to let that take away from the chance to be with and appreciate the people that matter to you. It's a very special time of year.

T.C. Oh, you're all about the feel-good, aren't you sweetheart?! No one but you believes that! This is the time of year for your average dumbass shopper to take it up the tailpipe because there's a "reason for the season!" Santa's not an old, generous soul, he's a gimmick! He spends the rest of the year squeezing waitresses' asses in Vegas and shows up in consumer land in December for the commercial gods to climb on board and take the bleating mallrats for a ride! Nothing about this is about anything other than profit, exploitation and greeeeeeed!

It was at this point that I was forced to do something that I'm currently not being held accountable for. While I agree Christmas has become a crude marketing spectacle, I'd urge you to keep in mind that whether or not you're religious, there's a deeper meaning to it. Happy holidays and good Karma to you all.