WARNING: You may already be infected with Holiday Spirit

The holidays are in full swing, and it’s impossible to miss it. It’s a good thing we Americans are so gaudy and over the top with our Christmas decorations. I mean, sure, it sometimes sends people into a desperate-to-fill-a-void-the-size-of-your-ex-husband type of buying frenzy, but I find the excessive decorations helpful. Shopping is something I have to be prodded to do for myself, let alone for my loved ones (thank you, e-cards!). Thanks to the incredible amount of media I expose myself to every day, I consistently get my holiday shopping done on time every year. Praise Jesus! And praise capitalism, the official economic system of Our Lord and Savior!

There are a lot of great things about the holidays – the food, the family, the goodwill towards man, the tree… actually, I always kind of felt like the tree was a non-sequitor, you know? I mean, we all know it has pagan roots, right? So how did it become so mainstream?



Loving the holidays in moderation is a normal, healthy activity. But loving the holidays too much can lead to a potentially fatal disorder: Holiday Spirit.

Tragically, most people who have Holiday Spirit are so blinded by the disorder that they have no idea they are infected with it. Symptoms of Holiday Spirit include excessive cheer, enjoyment of movies one might classify as “sentimental” or “syrupy formulaic tripe,” and enjoyment of music one might classify as “shitty.” Complications from these symptoms can include weight gain from excessive eggnog and chocolate intake, and sore throat from singing too many carols. Tragically, hundreds of people die from Holiday Spirit every year, most of them beaten to death by their own families. Fortunately, Holiday Spirit is curable and preventable; unfortunately, the only cure seems to be time. “Holiday Spirit, in most cases, wears off by the epiphany,” says Dr. Ronald Klinenfagher, head of Ball State University’s Holiday-Related Disorders department. “The more serious cases always seem to cure themselves by February 14.”

The preventative measures one can take to avoid getting holiday spirit are surprisingly easy. People with Holiday Spirit often wear what experts call Holiday Idiot Indicators (HII). Victims of Holiday Spirit are so numbed with the disorder that they make very poor judgments about clothing they wear and purchase. There are two types of HII: Head-worn Indicators and body-worn indicators. I have had two encounters with Head-worn Indicators in Chicago’s Loop:

The first encounter happened as I was walking down State street, heading to Border’s on my lunch break. I saw a woman wearing this hat (I am not kidding, I actually saw a full-grown woman walking down the street wearing this hat):

Here, you see one of the more flagrant cases of a Head-worn Holiday Idiot Indicator. She’s practically holding a sign that says “stay fifty feet away from my frightening cheeriness!”

Let’s look at another real-life Head-worn HII I saw in a department store. Again, I really, honestly saw a woman in a department store in downtown Chicago wearing this:

If you’re wondering, “Good God, what were those women thinking?” You’re still safe from Holiday Spirit. If you’re thinking, “That head apparel looks fun!” You may already be infected.

Not all Holiday Idiot Indicators are worn on the head, however. Many of the most obvious, downright frightening HII are concealed under giant winter coats and are unleashed at the last second upon victims. These Torso-worn indicators come in many forms; however, there is one Torso-worn indicator that is far more infectious than any other: I am, of course, referring to the tacky Christmas sweater.

Often, the tacky Christmas sweater is unleashed so quickly that a victim does not have time to react, and becomes immediately infected with Holiday Spirit. This, truly, is the dark side of Holiday Spirit, as these photos will illustrate:

(All from www.countryewe.com)

Good God. Each one larger and more horrifying than the one before it.

Now that the world is safe from Saddam Hussein, I think it’s easy to say that the greatest source of terror on this planet is gaudy Christmas sweaters. Please, I beg you all, enjoy the holidays responsibly. If you think you are coming in contact with someone infected with Holiday Spirit, and you have checked for a Head-worn HII, ask him/her to slowly remove his/her jacket to check for a Torso-worn HII. It may break the mood, but remember: If you break the mood, they’ll think you’re rude; but if you catch the Holiday Spirit, you’ll be totally annoying.

Original post date: December 14, 2003