REPORTER SHANNON QUESNEL
PENTICTON - Like my Christmas shopping this story was written at the last minute.
Christmas is so weird for me. As a kid I loved it. As a kid I was also the supreme capitalist as I equated a toy with Xmas joy. It wasn't about how much love there was. It was whether or not I got Dinobots Grimlock and Slag wrapped and stuffed under the tree. Sorry Mom!
I must have enjoyed Halloween more. There was one Christmas when I crashed at my friend's place and I stayed up all night with him and his brothers telling ghost stories. We were terrified. Later that day I collapsed at my uncle's on a pile of coats when I should have been sitting between my mother and brother at the Quesnel dinner table.
Flash forward a whole bunch of decades. I now consider Christmas differently. I know what it means for my loved ones. The holidays still slide by me — images coming and going like one meaningless highway billboard after another — but I'm OK with others enjoying it. I'm even willing to help with decorations if it puts a smile on someone's face.
As for my traditions, well, I don't have any. I usually enjoy whatever happens in front of me. A relative could put a plate of food at my place at the table. Or I could press play and watch Die Hard for the 14th time on my big screen television. Or my newly-friended Kelowna inlaws could put another glass of wine in my hand.
Here are some other things I wind up doing during the holiday season.
Pajamas: Whenever I get home I go to Pajama Town. The same will be true this Christmas. The only choice I have is wearing some slick blue-black diamond slacks or Homer Simpson pants, the Santa Claus edition.
Underwear: I love getting 'em because I never buy them. I hoard Christmas underpants and make 'em last all year so make sure to get them. Yeah, it's embarrassing when you're trying to be cool at 14 and you get clothes to wrap your bum in, but trust me on this.
Movies: Die Hard. If anyone suggests another Christmas movie John McClane will stab them through the eye with an icicle. OK, Gremlins is another cinema Christmas classic. It's got murderous goblins, a chainsaw-and-bat fight and a screechy old lady shot out of a third floor window. I think something gets strangled with a garland.
Games: Steam. For those in the know I feel your pain. Every year we give our wallets to the all-consuming digital game gods. I currently have 306 games on Steam. I have no money and I cannot spend. That's another reference. My current fav games are Crusader Kings II and Hotline Miami. Crusader Kings II lets me live my dreams by killing off family members in order to save my province from civil war and infighting. All for King Richard of course. Hotline Miami is me. Just Google any video of this game and you will know everything you need to know about Shannon Quesnel. So, go get a Steam account. It's free but then so is your first dose of crack.
Music: The Night Santa Went Crazy by Weird Al Yankovic.
Christmas Eve: Sleepy time and last minute gift wrapping. I get all avant-garde and turn present wrapping into aggressive art. I will be including black duct tape this year to make an indecipherable political statement. I might also have vodka to drink. The morals here are duct tape, drinks and aggression.
Christmas Day: I'll be doing something different for this year's Christmas Day but previous ones had me getting up in the morning, dragging our stockings to the bed, along with the coffee and the kitties, and pulling out whatever present we could stick into a novelty sock. We then shuffle in our warm socks over to the Christmas tree and continue with gift-unwrapping. Then it's off to Mom-Mom's house. That's where we go see my wife's mom for Christmas and my Mom joins us. It's awesome. I drink wine with my brother and sister-in-laws for the rest of the day before I fall asleep on the world's comfiest couch. Spend time with people who appreciate Christmas.
New Year's Eve: I have two bestest memories. The first was roleplaying Dungeons and Dragons with my friends in the long-long ago. That's another reference by the way. We stopped rolling our D20s to say, 'Happy New Year!' before going back to murderizing baddies. The second time was in Sudbury several years ago, drinking shots with my wife, my friend and his wife. That's it. We drank shots and screamed at the TV as the ball fell. The tip is spend the holidays with friends or friendly hostages.
New Year's Day: Wear ear plugs and you can sleep till 1 p.m.
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