Making Waves: Glad holidays are over, got any aspirin?

Christmas is crazy, let me count the ways.

There’s a reason they call the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday. From then on till Christmas everything goes blank, we lose our mind and throw money around like Santa throwing candy to kids in a parade.


Credit card companies rub their bony palms together with glee, preparing the forms to take your house and your first born the day after Christmas.

When you spend all your money you’ll be standing in front of Safeway with a cardboard sign that says “Need Help With My Credit.”

Yes, Christmas is crazy starting with the cards. This is the time we judge our friends and family’s net worth to us, that is, how they rate. We rate them from “best” to “put up with.”

There are three types of Christmas cards.

First are the good cards or mandatory cards. These are the big ones embossed with snow scenes for 19 bucks a box. We send these to our family and close friends.

Next are the cheap cards, smaller ones with corny cartoon Santas and reindeer. These we send to friends and relatives we hardly know, and the mailman.

The last are the spare cards. The ones we frantically send when we get a card from someone we forgot to send a card to. It’s usually your college roomate you haven’t seen in 10 years or Aunt Gertrude from Elk Nose, Montana who you never met.

You get their cards and have to send them one. They get the cartoon Santas.

The same pecking order goes for presents. Big presents for mom and dad and family, medium presents for friends. Smaller presents for Aunt Gertrude who we never met.

But the holidays make you crazy, sometimes not in a good way. Christmas, like Thanksgiving, is a disconnect with reality. The shock happens when you look around and discover your Christmas is not like the Hallmark Christmas specials.

Your living room does not have perfect lighting around the windows, you do not look like the handsome, chiseled-chin guy in the plaid shirt, or Mariah Carey in a wool sweater.

Your Christmas can’t compare with shows like The Happy Wreath, Romance at Reindeer Lodge. or Rocky Mountain Christmas. Yours is more like Foodstamp Christmas or Spam On Ice. I know mine is.

On TV everyone is all smiles around the perfect manicured Christmas tree. You’re not smiling and your tree is 2-feet tall and scraggly. You don’t drink Dom Perignon, you drink Budweiser. In the Hallmark shows the whole family hugs at the end around the tree. Some of us can only hug a pillow.

But through it all a little joy happens anyway.

Now it’s all over. A day after New Years and you’re almost deaf from the fireworks that blasted your ears. Your dog is trembling under the house and won’t come out for a month. Your head is still aching from the big New Year’s party and you’re reaching for another aspirin. You can barely sip your coffee.

There’s only one thing crazier than Christmas and that’s an election year. Sorry, but that’s what’s coming up, and right afterward it’s Christmas again. Oh, great.


You better put something strong in your coffee, you’re gonna need it.

Dennis Gregory writes a bimonthly column for West Hawaii Today. He welcomes your comments at