Saturday, December 22, 2007

Come on, it's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year!

I absolutely cannot stand that people insist on being so miserable this time of year.

I am a pretty firm believer that, for the entire month of December, I could just stay home and watch Family Channel and Lifetime Christmas movies every night and feel perfectly fullfilled.

Last week, I watched A Diva's Christmas Carol on Lifetime. Vanessa Williams stars as EBONY Scrooge, a, well, diva, who has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas (can 'ya believe it?) and is visited by the ghosts of Christmas...past, present and future. (The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Ebony the VH1 Behind the Music about her life. Brilliant!) I have a newfound admiration for Ms. Williams, as I think she is great on Ugly Betty, and this was quite a nicely made little TV movie.

However, I don't think it was QUITE as great as Ebbie...another Lifetime movie told from the perspective of a female Scrooge, starring Susan Lucci. While that little boy from Home Improvement wasn't as heartbreaking as my all-time favorite Tiny Tim...Kermit the Frog's newphew Robin...he was still pretty pathetic and adorable.

(On a related note, I saw Susan Lucci in person the other night. We were both in the audience at Xanadu, and if I didn't already love Susan Lucci for being Ebbie Scrooge, I would now because she gave Xanadu a standing ovation!)

These two films, not to mention the ninety-thousand other versions of the classic Dickens' tale, all end, of course, the same way..."Scrooge" finds the true meaning of Christmas.

If only so many others COULD. If only we could put Ebbie in pill form and cure crankiness across the world!

Last night, I was wrapping Christmas gifts and once again, realized what an absolute spaz I am with giftwrapping...and had a flashback of when I was giftwrapping at my old job at Barnes and Noble three years ago. A woman wanted me to wrap a piece of execise equipment. (Yes, we sold exercise equipment for a while. Not really sure why, especially since we were right next-door to Sports Authority...who was going to buy exercise equipment from us? You would be suprised...)

I was having a hard time wrapping this thing, because it wasn't a nice, square, basic shape like...oh, I don't know...A BOOK...and the woman I was wrapping for honestly started snapping and cursing at me and finally just grabbed it, hissed, "I'll just DO IT MYSELF AT HOME" and ran-off.

Did I mention this was Christmas Eve?!

A boy behind her on line called out, "Merry Christmas to you, too, Lady!" and the others waiting on line just shook their head in disgust at her...which was comforting to see that most people feel that biting the head off of some poor shopgirl for not wrapping up to your standards...and the wrapping was a free service...was wrong.

I went shopping today. Most people who know me know that I am not the biggest fan of driving, or crowded parking lots, and will often drive an extra ten miles to avoid making a lefthand turn. (Seriously.) I was coming out of the mall, making a left onto 35 (this doesn't mean anything to you, does it?), and since there was a stream of cars coming forward and about ten in front of me waiting for that left, then there was really nowhere for me to go.

So I let a car in front of me.

The guy behind me started beeping and going ballistic.

Because I LET a car in FRONT of me when we weren't going anywhere anyway!

Lights changed, I stayed calm and knew it was just a matter of time before I could get a green arrow and be on my way.

Once again, the guy behind me starts beeping and going ballistic because I wasn't turning fast enough...when the light was yellow...and there were already cars coming in the opposite direction!

Seriously, people like that make me crazy. You are shopping, buddy. Most likely for holiday gifts. You are not racing to get an organ transplant. Is the holidays really are causing you so much stress, and you can't enjoy them because you are too busy flipping out in your car because the person in front of you isn't moving quickly enough for your liking, then I really think you should just go home and stay inside until January 2nd. This isn't what Christmas is all about, people.

I got this email in a forward a few years ago, and it always pops into my head when I'm dealing with pushy crowds and impatient people. (I worked six holiday seasons in retail. And lived to talk about it.)

Take a deep breath. Listen to Harry Connick, Jr.'s Christms album (preferably the first one, even though he does do a mean version of "Frosty the Snowman" on the second), watch Eloise at Christmas (because Gavin Creel is in it, and dances in the snow and is, quite possibly, the cutest thing on earth.) And lighten-up...and realize that if your biggest problem is that you are stressed-out because you have too many friends and relatives to shop for...then you are one of the luckiest people in the world.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year---overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every open house, taste all the holiday food and treats, get that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, make sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally, the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids and all the bags of stuff in with her. When the doors closed, she couldn't take it anymore and stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

From the back of the car, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, "Don't worry. We already crucified Him."

For the rest of the trip down the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Don't forget this year, to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.

Diana Rissetto

Sharing another holiday clip...

...Christopher Jackson and Mandy Gonzalez, two of the stars of the upcoming Broadway show In the Heights (which already played Off-Broadway and was wonderful!) singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" at the Bryant Park tree-lighting.

As some of you might know, Mandy and I share an uncanny resemblance to the point that I even do a doubletake whenever I see her. (Sometimes she straightens her hair, though...I think she gets sick of being mistaken for me.) Watching Mandy perform is the closest I will ever get to being able to sing.

Over the past couple of years, several shows have started selling tickets for "onstage seats." I have taken advantage of such seats. I sat onstage for Spring Awakening (excellent show, and I have been a Duncan Sheik fan for years), which is slightly awkward because at one point, there are two naked people standing just feet away from you onstage. I have also sat onstage five times for Xanadu (if it is possible, that show gets funnier every time.)Onstage at Xanadu is fun because you GET GLOWSTICKS to wave in the air during the finale! Come on! Good stuff!

I am thinking of writing a letter to the producers of In the Heights and suggesting onstage seating for that (like they haven't considered it yet.) You can sit on the fire escape or on the stoop. It would be amazing! And I would totally buy such seats!