Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cheer, Lack Thereof

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H. L. Mencken

If you're in a fantastic Christmas mood, don't read this post. It will only depress you. Also, it's just a big rant so I won't hold it against you if you don't read it.

I have very little Christmas spirit. I haven't for about 5 years.
I don't want to be one of those "Christmas is so commercial wah wah wah" people, but I sort of am. I'm not even one of the ones who say "Put the Christ back into Christmas!" No, I don't think that's the problem. Secular Christmas can mean something to those above the age of 9-10. It just doesn't. Not to me.
Christmas is either about presents, family, decorations, or (according to South Park) ham. 

I don't mind people wanting to give me stuff. I just hate when people feel obligated to give me stuff. So you're my relative. You barely see me. You don't know me. So don't bother.
Then there's the idea of the Christmas list. When you're writing to Santa, sure. But when your mom just says "email me your Christmas list," well, I'm getting what I want instead of random stuff I'll never use, but the magic and the fun is gone.
That's why my dad never asks for our lists. He figures he knows us well enough to buy stuff we'll like, and we'll still be surprised. That is what Christmas should be. Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones and then surprising them. That's why I'm most excited for whatever it is Emily ordered me from ThinkGeek. I know she'll have found something I love, and I know she's not buying it out of obligation, and I have no idea what it is. Hey, I found some Christmas joy there. SCORE ONE for Dad, and SCORE TWO for Emily.

Meet Obligation once more. There's a difference between getting together because it's Christmas and you have to, or because it's Christmas and you're normally too busy to see each other and wish you got together more often so christmas gives you motivation to make the time.
But is it Christmas, or the stuff surrounding it? Dad didn't want me to go up to NY with my cousins on Sunday because he wants us to spend time together as a family. That's nothing to do with the holiday-- it's just that we don't have school and he and Mom don't have work.
I'd love to spend some time with my friends--the family of my own choosing-- but where are most of them? Away, seeing relatives, or I don't bother to ask because the holidays are supposed to be with family and I don't want to tear them away from that because it would be...I don't know, rude or something.
SCORE THREE for this afternoon, SCORE FOUR for all of our neighbors coming to church when they usually don't to hear my sister sing, and lack of score for any hanging out I do with friends because it won't be because of Christmas--just the lack of school.

I hate Christmas cards. I hate them. I hate them. I hate them.
That being said, I know they mean a lot to some people, and when I receive them from those people, I feel no animosity. Also, I love the "Christmas letters" that update the recipients about the goings-on of the family and their kids. But the ones that just have a cute little saying or a Bible verse and a picture on them? They're pointless.
Lights on a tree and on the mantlepiece? All right. Candles in the windows? Gorgeous. Luminaries? Love them. But some people...go overboard. It's like when we see a car with a fish or cross sticker on the back and my dad yells "OH YEAH? WELL I AM WAY MORE CHRISTIAN THAN YOU!" which is funny because he's totally not. Those houses are practically shouting "We like Christmas more than you! Nah nah nah nah nah!" Whoville grosses me out. 
Also, I hate all of the modern Christmas music they play on the radio. Partially because of the style, and partially because it's on the radio. Let's have some CDs playing, please. 
(Speaking of Christmas music, this is a Christmas song that I love)
SCORE FIVE for my neighbors and my ex-neighbors, who have candles in their windows. SCORE SIX for my dad's cousin, who sent us a Christmas letter.


Basically, what I want is for us to observe Christmas traditions not because that's just what you do, but because it means something to us
I am about to write a Christmas letter on behalf of my family, because my mom didn't see the point.
And I'm sorry that I haven't made all of you anything for whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year except for a pessimistic rant. Some present that is.
I said most of this to my dad earlier, and he said, "Well, if Christmas isn't doing it for you, we could do some pagan rituals."
So we talked about pagan solstice rituals for awhile.

My total score of Christmas cheer was a 6. Not the greatest, but higher than 0, which is where I was at when I started this post.

Enjoy yourselves, and make this holiday worthwhile for you.


  1. Ahh, thank you, voice of reason. Whenever I tell anyone this, I get one big yell of "SCROOGE" thrown in my face...Its nice to see somebody who agrees a bit.
    I think there are some good things about Christmas though, but they should be like that the entire year long. People tend to be nicer, more generous, and donate more to charity around Christmas because its "Christmas spirit." Around Christmas I get all happy when people do nice things, but come around about feb 1st everyone is self absorbed again...*sigh*

  2. It's all in how you view it. If you view it as people feeling obligated then yeah you'll get kind of uncheery, but if you view it as people wanting to make you happy then you will be cheery.

    If you view decorations as people shouting "I like Christmas more than you" then yes you will begin to resent those people. However if you view it as people trying to share their joy with the world then you will(hopefully) not resent them.

    I don't want to lecture you or get all self righteous(because when have I ever done that?{Sarcasm}) but if one looks at things optimistically(the majority of people are nice people who want others to be happy) then one will(hopefully) begin to share in the christmas spirit.

    With all do respect(and I do respect you, a lot) to Not Very Charming I think that saying that people get all self absorbed again in February is kind of Cynical and judgmental.

    Christmastime, in my humble opinion, is a time to sit back and try to see the best in everyone. Also you get cool presents.

    Again, I don't want to get up on a soapbox(again, when have I ever done that?{Sarcasm}) but let's all just try and enjoy the season and be happy and have good cheer and be Scrooge at the end of the Christmas Carol.

  3. I think you both have your points, and I am very well aware that I was indeed being unfair in the post.
    I just wanted to vent.
    And I am feeling more Christmasy now, actually.
    I guess I go through phases of overwhelming optimism and then biting cynicism.
    End-of-book Scrooge sounds like a fantastic thing to shoot for.
    And Hannah, I definitely agree that we should all try to be Christmas-y in the off season as well.
    According to my friend who is a Jehovah's Witness, that's one of the reasons they aren't supposed to celebrate stuff.

  4. I think this post is very good. I concur 100% with it and quite honestly, it doesn't seem like a debbie downer to me. Perhaps you feel it is based on your mood while writing it.


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