04 December 2011

The Holidays

Tonight as I sat down to Google how long is pumpkin pie safe to eat? ... it occurred to me that I don't hate the holidays. I know that's an uncool opinion, but it's true nonetheless.

You're not going to catch me caroling, or anywhere near a mall - I still hate fun, okay? But I do like christmas lights, pie, the company holiday party after-party, and buying gifts. Last year the gang at work got farting pens, not sure if I can top that one this year...
Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
I can't bring myself to buy a real tree (then there will be fewer to hug), but every year I enjoy deploying the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree at work. Also, Little Red Car gets a little snowman dangling from the rear view and of course Christmas lights. Ain't that so cute you could puke? Well that's how I roll.*

* After pulling back half the dashboard to fix my cigarette lighter plug only to find out it was a bad fuse.

There's a lot to hate about the holidays, no doubt. I wonder though - how much misery do people bring upon themselves? Do ya have to go to the mall and deal with mobs of people? Hell, no. I've done 90% of my holiday shopping online for the last several years.

I do find it a little upseting that Christmas creeps in sooner each year - encroaching on Thanksgiving during the 90's and these days it's creeping in on Halloween. You know what though? Someone is buying that shit or the stores wouldn't put it out for sale earlier and earlier. You don't see bikinis for sale in November.*

* exception for places that have swimsuit weather year-round.

People also hate Christmas because it's totally commercialized, okay sure. But buying into it is a choice. The talking heads tell us what the hot gifts are for the 2011 holiday season, but does anyone remember the 2010 list? People get over it, and usually the best gifts are the ones you didn't know you needed.

When I was a kid all I wanted for like three years was a She-Ra Crystal Castle. One year I got a bike instead. I was perturbed because it was a typical grey rainy Christmas in the Northwest and I didn't get to enjoy said bike for several weeks. The Crystal Castle I could have played with immediately. But the point is, in the end I loved that bike in the end, even though it wasn't the hottest gift.

I've also loved a lot of gifts that didn't cost anything at all. Mix CDs, a really nice note, all of these things cost next-to-nothing and mean a lot. In fact, I'd rather have a personal or funny card than another bath set with a pink shower puff and bath salts that I'm never going to use. I know, I know, it's the thought that counts, but when I get a bath set I know that thought was "I know nothing about you, but I felt obligated to buy you something."

So... I'm writing this post now because I don't want to get started on my Christmas cards. Every year I curse myself from ten years ago. If I never started sending them out I wouldn't have to worry about it now. Damn you Me from the past!!!

Here's the thing though. I complain about the obligation of sending out Christmas Cards but ultimately I am the enforcer. Deep down I must actually like doing it. In fact, the more I think about it, the whole Christmas card deal is kind of narcissistic. I spend hours scouring the internet for a card that borders on offensive and send it out with an illegible greeting for recipients to decipher.

The only inescapable misery of the holidays I can think of is having to spend time with family. But I actually like my family, so I really value the holidays because it gives me a chance to spend time with them.

Imagine if we didn't have the holidays...

I guess there would be a few more evergreen trees around and we'd all have another $200 - $500 in our pockets, but think of what would be lost. Without Christmas there'd be no leftover dessert in the fridge, no War Is Over, no SantaCon.

Also, I think we need a reason to show our appreciation to the ones who matter most in our lives. If we didn't have this preset time of year to give gifts and take some extra time off, when would people get around to it?

Okay Holiday Haters, go ahead. Hit me up with all the wretched things I missed about why the holidays are the worst time of year. But before you do, don't forget, the person who writes this missive was born on Christmas - it is my birthright to hate Christmas.


Nick said...

The things I've disliked about "The Holidays" for several years are the feeling of obligation and the argument for/against it each year. I got over the obligation part because I realized it was MY feeling and what I really wanted was just to be around family without the gift giving/receiving. Once I got over my own issue there and explained it to family, that part has been much better. As for the whole "happy holidays"/"merry christmas"/whatever debate, I happily accept whatever belief structure people have (and associated greeting) since I realize most don't even really know the origin of their chosen holiday. I'm a 12/23 baby, so I (almost) understand your pain :)

Will-E said...

Having your birthday hijacked by Jesus(the Jew, not the Mexican(s)) may suck, but just think, you were the most awesome gift ever to someone(s)!
If people were authentic about their traditions I would be more inclined to respect them. No gift giving for me for many years. I do like the lights.