The Wonderful Hazards of Christmas and the Holiday Season


Jenna Grayson

A man stresses over the price of holiday gifts and potential mishaps that could occur during the joys of Christmas.

    Ah, yes, Christmas. America’s favorite holiday. It’s so beloved that it requires three months of preparation for the celebration. That’s right — for an entire quarter of the year, the joy of Christmas lingers in the air like airborne pathogens.

    There’s nothing better than seeing a full display of Christmas trees, inflatable Santas and limited edition peppermint-scented and holiday-themed products the day after Halloween. And it’s so generous of companies to start advertising their entire range of products in September and to add even more in early November. What’s better than having constant reminders to drop a bunch of cash on gifts for an event that takes place on Dec. 25? Nothing.

    The National Retail Federation estimates that the average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts this year. There’s nothing more useful that that money could be spent on! Because spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for people who probably don’t need nor want them instead of spending that money on a vacation, a charity donation, setting it aside for taxes or putting that money into savings is so worth it for the Christmas spirit.

    Even though traditional Christmas flavors and foods aren’t the best things to grace the human tongue, they enhance the holiday atmosphere. Is there anything more Christmas-y than inhaling peppermint and chugging boiling hot chocolate? When it’s not December, it’s a rare sight to see someone eating gingerbread, begging for a slice of fruitcake or downing a raw egg smoothie — better known as eggnog — which is what makes the food so special. It really spreads the holiday mood around when everyone is attempting to bite off a piece of hard-as-a-rock fruit bread while upping the risk of contracting salmonella.

    Nothing says “fire safety” like stringing a dry, dead tree with lights that are left on for hours upon end, placing said tree near an electrical outlet, burning bundles of wood in the fireplace, and placing decorative candles in every corner and crevice. Luckily, pine trees are only the seventh most common domestic fire hazard, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. So, the fires really aren’t that bad considering that house fires more commonly occur in six other ways.

    Another fantastic part of the holiday season is all of the beautiful decorations, whether it be greenery or lights. There are pine trees and poinsettias, which are kind of a giant death trap for household pets, with poinsettias being mildly toxic to both cats and dogs, and pine needles having the potential of causing vomiting, nausea and internal organ rupturing if ingested, according to the Pet Poison Helpline website. But they’re so pretty!

    But not quite as pretty as all of the marvelous lights draped on top of dead trees, hung inside and outside of houses and buildings, and presented at light shows. The United States is able to use a modest 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of energy consumption for its decorative holiday lights each year, according to the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. This small usage of electricity also happens to be more than the yearly national electricity consumption of Nepal and Cambodia combined together, as cited by The Center for Global Development. Electricity is great!

    It’s time to watch those beloved Hallmark, Lifetime and Freeform original movies that reinforce heteronormativity while featuring a cast that’s about as diverse as a loaf of sourdough bread. It’s the time to celebrate Jesus’s birthday and ignore the fact that most historians agree that he likely wasn’t born in December, but somewhere between the Spring and the Fall, according to Live Science, an online platform that specializes in news on science and technology. It’s the time to listen to classic Christmas songs, like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which never gets old — even after it’s played for the seventeenth time in a row.

    But it’s also the time to ignore all of the commercialism around Christmas — even after spending an uncomfortable amount of money on gifts — and be with loved ones, and nothing is more in the spirits of the holidays than that.