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December 07, 2010

This is the second installment in a 20-part series entitled, "Harmful Christmas Gift of the Day." I worked as a Picker of items at an Amazon.com processing warehouse for a good chunk of the holiday season, and the only thing I got out of it was a list of disturbing, harmful items parents are buying for their children (or each other) this Holiday. This article and many more at my site http://www.YeahHeDid.com!

Something often overlooked by economists during the holiday shopping season are the sheer amount of Christmas decorations that people purchase to brighten (well… usually brighten) up their homes to get their kids, neighbors, and even passers-by into the holiday spirit. It’s a huge industry, one that grows every year (in good ways and bad ways, as you’ll see soon enough).

Not all Christmas decorations are good, though. I’m not talking about Santa, who is often seen as somebody who “spoils” the real meaning of Christmas. I think he’s just fine where he is. The real meaning of Christmas still shines through… even through the lumbering mass of empty calories and cholesterol that is the body of Santa Clause. He’ll succumb to his health soon enough, I’m sure. No, I’m talking about something much more evil. Something that literally sucks the holiday cheer out of any room it’s put in: the black Christmas tree. Here’s one now:

I understand and try to appreciate the more “difficult” phases of one’s adolescence, especially the ones that involve the love and admiration of all things dark, dismal, and overwhelmingly sad. A lot of people go through a “dark objects” phase. My junior year of high school was fraught with the overuse and over-wearing of poorly made black band hoodies. I wore them with everything, and I wore them everywhere. It didn’t necessarily reflect the inner workings of my soul, but I guess I was rebelling against something.

The phase took over a few areas of my life (I think I gravitated towards darker pencil erasers and inks, darker music and even the darker side of the lemonhead family (grapeheads) during this time), but never really got to a point where it became a notable issue. I understand not everyone’s like that. And I think it’s great everyone has the freedom to express themselves however they wish.

There are a few things, however, that you do not mess with, not just because you aren’t cool or good enough to mess with them (you’re not), but because these things are sacred and should not be messed. with. The most important of these things is Christmas (there are others… we’ll talk about those later).

We’ve always had green Christmas trees in my house… not because they were the easiest to find, but because we’re rational people who know trees are generally green (especially evergreens) and that’s how it’s always going to be. Red and green have been Christmas colors for as long as anyone can remember, and we need to celebrate that every year. My brother Josh tried to bring a white tree into the house last year, and though it seemed like a pretty neutral color,  I was skeptical of the legitimacy of these trees and how much joy they can bring at Christmas time, and stayed out of the basement (where it was set up) for over a month in protest.

Red and green. This is how it’s been for so long. Isn’t it nice to have a little bit of consistency in the world? Well, the newest generation of kids are here, and they’re about to ruin everything. They’ve done a sterling job so far (radio, Nickelodeon, the new flavors of Mountain Dew), but they haven’t ever been a threat to Christmas… until now.

Enter the black Christmas tree. And not just any black Christmas tree. A cheap one that no matter how long you fluff it (and I’ve fluffed my fair share of these at Target), it will still look impossibly hopeless and depressing; not hopeless and depressing in a nice, ‘hey look at least he’s trying’ kind of way (Charlie Brown)… hopeless and depressing in the way the words were originally defined.

The kids that are buying these trees are quite obviously the kids I talked about earlier… kids that are trying to turn dark every little bit of light in their lives. Whatever isn’t black, they paint black. We’ll use “Darrel” as an example (everyone knows a Darrel who embraces the dark side of existence). He’s the archetype of the person I mentioned above. His Parents Ted and Marcy thought this was just a phase, but it’s been going on three years now. Darrel has already admitted to his parents that there is no way he is celebrating Christmas this year, as he does not want to let any happiness or joy into his life. Great move, Darrel.

Ted and Marcy get desperate. They know the second you give up on Christmas (if you’re traditionally a celebrator of Christmas, that is), your soul is turned over to the dark lords beneath the earth forever. And there’s no getting it back. So they go online… and throw out a hail Mary internet search… for black Christmas trees. Lucky Pass, Ted and Marcy. The tree comes in the mail two days later. Darrel is delighted (in the darkest, most non-delighted sense of the word) at his new black object, and retires to his room to set it up and stare at it blankly until Christmas.

Is Darrel in the spirit now that Christmas has adjusted to his “style?” No. Christmas has instead turned its back on the entire family. Imagine having a fourth of July party on a lawn skewered with black Pirate flags instead of all things Red, White and Blue. You’d lose your citizenship. And rightfully so. Parents, I know it’s hard to see Darrel in such a dark place… but buying him more dark things (even if they’re well intentioned) isn’t going to make him love Christmas. It’s just going to make him think that everything in the world will eagerly adjust to his sadness at the tap of his foot, a dangerous notion to believe.

No. The world should be a happy place. The world should be a bright place. And so should Christmas. Ted and Marcy: just let Darrel stay in his room and ignore Christmas completely. You’ll save a ton of money, and you won’t have to gift Darrel that long, creepy black duster he’s been eying all month. That’ll teach him.

Read this article (and many more like it) at