Again with the holidays. Do we have to do this every year? Yes. Dammit.
It all kicks off in glorious fashion with one of my all time hated traditions, Black Friday. They might as well as call it Suckers Thursday, because it starts now on Thanksgiving late afternoon. It’s mostly 99% bull, unless you want a great deal on socks.
This is the time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it is most often associated with the decrease in light people get in the winter. I’m sure that’s part of it, but I also think another part of it is the pressure I have talked about before. The pressure to be happy. The pressure to buy the “right” gift. The guilt of the Christmas Spirit. I already don’t like society telling me what I have to do, and at Christmas, there is nothing but pressure about what you have to do and the way you have to feel. Maybe it’s not that I don’t want to do these things, but I want to do it on my own terms, without any pressure or judgement. For people who already struggle daily with their mood and temperament, it’s not easy to be bombarded with Ho Ho Ho, Jolly Jolly, get an ugly Christmas sweater, buy stuff, buy stuff, buy stuff.
If Christmas was really about Christ, it would be focused on simpler things, like unconditional love and acceptance which could be a comfort for people with depression and anxiety. People with depression don’t want an Xbox. They want a warm hug and to be told you love them and will support them in any way you can.
I was going to start this post talking about how I thought I had already written a post about this topic. In fact I had, last October, but it never got out of draft status. Reading it now reminds me of how bitter and angry I was last year. It’s a little shocking to read because I am such a different person this year.
I still don’t like the holidays and for much of the same reasons as last year but this year I’ll take some of the sting out of it.
I am a traditionalist in that I don’t like to see or hear anything about Christmas before Thanksgiving. But already, friends on Facebook and the like are talking about taking out their Christmas music, before halloween! Poor Thanksgiving, always getting the shaft. Really, though, it’s a more a matter that I hate the entire holiday season.
It’s not uncommon for people to dislike the holiday season. The is even a term for it, Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD. Cute, right? For me it centers around all the forced happiness. Oh, isn’t it wonderful, the holiday season, so full of joy and wonderment? Its the happiest time of the year it is said and yet not so much for everyone. Some people struggle mightily, myself included many years, and no amount of snow or fat guys or candy is going to make that better. Let alone Christmas has become mostly a consumer holiday with only a tangential link to is religious origins. It’s easy to be cynical. The root of the problem with the forced happiness is the implication that if you don’t love the holidays there is something wrong with you. Yes, in fact there is. I am suffering from depression or anxiety or any number of other things. Thanks for reminding me and making me feel bad about it.
Outside of the forced happiness is the gift giving pressure. What did you get? More importantly, what did you give? Was it enough? Did they like it? Was it the “perfect” gift? All the marketing just sets us up to be disappointed because everyone in the ads gets the perfect gift and their so so happy. Why aren’t the people I give gifts to that happy? It’s the thought that counts though. Nobody is going to judge you based on your gift giving, right? Right. Of course I have this gift giving thing all ass backward. I understand the positive side of gifting. It’s just so overblown around Christmas, I think the meaning gets warped. It’s the over-hyped, out of control marketing that does the warping. I don’t think I am alone in wishing we could go back to simpler times. It could be my Jewish side that gets in the way. We weren’t so strict as to not celebrate Christmas, but as Jews, we always took it with a grain of salt.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so says the song. Really? For some of us that’s a lot of pressure to live up to. You’re supposed to be happy at the holidays and feel good. If you don’t your some kind of grinch. Yes they even have a word for it. This forced happiness is what I think troughs so many people off. You’re just trying to keep your head above water as the everyday struggle with anxiety and depression does not take a holiday. Now you are made to feel like there is really something wrong with you because you’re not “jolly”. I think I would be happier and have an easier time taking it all better if I could be happy on my own terms not because it was so forced.
In other snark, it’s also the season of giving the season of sharing. Really? Seems more like the season of amped up marketing and crazed shopping. Every kiss begins with Kay and aren’t you putting a Lexus in the driveway like everyone else? The Every kiss begins with Kay has bothered me for years because it implies that love can only be gotten with a diamond gift. Watching gleeful couples giggle over their new Lexus is also nauseating in a time when so many people are struggling to keep food on the table. We won’t even talk about the recent bouts of “competitive shopping“.
Face it, the holidays are one giant pressure cooker. Pressure to be happy, pressure to give the right gift, pressure to get along with family. I know many people do love the holidays, no matter what. God love you, have a wonderful season, but please be aware there are many who have a more difficult time in this period of the year.