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.