Thursday, November 27, 2008
"It Ought to Be a Law to Start Christmas Before December"
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I am very much a traditionalist--I like my holidays to have the same foods and rituals as they always have, with no interlopers, no drastic alterations. But recently I've wondered why the meanings surrounding these holidays have increasingly meant little to me.
I cannot remember the last time I had real holiday spirit. I try to get into it every year, and occasionally there's a glimpse, but I feel it's been sucked out of me just by the relentless commercialism. Like Easter in March, I find Christmas before December--even early December--distasteful. It's just too soon. Christmas becomes all about presents--what do you want? What does everyone else what? When will you have time to get it? Is it too much? Ahh! Enough with the hassle! Rarely does anything seem worth it; even with the best of intentions it's just another check on a list. I tend to think of the best gifts in March for people who have birthdays in October, and of course I have no clue by the time December rolls around. I should just get gifts whenever I think of them.
Presents, like many of the things surrounding Christmas, have become oppressive. The saccharine, omnipresent music that only passes muster because of the season, the constant wonderings of what to buy, what to wear, what to give obscure nearly any meaning attached to what makes the holidays special and just makes it a month to get through.
Dragging out Christmas only intensifies the antipathy. Instead of eager anticipation, the days become merely rote, banal—plain ol’ January, February or March, another dark winter day with tacky decorations and music. Thanksgiving is a holiday that gets bypassed between Halloween and Thanksgiving, lumped in as another food-heavy day that dieters should be careful of. The decorations are warmer, the break a respite. Christmas is all-empowering, suffocation.
I hate being asked what I want for Christmas. I hate not being surprised, and going, “Yep, that’s exactly what I said,” because I rarely truly, truly want something, and even then it’s usually not material goods. I want people, as silly and unrealistic as it sounds, to just know that I like something and get it for me, because they know I’d never buy it for myself. I want Christmas to feel special again, to make it really exciting and worth looking forward to, instead of just another chore.