So Halloween is over and thus begins the season of Christmas.
Stores were all pretty much decorated already, but now winter stuff is on full display, Christmas music is on the radio and being played in stores, Christmas movies are not far off from being on TV, and Christmas plans are being finalized. And all of that is especially crazy if you consider the massive ‘War on Christmas’ I continue to hear about.
It is near perfect weather here in the first week of November in Detroit, so it is odd walking through the shop I work in with the huge overhead doors open and Christmas music blaring. Yes, I work in one of those places, were several people are all nutty about Christmas and love the awful music and the terrible movies and are annoyingly joyous about the whole damned holiday.
Frankly, I find it very fatiguing.
My wife and I have already purchased tickets to our annual holiday show night out. We are considering a family excursion for us all to enjoy some lights. We have made arrangements for a couple Christmas parties. We have even started Christmas shopping.
I don’t foresee a relaxing weekend around the house until after Sam’s birthday in mid-January. And it makes me crazy.
And I suppose it wouldn’t bother me as much if I actually enjoyed practically any part of the holiday at all. I don’t. I find it all to be a bit much. And now, with my daughter’s birthday just four days after the big day, it is just a lot to swallow.
Why am I all grinchy about Christmas? Well, for one, it is exhausting. Several days of being at parties where you are not comfortable because you are dressed up for some reason, and you’re hot because people leave their furnace set to 75 when 30 people are coming over for some reason, and there is never enough room to sit without being on top of someone else for some reason, and you don’t feel great because you ate too many yams and pie for some reason. Each party is filled with the same conversation, the same jokes.
I feel like an outsider no matter where I am. I feel like I shouldn’t be there, which I would probably prefer. People are nice and kissy face to you for just that one time during the entire year, which feels incredibly forced and fake. You have to spend like a grand just to get decent gifts for people. You get a bunch of stuff, but the only reason you didn’t buy it for yourself months prior was because someone reminded you that Christmas was coming up. You see a bunch of friends and family that you don’t see outside of big holidays and you have to pretend that there isn’t a reason you don’t see them more often.
And that isn’t even including having to drive al over in bad road conditions with a small and unhappy child that refuses to nap and wants you to sing “Rock-a-bye Baby” every 30 seconds.
Doesn’t that just sound like a ton of fun to you?
The good stuff is good, giving a gift that someone really appreciates, seeing your family and friends that you truly want to be with, having good conversation and laughing and eating good food. But boy, it sure seems like I get all that at like, Fourth of July, without all the other bullshit.
I have no idea why Christmas is such a beloved holiday. It probably has to do with childhood memories of Santa and Christmas magic. I know my favorite part of the holiday was always leaving the midnight service at church, getting in my Dad’s car with my sister and my Grandmother and turning on Christmas music and signing along with Johnny Mathis or Nat King Cole as I listened to the car tires press into the crisp newly fallen snow. Or giving my other Grandmother a kiss goodbye before we left church, knowing I would see her just a couple days later. Those are my hallowed Christmas memories, and I do cherish them. But I don’t try to recreate them every year either. I just let them exist as they were.
My wife gets very into it. Starting right around Thanksgiving, not much before, our TV will constantly be airing a Christmas movie. It won’t be deep into December before I have seen “The Santa Clause” a half dozen times (that’s her favorite) and “Home Alone” more than a couple as well. Our tiny house will be packed to the gills with trees and lights and decorations. We will have fires in the fireplace, and gingerbread candles glowing, and I’ll be forced to get my hand-soap out of a snowman.
In not so many words, she often tells me that I’m harshing her Christmas buzz. I can’t help it. I find it hard to get excited about. I am just not into it. I’ve tried in the past to get into it, didn’t work. I have tried faking and even lying about it, but it didn’t work either. And if I am honest about it, that’s unacceptable. So, I really don’t know how I am supposed to feel this time of year, and who to talk to about it.