Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Santa Claus is coming to town

November 23, 2012

So it begins; the steady, unrelenting march to Christmas. I am probably not the first person to admit this to you, but I’m not ready. I’m not ready at all. I probably won’t be ready on Christmas Eve.

I do have a few annual Christmas traditions since I moved back to the ’Burgh. I love to go downtown on Light Up Night. It’s a great time.

It was a crisp, cold evening, but I endured. Last year, a group of friends gathered, and we wandered around the winter wonderland that is PPG and the Point. For some reason, the group dwindled this year. I got only one other friend to attend.

As my friend Ryan and I wandered around looking at various decorations, in the back of my head I kept hearing a voice saying, “You’re not ready for this.”

I’m surprised I didn’t hyperventilate every time I saw a Christmas tree or heard carolers.

Yes, it was crowded. Uber-crowded. I kept thinking to myself, “I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like cold weather. I don’t even like Christmas that much.”

It’s like fifth in my list of holidays. I know. I’m weird. I like Halloween, Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day more. Most of the holidays I like involve people wearing as little clothing as possible. If you go as a lifeguard or Olympic swimmer for Halloween, you can wear the same outfit to all of my other favorite holidays. I love the sun, and I’m not a big fan of winter. I’ve lived in California, Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong.

It seems like people spend a lot of time PREPARING for Christmas, and, at best, it lasts a day. Because Halloween fell on a Wednesday, I was able to stretch it out this year. I went to parties the weekend before and after Oct. 31. Christmas will come and go quickly.

I enjoyed seeing the various Santa Claus figures from around the world. One of them is an African woman with a basket on her head. She was cool. One Santa sort of looked like Mr. McFeely from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He had on glasses and a white moustache, no beard. Another one looked like an aging superhero.

I really like looking at all the gingerbread houses. PPG’s Wintergarden has a ton of them. I also enjoyed seeing a Santa and Mrs. Claus roller-skating around the festivities.

At Light Up Night, there was a spectacular fireworks display. They were over the top this year. I was enthralled. It was one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen, even better than the Fourth of July, my second favorite holiday (see above). Pittsburgh always does fireworks right.

You know, after seeing that fireworks display, I realized that there’s no place I’d rather be than back here in Pittsburgh for the holidays. I’ll try not to complain about the cold. I hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving. See you back here next week.



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