Ahh the holiday season is upon us. Joy oh Joy.

Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year. Autumn and Winter are my first and second favorite seasons. I love the holiday music and the lights and decorations. I even like a lot of the sappy sentimental stuff encouraging us to be nicer to each other. It couldn't hurt.

But along with the holiday season comes crass commercialism, one more markerting angle to seperate us from our money. Perhaps only Valentine's Day is more extortionistic. And since being married things have gotten more complicated. I can go with out buying presents for everyone I know. Its not that I'm cheap (well, not only that anyway), but sometimes there just isn't enough money at the end of the month. I would rather not choose between food and buying gifts for my third cousin. I don't expect anything either, I'm happier these days not to get anyting, I have pretty much all I need and I don't want people to put forth the time and expense to get me anything.

Not so the wife. Presents must be gotten for just about everyone, never mind if we can afford it. And presents are expected in return, I've learned from bitter experience that the "oh you don't need to get me anything this year" ruse is a trap, and a nasty one at that.

Then there is the matter of spending time with your families. Not a bad idea, family is important and I like mine, I even like my mother-in-law. What I don't like are crowded houses where everyone comes together at once, often after long drives. Whats the point of packing a bunch of tired, stressed out people into close quarterd for long periods of time, your just asking for trouble. I would much ratehr spend a quiet day with my wife and get around too seeing my relatives one or two at a time over the season.

Alas, its not to be. Thursday I will get up early after working late and drive over 3 hours to go and sit in small house with too many people. If things go as normal my wife and her family will begin to rehash everything they have done wrong to each other over the last 40 years. I will sit there in uncomfortable silence wishing I was somewhere else until I've had all I can take. At this point I will tell the lot of them to shut up, and then try to drag my wife out the door for a long drive home where she will be angry at me for making a scene and making her leave early.

Ahh the holiday season is upon us. Joy oh Joy.