Tag Archives: Xmas

Christmas Song of the Week!

As the holiday season approaches, we at The Annual are dedicated to keeping you in Christmas spirit by highlighting a classic Christmas Tune every week. Here’s our first hit!

Christmas time. Christmas-time. Christmastime. A time of year when families come together, when people celebrate one another, when gifts are given to show that you care for someone other than yourself. What words could be used to describe it? Joyous. Happy. Wonderful. A Wonderful Christmastime.

One of the best Christmas songs – and subsequently, one of the most over-played Christmas songs – is “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney, and for good reason.

When you turn on the 24/7 Christmas radio station (97.1 Wash FM, for DC locals) each holiday season, what are you looking for? Perhaps, a reminder of good times past. Paul McCartney has certainly passed the height of his popularity, but Wonderful Christmastime reminds us of how good he used to be, and how good The Beatles used to be, and how their songs were really good so, so long ago, and their solo stuff was not and is not very good. Christmas is all about reminiscing, and this song drives that point home succinctly.

The song is very catchy and easy to remember. There are only 45 different words in the entire song, with the chorus repeated six times. SIX! If you aren’t having a Wonderful Christmastime by the time the song is over, put it on repeat, and turn up the volume; your bells will be jingled after the fourth or fifth repetition. Plus, it has that early 80’s synth-style beat, making you feel like you are about to watch a buddy-cop action movie. And the sleigh bells! A staple of all classic Christmas songs; if you don’t have the sleigh bells, you don’t have a hit! Give the people what they want, Paul does.

Christmastime is about family, and what says family more than children? The choir of children singing in Wonderful Christmastime invokes a feeling of togetherness. Do you hate family? Do you hate children? Do you hate other people being happy? Well then go celebrate Festivus you jerk! McCartney doesn’t even let them sing for very long; a total of 17 seconds if you count the “harmonizing” that is attempted. You can’t even listen to these kids long enough to hate them. Paul brings up the children later, saying they “practiced all year long,” and doesn’t let them sing again RIGHT AFTER THAT or in the rest of the song. I mean, those kids practiced all year long to sing the words “ding-dong” and “oooo” and you can’t let them have that? God, what kind of monster are you? You can’t spend 17 SECONDS of your precious Christmastime on these children who worked so hard to make you happy? That’s cold, man. That’s really cold…

Any who, while you are creating new memories with your friends and family this holiday season, or when giving gifts with loved ones and co-workers, or while sitting along in your studio apartment watching those rascally Home Alone robbers get all beat up and mangled by a child, try to remember what this time of year is all about – listening to the same 12 or 15 Christmas songs every time you get in the car or turn on your iTunes playlist. Make sure Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney is one of those non-stop repeating titles, because it isn’t Christmastime unless it is Wonderful.

Unless you hate kids. You jerk.

“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney – probably playing right now on 97.1 Wash FM, DC’s only station for non-stop Christmas music.

TM Scholtes

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Why I, Too, Will Be Boycotting The Mall of America This Xmas

This Christmas, many are calling for a total boycott of the famed Mall of America due to their decision to employ a Black Santa. I grew up with White Santa, but unlike many boycotters, I understand that Santa is merely a social construct.

However, I will not be shopping at The Mall of America this year, just as I have chosen not to do ever since I learned about this capitalist wonderland while watching Mary Kate and Ashley’s Mall Party as a child. I have chosen to boycott the mall on the sheer premise of practicality, you expect me to travel 15 hours to Minnesota to get my holiday shopping done? No thanks. At that rate, my relatives will be getting photographs of me sitting on Black Santa’s lap and nothing else from me. I can purchase more meaningful gifts by supporting small businesses like Amazon.com.

I will be extending this boycott to all malls. They’re simply too crowded during the holidays and mall managers seem content not to change that. I can barely stand to set foot in a mall at 10% capacity. Who can function in a crowded location with such an unclear flow of foot traffic. Wherever I stand, I’m in someone’s way it’s awful for my already low self-esteem. Call me a special snowflake but I will not be enjoying the artificial snowflakes at the Mall this year or any other.

Bless all of you who venture out to malls this holiday season, but I will be wrapped in a blanket on my sofa while the gift steadily trickle in, pre-wrapped, thanks to various internet vendors.

DISCLAIMER: I will void this boycott of Senator Al Franken is willing to meet me at the Mall of America so that we may shop together and become best pals.

