On the first day of Christmas, after several weeks of over-the-top, super-hyper-visual stimulation of the "ho-ho whorish" retail commercialization of the holidays, I am about to crack like poor Britney.
I started shaving all my hair off, but considering the temperatures have been in the 20s, it probably isn't a smart look.
Next, I started screaming at paparazzi only to find out they were just more of the millions of tourists who are shopping up a storm in New York City and simply trying to photograph the tree at Rockefeller Center. Their only wish was for me to get out of their cliche picture, not in it. Embarrassing? You bet.
After that, I tried to continue on with my shopping, and don't you forget I am THE PROFESSIONAL SHOPPER. Within moments of entering Barneys I had to return a $600 nourishing serum my true love (well actually one of my extravagant clients) gave to me as a Hanukkah gift. (Though I may be delusional I just don't think I need a three-digit cosmetic fix).
But, of course, a power-hungry Scrooge-ish manger decided even if I climbed a pear tree with a partridge or some turtledoves, and lords started leaping from my Prada knapsack, she wasn't going to refund this clearly unopened, overpriced and probably useless goop without a receipt. I felt like I was talking to Whitney Houston — "show me the receipt," she repeated. And so began the battle of retail, which will wage through the 12 days of Christmas.
Desperately in need of some love and retail therapy, I sauntered off to the third floor men's designer section. I scouted my target purchases, took aim and went for it … along with another customer, who had clearly been bitten by Jack Frost and not the Holy Spirit of Christmas. Before I knew what hit me, a lady from Long Island was wrestling me for a 60-percent off Alexander McQueen suit and a pair of Dior sneakers. When I realized the depths to which I had sunk, I made a hasty exit for the changing room and vamoosed from the store in a tizzy.
I realized that, like many of this year's tabloid stars, I had forgotten to finish getting dressed and sadly enough, no one even noticed. The cruelest of realities for a ubiquitous fame seeker was no scandalous headlines; all I ended up with was frostbite.
I continued on my not-so-festive holiday journey pining for a miracle on 34th Street, or some chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but instead I began to gag from the smoke from a downward draft as I purchased a bag of nasty nuts from a vendor who cursed at me in a foreign language for only having a $20 bill.
But suddenly, I realized I couldn't let this Grinch get me down. It was beginning to snow. Like the magic of angels, these little flakes began to fall and it was suddenly starting to look a lot like Christmas. I had been so mesmerized by the enchanting windows at Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf's and Saks 5th Avenue that I had lost all track of time. I was late for meeting a group of uber-festive fashionable friends.
Forty-five minutes later, the fluffy fun snow had turned to slush and I had been splashed by countless cabs with their off-duty signs on because, of course, it was 5 p.m., the time when all New York City cabbies switch shifts and getting a free one is about as easy as getting a Birkin bag.
I dashed like Rudolph and Blitzen through the not-so-silent night, as horns and sirens blasted through the anything but holy night. I fantasized about hitting the next Santa that rang that obnoxious and redundant bell in my ear. Tis the season to be jolly — NOT! I was becoming as dizzy as a dreidel being constantly spun around by the hoards of consumers caught in the fray of conspicuous consumption and countless, useless sales.
As I finally gave into the hypothermia, I jumped into the subway and was enthralled by a wise man retelling a story of martyrdom. He talked of being in line at a store the day after Thanksgiving at 4 a.m. to buy two flat-screen TVs and an Xbox — whatever that may be. Why buy a box for your ex I wondered? I'm trying to get mine a restraining order. It's free and seems a lot more useful to me.
By the time he got in the store, pretty much everything he had waited for had been snatched up. He ended up without any of them, got half the presents he needed for his family and spent twice what he had allotted. Now he was looking at debt until the Fourth of July. If misery loves company, I was as drawn to this tale of woe as Mrs. Clause is to the North Pole.
After the day I had, I was ready for several cocktails — and I don't even drink. (I certainly can't afford a room in rehab that my swanky rich celeb clients can). Maybe this Kwanzaa, one of them will give me a gift certificate to Promises. As I entered Negril, one of my friends' favorite "flavaful" spots, I saw another massive line of people and my group of 10 trendy friends being verbally assaulted by a manager named Gerald, who was the size of an elf but not near as jolly. He was as angry as a tot in Toyland who got coal instead of Transformer robots.
As I tried to restore the holiday spirit, I was preached to as if I was celebrating midnight Mass at the Vatican, listening to this manager spew off about rules and policies while thinking to myself, "Dude, I just want to celebrate the holiday season with my crew. We just want to eat drink and be merry."
It seemed as though the spirit of this holiday was lost on this little elf. Perhaps some prickly mistletoe got shoved in his pants instead of being held over his head for a kiss.
Can't we all just get along? Tis the season to be jolly. If most of the people I encountered that day had been given a candy cane, they would have cracked it over someone's head. What happened to customer service? Isn't the customer always right? Nowadays, so many salespeople, waiters and managers are not around to help or assist.
Oh jingle bells, what would Jimmy Stewart have done? In this wonderful life, would Bing Crosby want to take any of the rambunctious spoiled little brats I encountered that day out Christmas caroling? Or would they poke him in the eye with Frosty the Snowman's carrot nose? The King family would be bankrupt trying to feed and buy presents for the whole clan in this day and age, and clearly the youngest members would have left the family group and sued for contractual infringement. A solo singing career and a clothing line is what has happened to the spirit of Christmas past.
Was Christmas ever that perfect picture of dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh? Or was there always a smelly drunken Uncle Bob who sang off key and tried to touch you slightly inappropriately? Don't forget Auntie Whoever who was always giving out way too many wet, sloppy kisses while Grandpa's disgusting cigars lingered in the house till Groundhog Day. The neighbor's fruitcake was as fruity and nutty as cousin Chuck. But it's the laughter we remember whenever we remember the way we were.
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. I hope you have a sexy holiday and a luxurious new year.