It was a tired joke twenty years ago, now it’s a tradition. When the holiday season approaches, and that means any time after September, I begin the Christmas cancellation notices. The origins of the notices are clouded in ancient history but likely started with some offhand remark by one of my parents that my brother and sister and I leapt on and began elaborating beyond the absurd. It goes like this:
“You know what, everybody is just exhausted this year. It’s all just too much, I think we should cancel Christmas this year. No, no, I think it’s just for the best, let’s just keep it low key, and next year we’ll have a really big Christmas, okay?”
Just like with all horrible jokes, it’s only fun for the teller, and oh the fun you’ll have. It’s usually best to dust off this joke when someone in the room is especially excited about Christmas or some gift they plan on giving that’s just perfect. Feel free to add your own embellishments, keeping in mind the theme of the joke is that the parents are just too frazzled to deal with it all. As a parent I can now sympathize, knowing the work involved in priming up a child until their head is spinning at ten thousand RPM.
But. As much fun as can be had with this joke, it’s not for the more literal-minded out there. Which means little children who don’t get sarcasm. I’ve decided with Toddler Harbat that she gets an exemption from the Christmas cancellation joke this year. I’m not sure she’s ready. But next year come December 1st, she’d better be prepared to pack up the ornaments, take down the lights, and put the presents in the closet, because Christmas will be postponed so the parents can get some bottled water, a New York Times, and just relax. The year after that we’ll have a great Christmas. I promise.