Kevin Cole

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Frederick Man Unsatisfied with Christmas Gifts after Clearly Stating he Wanted Nothing

When local resident Brad Lipan leapt out of bed and bounded down the steps of his childhood home Christmas morning, he was ill prepared for the horrific site that awaited him.

“I was shocked,” said Brad, shivering under a mound of Santa Claus-print throw rugs. “I literally could not believe what was right in front of my eyes.”

Three weeks earlier, Brad’s parents – Tim and Jamie Lipan – had asked Brad what he wanted for Christmas.

“It’s tradition,” explained Jamie, tears streaking down her face. “We’ve always asked what Brad wanted for Christmas, regardless of whether or not he had been good that year.”

Brad had clearly stated that he didn’t want anything for Christmas this year, seeing as how he was already in possession of everything he could possibly need, and more.

“I already have too many video games to play, too many books to read, and I’m still catching up on all the television shows I’ve missed!” Brad shouted while his parents looked on from the other room. “It’s honestly overwhelming the amount of cool shit I have to decide between whenever I have some free time from the awesome job that I love.”

Brad had said something similar two years prior. But that Christmas, he had come downstairs to find…a brand new iPad Mini.

“I was astonished,” Brad said, with a whimsical look in his eye. “Here was a gift I never even knew existed, but it was something I desperately needed. They definitely hit a home-run in 2013.”

But 2015 turned out to be a different story.

“We should have gotten him nothing like he asked for, the ungrateful bastard!” Tim Lipan remarked solemnly. “We went out of our way to pick out the best Black Friday deals, getting up at 3am in the morning just to try and please him. We even asked his girlfriend of five years if he had mentioned anything, and what size clothes he wears, anything to try and get him that perfect Christmas gift, the one he would remember for the rest of his life. And yet we still fail as parents.”

Tina Younkins, Brad’s longtime girlfriend, had this to say in a private statement:

“Brad is just hard-headed, you know? He gets these ridiculous expectations in his mind, and no one else knows what he is thinking, so we can never please him. I told myself years ago to just take everything he says literally; when he said no gifts this year, he ended up with no gifts. You should have seen the way he held back the resentment in his eyes, but hey, that’s what he asked for.”

“It’s just…I’m not even a big STAR WARS fan!” Brad continued, without being asked. “Why would they get me this remote control BB-8 droid; what 35 year old man can really enjoy that? And what about these; socks? I mean, that’s a joke, right? I mean, yes, I needed new socks, but not for Christmas!”

Brad proceeded to whine hysterically into his new tailored suit (“How many occasions am I even going to need this??”), his parents looked on in silence.

“When I said I wanted nothing for Christmas, I meant it as ‘There’s nothing I can THINK OF, so, find something unique and awesome that I have never heard of, and buy that.’ What’s so hard about that?”

Tim and Jamie look forward to purchasing gifts for next year, but just hope that Apple has something big to be revealed, otherwise it might be “another year of depression for little Brad.”

T.M. Scholtes

Last Minute Gifts for Your Loved Ones

Here at The Annual we understand the struggle of gift shopping. It’s nearly Christmas eve and you just remembered that second cousin you never bought a gift for. To make matters worse, this is the one year they’re actually flying in from Minnesota in time for Christmas. Luckily, we have comprised the following list of last minute gift ideas for the cousin, great-grandma, or the racist uncle you might have forgotten.

That disappointing book you’ve had on your shelf for 2+ years.

While books can be a kind and thoughtful gift, they’re a lot less so when it’s less about which authors would pique your sister’s interests and more about the fact that you have to have something to hand her on Christmas Eve. Go ahead and grab that dust-coated, crease-ridden copy of Twilight and toss it in a bag! Lisa may not be much of an avid reader but who gives a shit! One down, five to go!

Rare dinosaur fossils

Okay, not a real dinosaur fossil. Look around your parents house or your grandpa’s toolshed, you’re bound to find a large rock. Take the rock and a good chisel (surely your relatives have a half-decent one somewhere) and carve a footprint onto the rock. Once you are satisfied with your homemade dinosaur print, google “Dinosaur Fossil Certificate of Authenticity” and print out the first image that shows up. Done and done.

