Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m not a holiday person. At all. For many years, I had a revulsion to most of them for good and not-so-good reasons. Christmas: way too commercialized, long-drawn, and exclusive (in the true sense of the word, not meaning swank or posh). V-Day: made-up holiday making men feel pressured to buy expensive shit for their girlfriends (very heteronormative), make grand gestures, and it’s a recipe for disappointment. Independence Day: it wasn’t.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. A funny thing happened this year, though. I ended up not caring about Christmas in the best way possible. I don’t watch TV, and I have ad-blocker online, so I didn’t have to see the excruciatingly terrible commercials associated with Christmas, which really helped. Yes, it was irritating to hear the music on the radio or in stores, but that was really time-limited, which helped. So, here we are the day before Christmas (Christmas by the time this gets posted), and I don’t even know how I got here. I am surprised at how quickly this year went, but that’s a different post.
I tweeted and posted on my FB wall about how strange it was to go from hating Christmas to not caring about it (in a positive way). I think it’s taiji, but I’m going to attribute most positive changes in my life to taiji. Anyway. Here are my two favorite Christmas songs. First, Vienna Teng singing The Atheist Christmas Carol.
I hate Christmas, and I have since I was a kid. I found out there was no Santa Claus when I was seven or eight. I got up early Christmas morning to check the stockings, and there was nothing in them. I went to tell my mom, and she told me to go back to bed for an hour or so. I did, then went back to check, and, lo, and behold! There was stuff in my stocking. I put two and two together and came up with four, but I didn’t tell my mom because who doesn’t like presents? That’s not the reason I don’t like Christmas, however. It’s because of all the crass commercialism that surrounds it, covered in the veneer of gooey emotions. I even wrote an editorial about it when I was in junior high school, bemoaning how capitalism had corrupted Christmas. That was over thirty years ago, and it’s only gotten worse since.
Why am I writing about it now, well before Halloween if I hate it so much? Aren’t I just contributing to the problems? No, I’m not. I’m reacting to the fact that I saw two Christmas commercials today during the Vikings game. One was Star Wars-themed and for Duracell batteries, and I can’t tell you what the other one was for because I started freaking out when I saw it. It’s not even fucking Halloween yet, and they’re showing this shit? I have begrudgingly accepted that Christmas lasts all through November and December, but I will not brook it creeping into October as well. I don’t care for holidays in general, but Halloween is the one I like the most. The costumes, the candy, the pagan basis, the turn-off-the-lights-and-pretend-not-to-be-home, it’s great. It deserves its own month as a welcome to autumn, which is my second favorite season. Winter is my first, and I don’t like that it’s overtaken by Christmas.
Here’s the thing. I don’t hate Christmas for itself. I’m not a Christian, but I don’t mind if Christians want to celebrate the birth of Jesus, even if it’s at the wrong time and is grafted over pagan rituals. It’s no skin off my nose. As for the gather with the family and eat a ton of turkey/ham until you pass out tradition, to each his own, I guess. Although, I will say that the theme of forced family togetherness is annoying and potentially alienating for some people. I wrote a post a while back about what to do if you’re not feeling merry around Christmas, and I got a lot of heartfelt responses in the comment section, on Twitter, on Facebook. It’s hard to watch all the cheer and everyone getting hyped for Christmas if you’re not feeling it for one reason or another. Maybe you just lost a loved one or went through a messy divorce. Perhaps you’re estranged from your family and haven’t talked to them in years. Maybe your children don’t answer your calls, and you’re wondering what’s going on. Or you’ve been diagnosed with an incurable disease. There are plenty of reasons you may not be feeling jolly for the holidays and hearing that you should be 24/7 is a guaranteed way to make your mood even sourer. I can attest to that. The more I see people being all holly and jolly for the holidays, the more bitter I become. Grinch gets a bad name, but I can feel his pain. All he wants is to be left alone to live his life in Grinchly peace, but the annoying Whoville pipsqueak can’t shut her damn trap for a hot second.