Some people make a list of holiday season peeves

By Chris Roberts

Globe Staff Writer

The halls are decked with boughs of holly.

The radio stations are playing 24-hour Christmas tunes.

The malls are packed with Christmas shoppers.

The snow is blanketing the area with a white Christmas.

The spirit of Christmas is alive ...

Bah! Humbug!

Though the cheerful spirit of Christmas is one that encompasses most of the area, there are those who are tired of the endless Christmas songs and the tacky tinsel and the packed parking lots.

Eric Cotton, a student at Messenger College in Joplin, said it's the music of the season that really drives him nuts, especially when it's played before Thanksgiving. He said there are only so many times one can hear "White Christmas" without wanting to grab the stereo and pound it into the ground.

"Christmas music before Thanksgiving is just wrong," Cotton said. "They should be playing Thanksgiving music. By the time it gets to be Christmas, you're so tired of Christmas music that you don't even want to turn the radio on."

Jeff Daugherty, who works at Sam Goody in the Northpark Mall and has to listen to music every day, said he particularly dislikes the days when his store plays Christmas music because it just gets to be too much. He said he sympathizes with those people who have the "cheesy, elevator Christmas music" playing through the office during work days.

He also said shopping during the holidays, though fun, is almost more of a headache than a cheerful outing.

"I hate trying to find a parking spot," Daugherty said. "When you come to the mall, first you have to look for five minutes, and then when you find one someone else cruises in at the last second and takes it. That totally takes away the Christmas spirit and you totally want to go bah-humbug on them."

Even getting to the stores around the holidays can be a chore. Gene Boone, a Carthage resident, said he cringes every time he has to drive over to Joplin to shop because he knows that the streets are going to be packed with "idiot drivers."

"They're everywhere," Boone said. "I'm not one of them, though. I promise."

Scott Zuidema, who lives in Tulsa, Okla., but drives to Joplin five days a week for work during the holiday season, said travel is one of the biggest pet-peeves of the season. He said he knows some people have nagging family members and might find that a headache in itself, but even those who enjoy spending time with their family, like himself, might not enjoy the long drive between states.

"Traveling 14 hours in the snow and ice is not fun," Zuidema said. "Especially when you've got a busy schedule and extra work."

His friend, James Wilkes, also from Tulsa, said it's not the travel that bothers him so much as it is the strange foods associated with the holidays. He said he particularly enjoys the Christmas feast, but just can't understand how anyone can drink eggnog.

"That's my biggest Christmas pet-peeve," Wilkes said. "I can't stand eggnog. It's gross. I don't see how people can drink it."

Joplin resident Ashley Ramsey said there is one thing her family does every year around the holidays that "drives me crazy."

"My birthday is five days before Christmas and I always only get one present," Ramsey said. "That's the only thing that drives me crazy about Christmas."

Most of the Scrooges in the area were, like Ramsey, only reticent about certain aspects of the holiday season. Their frustrations with shopping, driving, intolerable music and the quirks of their respective families all disappear when sitting around the Christmas tree to enjoy the holiday together. As Daugherty put it, "Christmas makes all the bad stuff worth it."

"I might get mad at an old lady that cuts in front of me or somebody being stupid in the mall, but you can't let that make you a grump," Daugherty said. "It's Christmas. You're supposed to be happy around Christmas."

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