That unwatched copy of
Rudolf The Rednosed Reindeer

This DVD sits on your shelf for 11 months out of the year and even when Christmas time rolls around, you only watch it on ABC family. There’s technically no reason for you to own the movie, so why not gift it? It’s a great way to say “I’m keenly aware of the holiday we are about to celebrate.”

A new pair of leggings

Well, not new-new. Okay, okay, they’re the ones you bought for $10 on Black Friday. But you only wore them once; they were a little tight in the thighs and while I respect your bold attempt to try something new, plum really isn’t your color. Instead of returning them (will Macy’s take these back if the the tags have been ripped off?), just gift them! Your sister can probably pull them off and if not, she can return them. I’m sure they’ll take them back without a problem or whatever!


Sunglasses seem like such a summer thing, but the sun still comes out in the winter. If it ain’t snowing you’re still getting blinded as sun sets during your mid-afternoon drive home from work. Could you be any more thoughtful?

A hamster

If you’re buying a gift now you probably don’t care too much for this person so let’s be upfront and say, you don’t need to purchase an actual hamster. Hamsters and mice are very similar and every pet store is bound to have a surplus of cheap mice listed as “feeder mice.” These mice are meant to be sold as snake food, but trust a former pet store employee, aside from the $3 price increase, there’s no difference between that and a pet mouse. Pick a nice fat feeder mouse and no one will doubt it’s a hamster.

Offer to pay for lunch

You’re only in town for a few days, people want to spend time with you but you’ve also got a group of high school pals to catch up with and Jessica is only available on Saturday. Pick a nice restaurant, a nice chain restaurant (most likely Olive Garden), and offer to take a select group of relatives with you. It’s pricier than most gifts but it’ll save the stress that compelled you to google “Last Minute Gifts” in the first place. You can even save a few bucks by filling up on breadsticks before it’s time to order.

A framed family photo

If you’re in a real pinch, pull up your Aunt’s facebook and find the most recent family photo shared on her page. Download that noise, make it black & white, download a 30-day free trial of Photoshop, add a nice brush filter to it and send that shit over to Walgreens. Make sure you get a glossy finish. Then head to Michaels for their perpetual 40% off picture frame sale for the ultimate Holiday Gift mic-drop.

A gift card

If books, pants, and pets are not at your immediate, last-minute disposal, then fret not. For god’s sakes, get them a gift card. Yeah, sure, it’s a cop-out. It’s cutting corners. But everybody likes things. And gift cards buy things!!!

Just remember the golden rule of gift-giving: The receiver is generally required to smile and act appreciative of your gift whether they sincerely liked it or not.

Kevin Cole & Christine McQuaid

The Tale of The Chrimbeebeast of Olde

A 13 Tweet story & lullaby

Oncet thar war ae Humble Beast, innocent of gnawledge of Chrizmby, Kris Kinglejaws & Krunk Claws and their waeys. De Beast snoozled in peace

From sweet embraze of warm winter sleepins de Beast falls into de cold clutches of consciousness by rudely awakens most rudely (sore rudely)

Und horrid patesmack whar delivered upon de Beast’s head by a grumple of grave countenance. Yuz, the terrible Kris Kringlejaws waked d Beast

“Awaken!”Screamt Kris Kringlejaws, walloping de Beast most fierce. “Ow!” Cried Beastie, “Why” “Crimbus is NIGH!”answered the jawsome Kris

“Observeth the Crimby with sanctimonious revere or suffer!” Screamt Kringlejaws, “Jeebzy Lurd died 4u!” “Observeth how?” whimpered de Beast

Kris: “Begin by spreading ❤ + ! throughout the land!” “Oh…that sounds nice,” Beastie mused. “Shuttup! I’m not finished yet!”snarled Kris

“I pile all Crimbyrelics on yr back! Tinsel, glitter, presents, figurines in all materials to remind others of our piety, ornaments, stuff-”

Kringlejaw loaded, strapped and be-burdened the one happae and gentle Beast with “trappings, bamboozlery, wishes, losses 40% off signs-”

Beloaded with bejingles the Beast roared through the snow/to bring Crimby Crimby wherever he go/at first it was fun/but it got ugly quick-!

whan they ran inter Krunk Kringle and hiz eejitfriend, Nick. They 2 leapt onto the burdend Beast’s back! “Yah!” dey Screamt. “Onwart! Attak!

Faster d Beast tore thru d townes! Leave he giftes and relicks but also panick! Krunk Klaus he threw Bottles! In thar wake they disaster’d!

