Oh boy, Christmas is back. At our house, it was back within an hour of the end of Thanksgiving dinner. This seemed like overkill to me; I mean, is Thanksgiving really that unimportant to us? I’m pretty sure that at some point in the distant future, the holiday will be abolished so that the Christmas season can be longer.
I seem to be the lone member among my immediate circle of friends who hates Christmas. Which, surprise surprise, makes Christmas even worse for me.
You don’t like Christmas? What is WRONG with you? Don’t you like fun? Don’t you like the presents? You never complained when you were a kid! You’re just a Scrooge.
Every year I get something along those lines from family and friends, and now I would like to justify the reasons I don’t like Christmas (SIDE NOTE: do you realize when you call someone a Scrooge, you’re also implying that they don’t care about the poor, think child labor is a good thing, and that they are destined for hell? Yeah, Scrooge actually had other character flaws besides hating Christmas. Go figure).
1. The Hype: What I fail to understand sometimes is why people seem to love Christmas so much. If I were to say I hated Easter (the colors make me want to throw up too), Valentine’s Day (S.A.D. Par-TAY!), or the Fourth of July (How can we celebrate freedom when OBAMA IS TAKIN AWAY MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE!?), people can sympathize with me. Christmas though…if you don’t like Christmas, it’s like you just told someone that their child is a lizard-faced harpy who is going to grow up to be the Antichrist.
So what makes Christmas soooo different from other holidays? The hype. At this point, Christmas has been hyped up to be not just about Jesus Christ, Santa, or even family: it attempts to capture a mood, a feeling, a different time, a kind of unattainable perfection, an impossible dream. I guess people want to believe that there is still some sort of magic in the world, and that only at Christmas can miracles happen. Christmas is not just mere nostalgia: it has actually elevated a certain set of ideals.
The thing is though, it’s not magical. Christmas often leaves me feeling incredibly sad and lonely. I see the ideals that are put forth by Christmas (peace on Earth, good will to men, true love, a belief in the magical, etc.) and then I look at the world, THE REAL world, and nothing has changed. It seems like this…lie that people trick themselves into believing every year. Millions of people actually tell their kids a lie about a fat guy who leaves presents because they want it to be real and it is not. Christmas is just a holiday with a good marketing team and a cherished history. I don’t think I am soulless for seeing the gap between the ideals and the reality .
2. The History
Something else that comes to mind every Christmas for me is the idea that I just might be a heretic. I mean, Christmas is a Christian holiday, so isn’t it sacrilegious for me NOT to like it? I don’t think so.
I will admit, I do enjoy going to Church during Christmastime. The story of the birth of Christ is one of the all time greats, but I enjoy it even more when the sermons focus on Christ’s return, which we Christians believe will ultimately bring about eternal joy and peace- values that Christmas espouses.
The only problem with this is that Christ was not born at Christmas: he was probably born in the spring or the summer. The whole reason we have Christmas in December revolves around the idea of Christianizing the pagan winter festivals. So, does that make Christmas Christian? It seems like the holiday was invented as a compromise instead of actually celebrating the birth of Christ.
But nobody told me this. FOR YEARS. For me, finding out that Christmas is not Jesus’ birthday and actually doesn’t have Christian roots in the first place was more devastating than finding out Santa wasn’t real. Why don’t we ever learn THIS history in Sunday school?
Yeah, it’s clichéd at this point: Charlie Brown told us about how depressing the commercialization of Christmas was almost 50 years ago (yes, you are really that old. Bask in the glory of your wisdom). It still remains true though. Black Friday sales just keep getting earlier and earlier, and Christmas remains a powerful economic force, especially in this time of recession.
But how many Christmas gifts will it take until you are satisfied? When will all the want fill that void inside you? I can’t remember my Christmas presents from two years ago, can you?
There are times I wonder if Christmas would be as well-loved as it is without the idea of presents. The naive idealism of the holiday seems to suggest that this would be the case, but still…I think if we got presents on Groundhog Day, it would be a lot more popular. Some people say Christmas is a great holiday because it encourages giving, even connecting the idea of overconsumerism to Christ’s gift of himself for the salvation of humanity. The other side of the coin though is that with the art of giving comes the art of receiving, and with it a sense of entitlement.
I’m not saying we should boycott the idea; I’m just saying maybe we should reflect on it more and consider scaling it down.
And there you have it: why I don’t like Christmas. Simply put, I feel like a phony, heretical, greedy child every year. Nothing big or anything. Please tell me there are others like me who prefer their holidays quiet, simple, and not quite as grand and over the top.