We’re (Having) a Happy Family (Christmas): A Ramones Holiday Musical

My guess is that right now everybody is starting to, ever so slowly, start checking out of life. Thoughts of fretting over the Henderson file and trying to get that spreadsheet finished are being replaced by daydreams of hot cocoa, hours laughing over board games, fireplaces, and fun family traditions. Yes, it’s almost time to get out of town and enjoy a pleasant holiday season with one’s nearest and dearest.

Or so we think. In the aftermath. A lot of times, its a completely different story in the here and now. Fortunately, there is a (sometimes dubiously) holiday-themed Ramones song to help you through every potentially stressful holiday situation.

DISCLAIMER 1: I am not at all basing this on my family’s holidays. This is based on the many, many sitcoms I have watched when I’m hanging out on my couch feeling kind of borderline depressed and trying to convince myself that I will DEFINITELY start some laundry after this one episode is finished, and then the next thing I know its six o’clock and, oooh, a Law and Order: SVU marathon is starting, and I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to watch this whole episode, but I might as well see how it starts. Oh, look. Another murder at Hudson University. Remind me to not go there.

DISCLAIMER 2: I am aware this list is entirely Christmas related, and I apologize to my Jewish friends. Sadly, the Ramones never released a Hanukkah song, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we are the poorer for living in a world in which there exists no recording of my boyfriend Joey Ramone snarl-crooning, “Dreidel dreidel dreidel/I made it out of clay” while Johnny Ramone slams away at his guitar with a look on his face that says, “Give me all your gelt or I will CUT you.”

Let’s begin.

The Song: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

How It Relates to the Season: It is a Christmas song.

When To Use It: This one’s for Christmas Eve. Everyone should be in a relatively good mood. You enjoy some festive drinks and everybody gets to open their obligatory one-present-but-JUST-ONE. The place is just lousy with holiday cheer. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because it won’t last long.

The Song: The KKK Took My Baby Away

How It Relates to the Season: Because she went away for the holidays. (Also, this video? Is completely epic).

When to Use It:  You know your cousin Marci? Your parents and aunts and uncles are all kind of worried about Cousin Marci, because she’s kind of a flake and her life’s going nowhere. Her Internet based business selling cupcakes custom decorated to look like your cat dressed up like a world leader completely failed, and her boyfriend totally went back to his wife the minute his parole was up. She’s your favorite cousin, though, because she’s completely insane and always brings really good vodka. It’s a toss up as to whether or not she’s going to show up. Finally, at 5 pm on Christmas Eve, she calls your cell. She’s not coming. She just cannot handle it this year. She’s going to hang out with this girl she met in the bathroom at this Slayer show she went to two nights ago who also has a difficult relationship with her family. “Marci, what am I going to tell them? There’s a hand decorated place card made out of a leaf by our three year old niece with your name on it on the dining room table,” you say. “I don’t care,” Marci says. “Tell them anything. Tell them I was kidnapped by a cult. Whatever.” You head downstairs and promptly inform the family that the KKK has taken Marci away. Bonus points if you have a Fox News- viewing uncle with a lot of poorly informed opinions about Ferguson.

The Song: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight). Fast version.

How It Relates to the Season:  It is a Christmas song.

When To Use It: It’s now about December 27. Everything’s been opened, feelings have been hurt based on who took what present to the mall to exchange the day after Christmas, and all the Christmas nosh has been picked over. Everyone is feeling bloated, cooped up, and irritable. It all starts when your paternal grandmother starts brushing the hair out of your goth little sister’s eyes and telling her that she should “let everyone see your pretty face!” Your mom grits her teeth and says, “Oh for God’s sake, leave her alone, Denise!” Pretty soon, there are claws out accusations of weight gain, pecan pie being burned on the bottom, the likelihood of certain grandchildren to go to Hell if they don’t find Jesus soon, and poor lipstick color choices. In the middle of it all, your hippie aunt with the son who isn’t here this year because he’s with the Peace Corps in Cambodia has the world’s smuggest smile on her face and is pleading, “Don’t FIGHT, you guys. It’s CHRISTMAS.”

The Song: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight). Slow version.

How It Relates to the Season:  It is a Christmas song.

When To Use It: You have gotten into a bitter, bitter argument with your significant other on the car ride to their parents’ house, where you will be spending the holidays. The argument has to do with the fact that you had planned on going to see a movie – maybe Into the Woods – on Christmas Day, as is your family’s tradition, and since you’re not even SEEING them on Christmas this year, you should at LEAST be able to observe ONE of your traditions, and your significant other has informed you that this will not be happening, as THEIR family Christmas movie tradition involves watching Die Hard on the original VHS. You HATE Die Hard. You make up shortly before arriving at your significant other’s family homestead. Makeup sex may follow, but it will be short, furtive, and mostly uncomfortable due to the fact that you have been assigned the bottom bunk of your SO’s 12 year old brother’s bed. Your SO’s brother is fond of surrounding his bunk with action figures and not fond of bathing or letting anyone near his action figures, which he feels the need to constantly “check on.”

The Song: Danny Says

How It Relates to the Season: Because it ain’t Christmas if there ain’t no snow.

When to Use It: Your grandmother is competing in a big Canasta tournament the day after Christmas that she absolutely cannot miss. Therefore, the whole family treks down to the Golden Shores at Shady Pines Retirement Villas in Florida to stay in Grandma and Grandpa’s two bedroom condo with panic buttons in every room. Despite the name, the Golden Shores at Shady Pines Retirement Villas is tucked behind a strip mall off a highway and has one swimming pool that is constantly in use by the Super Seventies Aqua Fitness Club. Your grandparents only really watch the Golf Channel or the History Channel so the one TV in the house is constantly turned to either Great Golf Games of the Past 50 Years, or Hitler’s Pharmaceutical Rep. Your 14-year-old sister has recently acquired her first boyfriend, who is on a skiing trip in the Poconos. When she is not texting him, she looks morosely out the window at the incongruously sunny marshland and sighs, “I miss Toddddddd.”

The Song: My My Kind of Girl

How It Relates to the Season: You know a better time to be walkin’ in a winter wonderland?

When to Use It: You’ve met “the one.” You’ve been dating for five years, and you think this is really, truly it. You’re engaged, and everything’s perfect, except now you have to go home for the holidays and tell your family the happy news. Your mother has been fervently hoping that you would break up ever since she found out that your significant other has a tattoo on his chest in commemoration of the thrash reggae band he was in in high school, “Toxic Mold Explosion.” Your mother has decided that this is clearly evidence of low moral character and that at any moment, your SO is going to revert to his true nature as a heroin addicted carnie, despite the fact that he has been a CPA for ten years now. I hope your parents understand.

The Song: We’re a Happy Family

How It Relates to the Season: No Christmas cards to send. And a shout out to the Pope.

When to Use It: Hooo boy. If you’re pulling out this one, its probably because you’ve gotten a phone call from your estranged father, who you haven’t seen since you were four, telling you that he’s asking the whole family to join him on the set of The Maury Povich Show for a very special Christmas surprise.

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