Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ah ... Holiday Memories: A Big Commercial Holiday Fail

By J.C. Lynne

Warning: This post contains dark humor not intended to offend anyone. 

The holidays are upon us. As we're in the middle of a fairly ambitious remodel, my Yule spirit has been waning.

We're swimming in cardboard boxes, stacks of tile, paint cans, and other construction sundries. You can imagine my response to the multiple inquiries about holiday tree installation. Last year, I mentioned not doing a tree given a launched dotter and two pseudo-adult sons. 

Oy, the expostulation!

Everyone desires the holiday mood, but the minute it's time to execute they disappear. 

I used to do the fresh tree bit, but the disposal and mess grew old. We have a lovely seven-foot, pre-lighted tree. I had erected the tree to discover one string of lights out. Pretty good record considering the tree is over ten years old. 

It took the Beard under an hour to fix it. Blam, let there be light! 

After a lifetime of family dinners, it's a rarity to have both of the young men home for dinner at the same time. Last night, we were graced with son 1's presence.

We arrived on a nostalgic recollection of the origin of the tree. I'll go on record as saying not much has changed in this house. 

The year we bought this tree was the first year The Beard and I co-mingled households. Hence, a tree purchase seemed a fit place to start.

The kids and I (all of them ten and under) visited one of the box DIY stores to peruse trees. 

Along the way, the children discovered a display of lighted hats. You know, reindeer antlers with tinsel, Santa hats that danced, and a Menorah with twinkling lighted candles. Wait? What?

Here comes Son 1 full speed down the aisle with a lighted Menorah hat in a sing-song voice, "I'm on fire. Look ma, I'm Jewish and I'm on fire."

Now I was of two minds. First, it was hilariously inappropriate and mortifying. Second, it was hilariously inappropriate and mortifying. Who ever thought it was a good idea to sell a blinky light Menorah hat?

I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I choked back my horrified giggles and commanded him to put it back on the display. QUIETLY.

I didn't feel a treatise on the vulgarity of relating the tragedy of the Holocaust to the commercialization of the holidays as connected to his childhood pleasure of wearing candles on his head would go over well in the aisle at the DIY big box store.

It was at this fortuitous moment I realized I'd forgotten my wallet. I called the Beard.

While waiting for his arrival I marveled at the stupidity of some marketing agent who said, "Let's put a Menorah with twinkling lights mimicking the flames of candles on a hat!"

I'd wager no one ever said, "Let's put lights on a cross and make it a hat!"

"Where's Son 1?" The Beard asked. 

I discovered to my chagrin Son 1 had snuck off and was now dancing back down the aisle in the lighted Menorah hat. "Look Beard! I'm on fire."

An enthusiastic atheist and basic 'could give a flying frig' guy, the Beard laughed out loud. "Who thought that was a good idea?"

"Don't encourage him!" I demanded. "Go put that back. It isn't polite to make fun of other people's religions and that stupid thing is wildly gauche!"

Son 1 unhappy and defeated skulked off to put the offending object away. Before his exit, he asked, "If we're atheists doesn't that mean we can make fun of everyone's religion?"

I whirled around on the Beard. "This is you're doing."

He raised his hands. "Hey, they're not my genetic offspring. And I wouldn't have designed a lighted Menorah hat in the first place."

So with the Starbucks' bleeding polar bears and the floppy Santa hat cookie cutter, a twinkling Menorah hat seems to be in good company as a terrible holiday idea. Thank goodness I haven't seen one since.

I'm only sorry we can't find the grainy, pre- smart phone pic of this moment as proof. Then again ... maybe it's a good thing.

Author's note: The dotter sent me this photo two days before my posting date. It doesn't light up.

Hey Ma! Look what I found!


Patricia Stoltey said...

Oh my! That was obviously a commercial disaster, but at least it makes an entertaining family story. :D

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Years ago my oldest, who had recently seen Fantastic Four, saw the same hat and went wild. He picked it up and put on his head. I did not realize what he was going to do and failed to preemptively strike. He proceeded to tear down first one aisle and then another while screaming "Flame On!"


Hilariously inappropriate--check.

JC Lynne said...

Oh man! Kevin! Even better story and given our superhero geek status ... perfect! Patricia, yes. It clearly made an impression on the children and fits his personality to a tee.

Haahahahaha! Flame on! Hahahahaha!

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