Til exhaust they collapse, in froze glitterknell. Long do they sleep til they hear CrimbyBell! They rise w/the sound + charge on in Crimbiz!

The 3 goad d Beast with sharp jinglespurs! to Bringge us <3+!+fresh hell. Onwardx2! Into the night! Be not 2 afraide my childe, sleep tight.

Faithfully related by Damne Lydia Hadfield

Two Distinct Holidays: Celebrating Secular Xmas with Connor Ratliff

Connor Ratliff is a writer and improvisor in New York City. He is best known as a member of The Stepfathers, the warm-up comic for The Chris Gethard Show and the host of The George Lucas Talk Show. Ratliff’s holiday special (made with the help of Chris Gethard Show cohorts Keith Haskel and Rob Malone), The Spirit of Ratliff, goes online December 21. Ratliff is agnostic and perhaps the most passionate fan of Xmas I’ve ever met.

In your Tumblr post detailing the origins of the Spirit of Ratliff EP, you never spell out the word “Christmas.” When we transcribe this interview, should we do the same?

I think so. It’s funny, I was talking to someone last night and they were asking me about the whole special and the EP—I remember as a kid, people would say they didn’t like it when people spell “Christmas” with an X. I don’t know what the actual origin of it is, but I remember hearing so much the people didn’t like it because they felt it was X-ing out Christ, and they felt it was sacrilegious. That seems like a hostile act, whereas we were writing the songs I was making a point of what I celebrate being secular Xmas rather than the religious holiday. Even though they’re obviously connected, I do believe they are two distinct holidays that people celebrate.

It’s a visual shorthand, even though they’re pronounced the same way. I never say “Xmas” as a word. The X in Xmas is pronounced “Chris.”

The Spirit of Ratliff special is a spin-off of the Spirit of Gethard specials. In the past it has felt as though Chris [Gethard] was at the whim of whatever Keith Haskel and Rob Malone had planned, will this special have a similar feel or will it be entirely different?

I was making a joke that the first three Spirit of Gethard movies were like the first three movies in the Bourne Identity trilogy, and this one is like that fourth Bourne movie that Matt Damon wasn’t in and Jeremy Renner was. It’s of the world, but clearly not the same. Not a straight continuation.

Continue reading Two Distinct Holidays: Celebrating Secular Xmas with Connor Ratliff

Rockefeller Christmas Tree: “I’m Just a Humble Soldier Fighting in the War On Christmas”

At first when they were cutting me down I was really hurt. I had spent so many years in my family’s yard just minding my own business and occasionally offering shade that I felt betrayed. They’re cutting me down? Really? After all pine needles I’ve given them? But now I understand. I was always meant for something bigger, something greater, something holier. I was meant to be the largest, brightest and costliest soldier in the War on Christmas, the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree.

From the very first day they stood me up in the plaza, I just knew I was special. People stopped and stared as the lights slowly adorned my branches. Suddenly I had a purpose in this world, to remind people that Christmas is here to stay.

I am on the front lines, ready to drop this Swarovski crystal star on any unsuspecting ice skater that dares to utter the words “Happy Holidays.” Ready to break a bulb over anyone who dares walk past me saying, “Let’s go to Starbucks.” I’m just a humble soldier in the trenches of the war throwing shade at anyone who insists on writing X-mas. It’s CHRIST-mas you dumb tourist, keep Christ in it.

Who would have thunk that a little/big spruce like me would grow up to become a symbol of the season?  Did you know that once I die, I’m immediately given a hero’s welcome to Christmas tree heaven where it snows all the time and the trees get to take turns holding baby Jesus? ButI don’t need all of that, I’m just happy to be able to serve.

Fellow soldiers fighting the great fight in this decades long war on Christmas, bring me your nativity scenes, your Merry Christmas signs and your Christmas trees that you’re forced to call holiday trees and I will shine my lights on them so that they will know that they are not alone in this fight and that I, the greatest Christmas tree of them all, am the one true soldier to lead the masses through this ever under attack season of Christmas. Also, I’ll introduce them to Al Roker; he’s a really funny guy just like you see on TV!

I have vowed to stand guard here in this Plaza amongst the tourists and streets lined with bacteria not yet identified, until my last dying breath; which will be on January 6th 2016 when they take me down and give me the funeral of a true Christmas soldier, becoming a Habitat For Humanity home. 

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree