Aw, Crap

February 2006 - I think it's safe to say that the war is over. Not THAT war, obviously. The War on Christmas, I mean. Surely it must be over by now. At least until sometime in late November.

What kind of ridiculousness was that, anyway? Just who, exactly, declared this war on Christmas? I never saw a story about it cross the Associated Press wire. Yet, there it was. This epic battle against ... against what? Peace on earth? Good will toward man? Tinsel? I don't know.

All I know is that when that certain time of year rolls around, I can look forward to crap. It comes, like clockwork, courtesy of a relative. I don't think any of you know this person, and I don't think this person is likely to read this column. But, just in case, I'll call this person Uncle X.

Because Uncle X lives far away, we generally only see him over the holidays. And, for several years, during the months between visits, he must have eaten an awful lot of Cracker Jacks. I know this because, for several years, my (please don't be offended) Christmas presents consisted of the prizes that came from the bottoms of the boxes. I can picture him sitting at his desk or on his couch munching on Cracker Jacks when, suddenly, his fingers come across a tiny plastic car or a sticker that reads "Thimk." Did he keep these treasures for himself? No. Uncle X saved them. He put them aside. To give to me. At Christmas. And I loved it. When I was 10.

Fast forward several years, and I'm still getting crap from Uncle X. Mind you, it's not Cracker Jack prizes anymore. It's a better class of crap. But, crap is crap, no matter how classy it is.

In recent years, the Christmas crap has included a plastic gadget used to cook ears of corn in the microwave. There were assorted packets of hot chocolate, including one sugar-free packet. And, who could forget the silicone baking sheet that can be used in the oven or in the microwave, washed in the dishwasher and then rolled up for handy storage? Well, actually, I forgot about it until I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets. But, you know what I mean.

This year, the crap came in a big box. The box o' crap included a seasonal blanket and a storage case for gift wrap. What's this? I thought. Stuff I can actually use! Oh, no! But, Uncle X did not disappoint. The box also included a tacky candy cane brooch, a tiny wooden rocking chair, a set of pickle forks, a colander for cans, some sort of fudge mix, a Santa decoration and a three-pack of plug-in pest repellers that double as nightlights.

Wanna know the best part? It all came in duplicate so my sister and I could each have the exact same crap. No reason to start a real war on Christmas. That's my Uncle X. Always thimking.