It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I really don’t like Christmas. Just to be clear, I have the utmost respect for the religious representation of the event. What annoys me though is the commercialism and hyper-happiness of the whole fiasco.
Every year, friends and co-workers try to bring me into the Christmas spirit with advent calendars, chocolates, decorations, etc. But for me, this time of year involves the same few traditions:
- Maintaining a steady level of intoxication until New Years
- Painting my nails black as a point that Halloween isn’t the only time black nail polish is “cool”
- Practicing my fake smile and phoney laugh
- Preparing my list of small talk conversation topics
If Christmas was just another day to eat, drink and be merry, then I’d be all for it. But the truth is: Christmas is a time to impress, show face, and pretend to be those picture-perfect stock photos you see in photo frames at the store. The pressure and fakeness that comes with Christmas is what irks me the most. Here’s why I hate Christmas:
The obligation of buying presents, so you don’t look like an ass when someone gives you one.
We’ve all experienced this. The estranged relative you only see at funerals, the third cousin twice removed whose name you can’t remember, or the random co-worker you barely talk to. When someone unexpectedly hands you a gift, you immediately feel like an ass for not having a gift ready for them.
The struggle of trying to find something someone won’t want to return or exchange.
To avoid forgetting someone next year, you decide to get a present for everyone you can think of. Now you’re faced with the challenge of finding something they don’t already have and would want or need. Suddenly, dealing with crazy mall crowds and angry shoppers has consumed your December evenings.
The awkwardness of receiving something you already have but have to pretend you wanted.
I witnessed this first-hand last year. A couple of young people bought and wrapped their mother a home accessory item they thought she would love… only to discover the exact item was in the upstairs bathroom. Surprise, surprise. She opened it, smiled and pretended it was the best gift ever. To watch this awkwardness unfold from across the room was utterly painful.
The disappointment when you explicitly agree “no gifts this year” only to receive an unexpected present… ergo looking like an ass.
I experienced this first-hand last year too. Agreeing to just celebrate over a nice meal and boycott the whole idea of gift exchange was golden. But discovering the other person abandoned the no gift pact was shitty. You can’t help but feel (and look) like a douche for not giving a gift to someone after they’ve handed you a gift.
But in a situation like that, what can you do? Agree “no gifts this year” but have a gift locked and loaded just in case? Is that really how Christmas should be celebrated?
I’m sure many people feel the same way I feel. In fact, I know for certain that there are people who are just as bah-hum-bug as me. However, they’re able to paint on a smile and go through the motions of Christmas. Somehow they’re able to infuse Christmas spirit into their hearts, whether genuine or superficial.
How do people who hate Christmas learn how to experience the Christmas high? (Serious question) What’s your secret?