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Keeping the "X" in Xmas

Updated on December 7, 2010
Beautiful ancient tree chopped down.
Beautiful ancient tree chopped down.
Homeless for the holidays.
Homeless for the holidays.

Start with that peeping-tom, Santa. Add the pedophile priests. No wonder Christmas is spelled with an X.

Personally, I’ve always liked the term Xmas. I speak enough Spanish to know that “mas” means more. And an X rating can indicate some very spicy sexual content. If Xmas is a holiday about having more hot sex -- I say, let’s celebrate!

At least, I hope it’s about sex. Sometimes X means extreme violence. Murder, muggings, burglary, domestic abuse, depression and suicide all spike at this time of year. Maybe the X in Xmas is a warning to be prepared for violent times.

And if the X is about violence, I blame those annoying little songs. They’re like the worst of all commercials, played over and over and over again. You can’t quiet them by shutting off the TV. They’re in stores, on elevators, even used as telephone on-hold music.

Whether the words are about ringing bells, spreading cheer or following constellations, the subliminal message is always the same -- buy more crap. Crowd the stores. Celebrate the (4th quarter) season! I’m usually a very peaceful person. “Peace on Earth” -- that’s my motto all year long. But as song lyrics, it makes me want to kill. Just for one season, why can’t we all take the words “silent night” to heart?

Then again, maybe the X in Xmas isn’t referring to the violence among mankind. It’s about the violence done to innocent trees. Trees, who spend their lives giving us fresh oxygen to breathe, housing families of sweet little birds and providing shade on sunny days. Slaughtered, in their prime, in the interest of making things “look a lot like Xmas.”

I don’t get it. Why kill trees? Not that I’m totally against raising things to kill. Mink, I can understand. You get a warm fur coat that lasts for decades, from nasty little rodents who would bite you at their first opportunity. But who ever got attacked by a conifer? This isn’t Little Shop of Horrors. What’s a pine tree going to do, poke you with its needles?

“The fresh smell of pine fills the house.” This is what tree killers use as their reason for not going the artificial route. Maybe that’s true for country folk (who, frankly, ought to be content having the smell in their backyard). But I live in New York City and I’ve seen where those pine trees come from -- the sidewalk. At Xmas time, there’s hardly room to walk for all the tree corpse vendors. And guess who else is crowding the sidewalk? That’s right -- dogs. Dogs, who by the way, love to pee on trees. Think that tree is filling your apartment with the fresh scent of the great outdoors? Take another whiff.

Have these people never heard of incense? How about being more ecumenical and supporting the Hare Krishnas this Xmas? Or if odor is so all important, why not pick on another Xmas symbol to kill for decoration? A dead camel, perhaps. Like our past president, you can talk religion and make a political statement at the same time. Or for the small apartment, how about a dead fish? More smell for the buck, and no pine needles in the carpeting.

Truth be told, the real reason I find Xmas trees so horrifying is fear of fire. When I see pine needles in the hallway of my 100 year old apartment building, I get nervous. Somewhere, nearby, is a dead tree strung with cheap electrical lights. I used to be a Girl Scout. I understand the concept of kindling.

Saddest of all is the Rockefeller Center tradition. A few months before Xmas, a search goes out for the area’s biggest, most beautiful pine tree. And what happens when they find that proud, hundred-year-old granddad of a tree? It gets chopped down, tarted up with lights and used to decorate an office complex for a few weeks.

I’ve always wondered about the people who donate their magnificent ancestral tree. That’s right, donate. The people on whose property it grew don’t get any money for it -- just the “honor” of giving away their tree for the benefit of the multi-billion dollar consortium who owns Rockefeller Center.

I wonder how these people feel, waking up the next day and looking out their window at a giant stump. What’s it like when the holiday’s over and their land’s heirloom has been ground into mulch? It probably feels a lot like waking up with an empty wallet and a blasting headache. You try to convince yourself that the good time was worth it. But what you’re really thinking is, “schmuck.” Maybe the X in Xmas stands for X*?$#!!.


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      cousin douglas 6 years ago

      nice mink reference ...............