America’s Phoniest Home Videos

Yesterday was Christmas, you know. Theoretically, this means that the Christmas Season, which began back around July, should be ending any day now, and not a moment too soon, because I was seriously considering becoming a Buddhist.

I realize that for many of you, the following statement will be too late, as you are already in the middle of writing angry letters complaining about my heretic nature, because you have already gotten me wrong, but I’ll say it anyway: don’t get me wrong. I love the Christmas Spirit, and of course I have the appropriate respect for the True Meaning of Christmas, but when you live in a city whose Christmas decorations have been up since — I am not kidding — two weeks before Thanksgiving, it’s hard NOT to get sick of the whole affair.

I missed spending the Christmas Season with my family this year, because it meant that I didn’t get to participate in our time-honored family tradition of Videotaping of the Same Christmas Specials Every Single Year.

The way this works is that every year, my mother, as Matriarch, has the duty of reading the TV Guide during the Christmas season and announcing to the rest of the household when every animated Christmas special is going to be on. “Oh!” she’ll say, in a very sentimental voice, as though she has discovered a long-lost classic from her childhood that we’ve never seen before. “‘Samantha the Sexy Elf’ is on next Thursday!”

The responsibility then moves to whichever Snider child is eight years old that year. (There is always at least one.) That child will say, “Can we tape it?” My mother will then lose control of her rationality and say, “Yes.” Then, someone with an ounce of sense in his head will say, “Don’t we already have that on tape?” Which of course we do. That is the cue for the entire family to search through our vast videotape collection in search of the Christmas special in question, and invariably — this is the really weird part — WE CAN NEVER FIND IT. So the decision is made that we should Tape It Again.

The way this tradition gets perpetuated is, once we’ve taped all these shows, we never watch them again because for one thing, they’re not very entertaining to begin with, and for another thing, it’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit in the middle of March, so the next year, when they come on TV again, we haven’t seen them for twelve months, so we assume we should tape them. I think that after the last of the Sniders is dead, and the relatives are viewing our videotape library in search of family memorabilia, they will come across eighteen different recordings of “Hey, Charlie Brown, It’s Christmas!”, and they’ll be able to tell what year each of them is from by watching the four seconds of commercials that remained intact on each one because whichever child was eight years old that year was a bit slow on the “pause” button.

Anyway, I wish I could have participated in this tradition, but alas, I was at BYU, living in Deseret Towers (motto: “Three in the Morning, Shmee in the Shmorning! Let’s Go Sing in the Hallway!”), starting new traditions. One new Christmas tradition I started was the tradition of Complaining about the Weather and Comparing it to the Mild Weather Back Home in California. I intend to perpetuate that one for as long as I’m here.

(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU. He is from Lake Elsinore, Calif., where it seldom gets below 50 degrees.)

The beginning of the second paragraph really amuses me. I always loved making fun of people who got all worked up over the stuff I wrote.

Fortunately, no one noticed that this was pretty much just a rip-off of a column I had written a year earlier for the Lake Elsinore News. Hey, it was Christmas, I had to take some time off.