Hi, blog. Long time, no see.
With those pleasantries out of the way…
I’m sitting here at 2 a.m. on xmas eve morning, hoping, but not really expecting, that this will be the last time I participate in this crazy holiday. Yeah, I’m one of those people. People who don’t like xmas.
Let’s acknowledge the obvious right away: I call it “xmas” and not “Christmas” for a reason. I’m pretty much an atheist. I say “pretty much” because I believe it’s just as foolhardy for people to prance around claiming they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no god as it is for people to stand on soapboxes on streetcorners screaming about how god hates us all and we’d better repent. So… yeah. I do consider myself agnostic for the simple reason that the existence of god can be neither proven nor disproven, but let’s face it… I’m, like, 98% atheist. Maybe even higher than that. So, with that being said, why the fuck am I celebrating this very christian holiday?
Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s pretty much secular at this point. A little aside here: I find it extremely bizarre how people will go on and an on about how horrible Valentine’s Day is and how it’s this corporate “holiday” designed to sell crap and how we shouldn’t have to have a special day set aside where we are reminded to tell people that we love them, and yet I’ve never heard one person make the same case about xmas. Like somehow because xmas has this tenuous religious link, people are somehow okay with how superficial and commercialized the whole affair is. Is that not odd?? But I digress… Yes, xmas has its roots in paganism, and yes, plenty of nonbelievers do observe the holiday… but xmas is still undeniably and inextricably linked to christianity, and it always will be. If I was jewish or muslim, I wouldn’t be celebrating xmas, so as more-or-less-an-atheist, how does it make any sense for me to be observing the day?
Ohh, but xmas is a time that you can make your own, right? You personalize it. Family traditions and what not. Yeah, regarding that… a whole bunch of my traditions changed when I started dating my now-husband. A bunch of his, too. Suddenly, we had to incorporate 2 family xmasses into 1 day, and some things had to give. Even given the fact that we both cut a lot of traditional stuff out of our xmas celebrations, I still feel like there’s too much going on for one 48 hour period. This year, today, I work until 5, at which point I will come home, eat, pack an overnighter, and settle in for an hour-long car ride to a city I’m not overly fond of to sleep in a bed that’s not mine so I can wake up altogether too early considering the fact that I also work at 8:30 to 5 on boxing day, so I can eat food that I don’t like and sit around for two hours while we all ooh and aah over the stuff we all got that we easily could have bought for ourselves weeks ago. Then I get to hop back in the car for another hour-long car ride back to my family’s place where, once again, we will sit around and pretend to care about what everybody else received in their stocking. Oh, and at some point, we need to drive around and look at lights. What an insane thing to do! On what other day would you be like, “hey, you know what I really feel like doing today? Driving around and looking at lights”. And somehow on xmas eve, it’s like the most important thing to do ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem spending time with family, and it’s not like driving for an hour is the end of the world. I know that. What I’m saying is, if we must observe this holiday to which I feel no emotional connection whatsoever, does it have to be done by waking up at sunrise so we can all participate in a giant consumerist orgy? Why can’t we wake up at a reasonable hour and go feed chickadees in the woods? Why can’t we pool the money that we would have spent on each other and donate it to charity instead? Or, if there must be presents under the tree, why can’t we, again, pool the funds and everybody gets one really nice thing that they genuinely want and would love to have but wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford for themselves? I’m a little tired of carting home piles of stuff every December 25th. This year, when people asked me for a list, I felt like I was grasping for items to ask for just so they’d have something to give me. Isn’t that a little bit ridiculous? I’m a grown woman, I don’t want for very much. Most of the things I do want, I can simply buy for myself, and the things I can’t buy for myself, I would never have the audacity to ask for in the first place. Presents are Santa’s business, and Santa is for kids.
So what about the warm fuzzy vibe of the feeling, what about that, huh?
You obviously don’t work at the mall.
I haven’t felt a whole lot of warmth and good cheer this holiday season. Xmas always has a way of bringing out the crazies, but usually there’s at least a handful of nice people to offset the presence of Satan’s spawn in my store. This year, I’ve had exactly one particularly kind customer. One. And by “particularly kind”, I mean that we laughed and smiled at each other while I helped him pick out gift items, and as I wrapped his gifts for him, he left a positive comment about me to the management. These are the kinds of simple, normal behaviours that I engage in practically every bloody time I go shopping — I am nice to the people who are serving me, and if they are particularly helpful, I leave them positive feedback. These are not extra-special-ultra-festive-it’s-xmas-let’s-spread-good-cheer kind of mannerisms; this ought to be simple, everyday type stuff. And yet the one person who treats me with the same kindness that I try to extend to other people is the single customer who shines above all others this time of year? That’s fucked up! It’s not like xmas is a surprise. If it stresses you out, start early. Shop online. Don’t participate.
I mean, I guess that’s the thing that I finally clued into this year: none of this is mandatory. When I was younger, like in my late teens, I used to try to persuade my mother that we ought to just skip xmas. Yes, I’ve pretty much always been this grinchy. I guess as I got older, I just stopped seeing a point. Funny though, my family never went for it. But now, it’s 10 years later, and I don’t live at home anymore, and I can make these decisions for myself, finally, and I’m really starting to think that I just want out. Next year, I don’t want to go through another solid month of stress, worrying about what to buy people and how I’m possibly going to pay for it all, fretting about where I’m possibly going to find the time to go shopping, of all things. I want this to be the last time that I ever have to involve myself in this. I have exactly 1 year to convince my husband that celebrating xmas is, for our little twosome, completely hypocritical, self-indulgent, and kind of stupid. For us. I’m not saying the rest of the world should stop celebrating if that’s what they want to do… I’m just saying, I don’t want to do this anymore. That’s all.
(Oh, and one last thing: While it’s true that good xmas music does exist… 99% of people aren’t taking the time to find it, and no mall manager or shop owner has apparently ever heard it. If I hear Feliz Navidad or that damn hippopotamus song [WHICH WASN'T PERFORMED BY SHIRLEY TEMPLE. IT JUST WASN'T] one more time… I don’t even know what.)