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  • Writer's pictureTammi Chenard

Top Ten Christmas Lists - Traditions

Christmas Traditions That Need To Go Away

The holiday season is filled with wonderful traditions which have stood the test of time and become, not only an expression of a specific religious belief but a socially accepted celebration that doesn't really have to mention religion at all. Chances are, there's a Christmas tradition you love, no matter what actual religion you happen to practice. It brings back warm childhood memories, lets you feel connected to family and friends, and brings light and warmth to a cold and dark time of year. Then, there are these ten abominations that bring only annoyance and under the breath disgruntled mumbling. THEY NEED TO STOP!!!

10. A Yard Brimming With Plastic Nonsense

Such over-the-top, cheap displays of bad taste do not bring a magical mood. They’re plastic junk, assaulting the eyes and the senses with such traditional Christmas images as a blow-up Santa showing off his ass (yup, a house near me actually put up a 12 foot inflatable Santa who is pulling his pants down to show off the “Merry Xmas” tattoo on his butt. I kid you not. I nearly died of second-hand embarrassment and nihilistic dread. These are the end times), Penguins ice skating, unicorns frolicking in the snow, and countless other pieces of Chinese-made junk. It amazes me how when a person fills their front lawn with plastic decorations, it looks horrifically cheap, but in actuality costs them quite a bit of money. The worst of both worlds.

9. Ugly Sweaters

How did this happen? When did this happen? It feels like I woke up one day a few years ago, and it was instantly “a tradition”. When you take a real thing (Christmas-themed sweaters that are actually kind of ugly so let's chuckle at the fashion faux pas), make it purposefully and intentionally the opposite of the original intent, profit from it, do it every year…it’s not a thing anymore. Ugly Christmas sweaters went from being a satirical look at holiday clothing which unintentionally breaks the barrier of good fashion sense and having a private laugh about it, to being just another soulless capitalistic cash grab consisting, conveniently enough, of mostly copyrighted characters. Just, no thank you.

8. Elf.

I’ve never actually watched the 2003 Will Ferrell “movie” Elf, nor do I have a single solitary desire to subject myself to such unfunny, brain-dead junk masquerading as comedy. Lucky for us all, I don’t have to, and neither do you since people insist upon incessantly quoting and meme-ing the “jokes” of this Christmas abomination throughout the entire month of December. Chances are, even if you haven’t seen the movie on purpose, you’ve heard the entire script. And I would bet cold hard cash that you have never laughed. Not once. Thank Goodness we live in a society that has its priorities straight, and Will Ferrell is worth about $160 million for doing trash like this for a living. I’d hate to see some lazy, good-for-nothing school teacher somewhere see a dime of that bank.

7. Hiding the Christmas Pickle

This one truly puzzles me. It might be because I was raised Irish Catholic, but I didn’t actually encounter this “tradition” until I was well into adulthood. So, I guess the pickle is an ornament, and it gets hidden in the tree (how big is the damn tree that you can’t find an ornament right away?) by someone. The mom or dad, I guess. Then, whichever greedy little rugrat finds it, gets money or an extra gift or some such subtle reinforcement of capitalist values. And, that's it. This doesn’t seem too fun to me. Also reeks of fake tradition: Although it’s supposed to be a German tradition, seems they don’t actually do it in Germany. It’s an American invention of relatively recent origin, but no one actually knows where it came from.

6. Decorating in October

This one cuts deep. October is a holy month to me, being a filthy hippie pagan, and to have Xmas devour first Thanksgiving and then Halloween…just no. It seems to have started in retail stores: Extend the season, make more money. And, year after year, the decorations go up earlier and earlier. Now we are in this desperate situation where not only stores, but individual human people, start to put up the Christmas junk in October. This is wrong, obviously, and goes against Nature. It’s very very simple, far as i can see: Put up Halloween decorations on October 1st. Enjoy them! Put up Thanksgiving decorations on November 1st. Enjoy them! Then, and this is the important part, put up the Christmas decorations on December 1st. Enjoy them till January 2nd. Then, take them down and be sad like the rest of us. Not hard, people. Not hard.

5. Keeping your lights up after New Year.

If they’re still up in February, you are a bad person. That is all.

4. Fake fireplaces on TV.

WHY? Why, though? Of course, it's great to kind of zone out while staring at an actual fire in a fireplace. There is an ambiance that a real fire creates which touches something deep in the primitive parts of our brains, and it's understandably quite pleasant. The crackling, the heat, the way it seems to be alive, it's truly magical. None of this magic is transferred to an image on a screen. Worse still, most pipe in Christmas music that plays in the background, killing the illusion completely by reminding everyone watching that this is not a real fire in any way.

3. Caroling

Humans, using nothing but their natural voices, going to other humans’ dwellings in order to spread some holiday cheer without bringing consumerism into it at any point, actively taking part in a long tradition of joy and connectedness at a very dark and cold time of year…wait a minute, I actually love this. I’m not a monster.

2. Elf On A Shelf

I hate this for a number of reasons: It is not a tradition, but a book/doll set first sold in 2005, and its main purpose is to be a product, not to instill wonder or spread joy. Yes, for around forty dollars, you too can participate in this Christmas magic. It just seems cynical and empty. Not as empty as the damn elf's soul, though. Just look into its eyes, the boy or girl version will do (of course there are more than one) since the eyes are the same. Haunting, demonic, terrifying. The worst part is, part of the "tradition" is moving the thing around the house while the kids are sleeping. Chilling.

1. Black Friday

This one might need explaining for non-Americans (and with covid, this has been largely replaced with online shopping, so this one might be a thing of the past, thankfully). The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, and retail stores open at Midnight or 1 AM Friday. People (weirdos mostly) will go to a store at midnight and wait in line for the privilege of …maybe getting a good sale price. These sales would be first come first served, and always seemed to be in limited supply, resulting in riots, injuries, and embarrassing scenes of shoppers trampling each other and getting into fistfights while smashing in doors and windows. Merry Capitalism, everyone!

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Tammi Joy Chenard is a contributing writer here If you loved this article you can find more of her work at

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