A Very Bigfoot Christmas

This Christmas I decided to stay in Prague. While I normally go home for Christmas, I had already headed back in September for a wedding and decided that I needed to relax this holiday season.

Still, there were both advantages and disadvantages. Primary amongst the disadvantages was that I wouldn’t be with family. Though my family is rather nutty, they are my kind of nutty and therefore we have a blast during the holiday, clips of which could be shown on the Charles Manson Yuletide Jamboree.

Other disadvantages were no feasts and no tapping into the stateside Christmas spirit. The feasts were a big downside. My grandmother, mother, and aunts provide meals of such epic proportions that it leaves me with the mobility of Jabba the Hutt and renders my system in shock for days. It also takes me a month to relearn how to live on a non-carb, non-booze diet and typically leaves me bloated and with a number of minor digestive conditions that have sprung themselves upon me in my middle years. Missing out on all of it was a bit depressing.

Not being able to tap into the stateside Christmas spirit was a downer too. Surely it’s superficial and kitschy, but I love the sights and sounds of Christmas in the U.S. The lights on the houses, the music in the shops, even the bustling malls. I’d miss my pre-Christmas Barnes and Noble visit, watching bad Christmas flicks with my sister, and a night out with my siblings at the local pub. All traditions in our family.

Additionally, not going home for Christmas meant avoiding combat in this awful war on Christmas. I am one of the lucky ones who has never come to harm in this terrible conflict. Growing up, my mother answered the phone during the holidays with “Merry Happy!” thus covering our demographic’s bases. While I grew up with a great deal of Jewish people, Christians, and Orthodox Greeks and Russians, nobody really seemed to have a problem with delivering an appropriate holiday greeting. You see, it turns out that if you just put a wee bit of thought into something and then wish someone a pleasant holiday season, then everyone is happy. But shh, don’t tell anyone. It seems to me that anyone exploiting Christmas to make it a religious or social issue should be flogged, sort of like if someone claimed the president was from another country in order to damage his….oh, nevermind. Anyway, I wish some people had gotten (five) heel spur deferments for this particular war.

In any event, if Christmas is in trouble, well damn it, it needs my help. I decided to save Christmas by making my own Christmas! I started by buying all the fixings to make Christmas Eve meatballs ala Grandmom, about five different alcohols, and enough cookies to give Oregon diabetes. Then I cooked all day while Burke and I watched a number of Christmas classics. When the classics were done, we moved on to the mediocre and decent inhabitants of the Christmas movie genre. And when they were done, we watched the worst Christmas movies in history. This sentence is still accurate if you take out the word Christmas.

Despite the fact that the Hallmark and lifetime channels seem to go out of their ways to make bad films for Christmas, the winner was Deck the Halls. Whoever worked on this film gave their all to put out the flimsiest, dumbest, and most incongruous and illogical plot in modern movie history. This movie would make a shiver go up Ed Wood’s teddy-covered spine. If Christmas is in trouble, it’s half because of this movie.

After a day of horrendous Christmas movies and meatballs, I found myself with no more Christmas movies and a stomach in desperate need of Mylanta. This all naturally led to a binge on Bigfoot documentaries. Bigfoot documentaries are the latest in a series of decisions that I have made all because of Netflix. Before Netflix, I was pretty set in my ways as a viewer. It was comedies like Frasier, Cheers, or Monk, the occasional war movie and thriller, and any movie about baseball. But now I am the kind of person who adds Bigfoot to his watch list.

A person makes a serious choice when (s)he decides to go to documentaries about cryptozoology. It opens a world of frightening What if…? questions and paranoid notions about governmental cover-up that make way too much sense. It could potentially lead to being that guy at a party. That guy who drops a few feelers out there about Bigfoot and then decides to lay out his entire theory and world scope to a dude casting looks over his shoulder and drinking red wine at an increasingly rapid pace.

I understood the possible pitfalls and went ahead anyway. After Deck the Halls the world of North American cryptozoology held no fear. Some of the documentary makers seemed to be reasonable, even-keeled kind of people. They said neither I believe nor I don’t, they just said let’s go see what we can find. I liked that.

Others, however, were not so…reasonable. Upon coming across a log on the ground one tracker exclaimed “This is Sasquatch. I 100%, no doubt, absolutely believe that Sasquatch knocked down this log.” When the scientists with him hedged their language and weren’t so sure, he rolled his eyes as if to say “unbelievers.” It occurred to me that if you replaced the word Bigfoot or Sasquatch with Santa Claus and moved it a bit north, you’d have the same show.

Anyway, it was oddly fitting to spend Christmas Day watching these documentaries. A bunch of people searching for something that was a mystery, dangerous, and fascinating, but which gave them a sense of purpose. There’s got to be a metaphor in there somewhere, if you figure it out, let me know. Extra points if you can link it to Deck the Halls or staying in Prague for Christmas. I like when this shit comes full circle.

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