I totally understand why The Grinch stole Christmas. I don’t want to steal presents from children or genuine holiday cheer from adults drunk off cheap wine. No, my friends, I am not that evil. I do, however, want to tell you about how much of a wreck my life is between December and January.
Let’s start with the obvious. I hate getting presents from people, especially extended family that do not know me very well. Most of the time, these presents turn out to be tacky gifts pulled out of a dark corner of the 90’s or an obvious re-gift. It’s like a game of hot potato, as I frantically try to re-gift the rubbish lest I get stuck with it. Please, people! Let’s learn off our mistakes, shall we? I wave my arms frantically as I say this: Do not get me anything! Give me a genuinely written card or a letter, if you can. If you can’t, then just give me a warm hug. If you can’t give me a warm hug, then just smile genuinely at me. If you can’t smile genuinely, then just take care of yourself and your family and please be happy.
Then there’s the task of getting presents for people, especially extended family members whom I don’t know very well. You’ll always get a candle or chocolates. I don’t know anything about you. I bought your present at Shoppers Drug Mart when my mom told me I had to get you something. Did we meet when I was 5? So sorry.
In all seriousness, the steroid-like commercialization of Christmas is disgusting. Guess who gets to feel shitty about themselves? Poor people. Lonely people. A lot of people fall into both categories, especially since it’s harder than ever to find a job that leaves you with disposable income. Christmas is greedy. It doesn’t care that you’re on a budget. It doesn’t care that you’re underemployed. And it doesn’t accommodate those in debt.
I’m not an actor, but I play one during the holidays.
This about sums it up. I feel like a big fat phoney. I’m a generally happy, healthy, and sane human being who has interests and stuff. I love spending time with my friends and family, eating and drinking too much, and giving them thoughtful gifts. I hate being forced to do these things, however. December puts a lot of pressure on you. There are deadlines and expectations. There are dreadful holiday parties. The entire thing is forced, and we’re all puppets reluctantly playing along.
I’m an introvert, and I need occasional downtime. There is no downtime in December. You’re either baking cookies for the office/neighbours/family/boyfriend’s family, hurling yourself into crowds at the mall, and/or going to holiday parties you couldn’t care much about. It’s too much for me. The holidays expect you to be “on” all the time. December is so unforgiving. If I see another shortbread cookie, I’m going to throw up.
And don’t get me started on the music. If I hear “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” one more time, I’m going to high-five someone. In the face. With a chair.
Next year will be different. I will take the entire month of December off and travel somewhere remote. Perhaps a hut in South America will be far enough from crazed holiday shoppers, ear-bleeding Christmas music, and lame holiday parties.
How do you feel about the holidays?