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Annual Christmas Dialogue

This was in my blog entry last Christmas, and so it is again today. At this rate, it may become a tradition:

At Lucy's "PSYCHIATRIC HELP" booth:

Charlie Brown: [M]y trouble is Christmas. I just don't understand it. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.
Lucy: You need involvement. You need to get involved in some real Christmas project. How would you like to be the director of our Christmas play?
Charlie Brown: Me? You want me to be the director of a Christmas play?
Lucy: Sure, Charlie Brown. We need a director. You need involvement. We've got a shepherd, musicians, animals, everyone you need. We've even got a Christmas queen.
Charlie Brown: I don't know anything about directing a Christmas play.
Lucy: Don't worry; I'll be there to help you. I'll meet you at the auditorium. Incidentally, I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys, or a bicycle, or clothes, or something like that.
Charlie Brown: What is you want?
Lucy: Real estate.

Later, on the way to the auditorium:

Sally: I've been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?
Charlie Brown: Well, I don't have much time. I'm supposed to get down to the school auditorium and direct a Christmas play.
Sally: You write it and I'll tell you what I want to say.
Charlie Brown: Okay, shoot.
Sally: Dear Santa Claus: How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh, brother!
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?
Charlie Brown: Tens and twenties? Oh, even my baby sister!
Sally: All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

Later, at the auditorium:

Charlie Brown: That does it! Now look, if we're ever to get this play off the ground, we've gotta have some cooperation.
Lucy: What's the matter, Charlie Brown? Don't you think it's great?
Charlie Brown: It's all wrong!
Lucy: Look, Charlie, let's face it: we all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know.

I know in my heart that Christmas is becoming more commercialized, more frantic, more... greedy. In 1965, at least most people gave actual presents. Now the trend is to give gift cards, which seem terribly impersonal to me.

The worst part is that I was a direct participant in the trend this year. With just a couple of exceptions, I put off my holiday shopping until two days before Christmas. All it took was half an hour of motionless parking lot traffic jams and the press of humanity in the stores to be beaten into an "okay, I'll just get everyone gift cards" sort of resignation. Next Christmas, not a single gift card -- that's my resolution.

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