I hate Christmas. Longtime readers will know this about me because I won’t shut up about it. To be fair, I hate all holidays, but it’s Christmas that really rubs me the wrong way. I wrote an editorial in my high school paper about the crass commercialism of Christmas, and that was thirty years ago. My feelings for Christmas have only grown in disgust since then. Many moons ago, I started posting yearly about the one Christmas song I like (‘O Holy Night’), including several versions of the song. I also posted about depression as many people get depressed at this time of year, whether it’s because of Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) or dysfunctional family issues coming to a head or whatnot. I know there are other people who feel the same way I do, but we’re drowned out by all the aggressively good cheer. And Christmas commercials. Oh, lord, the Christmas commercials. I saw my first one this year a few days after Halloween, and I’ve been grumpy ever since. The first Christmas commercial denotes my season of personal hell in which I grit my teeth and bah humbug my way through the month.
Speaking of Christmas commercials, that Kay is a ho, ain’t she? Every kiss begins with Kay my ass. I love how Christmas commercials have become a way to guilt your love ones into buying you expensive presents to show you they love you. And by love, I mean I want to burn it in a fire.
Burn it ALL in a fire, Angela!
I know that’s the point of commercials is to sell you shit, and while I hate them, I don’t fault them for doing their job. What I find disgusting about Christmas commercials, however, is the message that if you don’t buy your loved one a diamond necklace or a car for Christmas, you don’t love them enough. I remember one car Christmas commercial (don’t remember which car, but probably Lexus or some snooty shit like that) in which someone has received a brand new car! That person is so happy, until they see their neighbor driving THEIR new car, which is more obviously expensive, and therefore better. The original person’s face falls, and the message is clear–their spouse didn’t love them enough to buy a Lexus (or whatever) EVEN THOUGH THEIR SPOUSE GAVE THEM A NEW CAR!
Side note: Christians who bitch about people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ amuse the fuck out of me, especially when it’s salespeople. They’re upset that there’s no CHRIST in their Christmas shopping–which is a totally secular activity. Jesus threw the moneylenders out of the temple, remember? But, no. It ruins some Christian’s day by being forced to hear ‘Happy Holidays’ as he purchases Legos for his children on Christmas.
I’m at Bitch Eating Crackers (BEC) stage with Christmas by now. Just the mention of it sets my teeth on edge. The day after Thanksgiving, about half my block put up their Christmas lights as if they were just counting down the minutes until they could do so. I actually like Christmas lights in and of themselves, but I don’t like what they represent. I also hate that a local radio station plays nothing but Christmas songs for the whole month of December. They started early this year–they actually started before Thanksgiving. I think I could tolerate Christmas if it was contained to the two weeks before it, but like elections, it drags on way too fucking long.
This is me at the thought of Christmas:
I used to be more vocal about it, like this:
But, as with many things in my life, I’ve mellowed out about it somewhat. Oh, I still hate it, but I keep it mostly to myself. I don’t feel the need to tell people how much I hate it, but i’m not going to pretend I love it, either. I’ve mellowed out about other holidays, but I still hate this one.
What I hate most about it is how over the top other people get about it. I can understand embracing goodwill and cheer and whatnot (and the food. Oh, lordy, the food), but Christmas itself seems weird to me. Why focus on one day to spread around cheer and presents? Why not do it throughout the years? I get that as an adult, giving yourself permission to act so exuberantly for a day feels good. And, again, if it was just one day, I’d be mostly fine with it. Rather, I would grit my teeth and bear it. But the fact that it has spread out so far makes it wearying to someone who’s not inclined to put on a happy face.
I also don’t like the chastising I see from Christmas lovers around this time of year on social media. “Why don’t you just shut up and let me enjoy Christmas?” “Omigod! You Grinches are such downers!” Look. I don’t go to the TLs or the feeds of people who love Christmas and shit all over it. I was raised better than that. But on my own wall and TL? Hell, yeah, I’m going to bitch about it. It’s my fucking house, and i can do whatever the fuck I want! If you don’t like it, you can hide my feed, mute my TL, or unfriend/unfollow/block me. Just as you have the right to bling out your FB wall and Twitter TL with everything Christmas if you so choose, I have the right to bitch about how crass and commercialized Christmas is, and how much I hate it.
Too many people think they have the right not to see what they don’t want in social media, and it’s simply not true. There are things I’d rather not see, such as dead animals, but the way to deal with that is to block people who keep doing it, not to angrily demand that they post only what I want to see. It’s the same with people who go off on Twitter, and then get mad when people argue with them. It’s not your journal; you posted it in a public place. I can understand the argument that there is still an etiquette as to when you talk to someone online, but it’s much murkier than conversation in real life. If I overhear people talking in real life, say, on the street, I’m not going to interject myself into their conversation. If I’m following someone on Twitter, however, and they’re talking with someone else, I could theoretically jump in. I usually don’t, but that’s just my personal horror of being a nuisance.
Another thing is, it’s hard being the minority opinion for several reasons. The most obvious is that as you’re in the minority, you can get shouted down easily. If out of a hundred people, ninety-five are enthusiastically pro-Christmas and only five hate it, it’s easy to act as if the five don’t exist. It’s isolating to feel out of step with everyone else, especially when it’s relentless good cheer being shoved down your throat. I’m not a positive person at any time of the year, and being surrounded by it only makes me more cantankerous. Being told to zip it only increases my surliness and alienation.
Look, I know it’s not the most important problem in the world, obviously. I can say that this year because I’m in a better place in general, but I’ve struggled with real depression around Christmas in the past. When my family dysfunctions were at the worst, Christmas only highlighted said dysfunctions in stark relief. Intellectually, I knew that other people had family problems, too, but it seemed like everyone was holly-jolly at Christmas–except me.
I can say I’m already starting to feel grumpy and depressed about Christmas, and we still have a month to go. I’m trying to keep my yap shut, but it’s getting harder the closer we get. If I were to be honest, I don’t give a fuck about cheer and goodwill towards my fellow (wo)man. I don’t like forced happiness, and that’s what I feel Christmas is all about. I don’t like being made to give gifts because then they’re not gifts. I don’t like being made to feel guilty if I don’t want to drink eggnog and kiss under the mistletoe. Basically, it’s another form of ‘be nice’, which I have a real problem with.
I’m trying to let it go, but I don’t think I should have to pretend to like Christmas when I don’t. Again, I’m not going to shit on other people’s parades, but I’m not going to drive the float, either. If it were up to me, I would just pretend it didn’t exist–which is what I did with Thanksgiving. I was actually surprised when Thanksgiving came around because I wasn’t expecting it. It was fairly early this year, but the fact that I didn’t realize it was happening is a huge deal. Normally, I would have dread it for weeks, not because I do anything for it, but because of all the expectations. This year, it came and went with little fanfare, and I’m hoping I can reach that point with Christmas sometime soon. Neutral is good in this context. Cue up ‘O Holy Night’ by Jennifer Hudson, one of my favorite versions.