Monday, December 20, 2010

You're a mean one...

Grinch: noun
1) A habitually irritable or complaining person, especially during the Christmas season
2) One who cannot tolerate the unnecessary emphasis on material gifts, excessive spending, spoiling, racking up debt all in the name of the Lord’s birth

Consider me a Grinch, and a proud one at that. I resist the modern day celebration and festivities of this Christian holiday. To be clear, I don’t hate the holiday itself, but I do hate the crazed obsession with shopping. Thousands of people flocking to the malls to buy more, MORE, MORE. Like zombies on fresh human flesh, they just can’t seem to get enough. The fact that malls are allowed to decorate for Christmas before Halloween makes my stomach turn. But more than that, the fact that people ENJOY the premature d├ęcor makes my blood boil. The thing that disappoints me the most is that all the buying, wrapping, decorating, caroling, tree lighting etc. has people “in the spirit.” Why aren’t you like this all year round, people? You need these things to make you happy? You need this music and these lights and this food to make you happy? Oh, and the Christmas-only-Christians…don’t get me started. I don’t buy into any of it (no pun intended). Christmas has unfortunately turned into a time for people to fake their way through togetherness, fake their way through happiness, fake their way through caring and giving, filling their voids with material gifts.

You’re probably wondering: how does someone end up this way? What led her into the darkness? How does one turn into a Grinch? Those definitely aren’t easy questions to answer. It’s a combination of many things…years and years of family dysfunction coupled with my own distaste for human nature. For starters, I never really believed in the “magic” of Christmas. Santa was a joke to me at the age of seven. Christmas was also a very stressful time of year for our family. My mom put immense pressure on herself to buy gifts and have everything perfect and be fair with the presents…down to the last penny. If my sister got a doll, I got the same doll in a different color. We got the same exact sweaters, pj’s, Barbies – you name it, and mom made sure she spent the EXACT same amount of money on us. Her quest for Christmas perfection turned her into a screaming lunatic. She’d eventually crack under the pressure, scream and throw things. Even as a young child, I thought “This isn’t worth it…all this STUFF just isn’t worth seeing her like this.” She was scary at Christmas (and other times of the year, but ALWAYS scary at Christmas). Mom was the Anti-Santa, if you will. I don’t blame her for my existing distaste for the holiday, but I can’t deny the fact that she did shape my opinion. And you know what? Now that I’m an adult, I find myself under the same pressures she faced…and I TOTALLY understand why she went bonkers. I, myself, have come close to going bonkers. There are other lingering issues that would take me years to explain – for example, FORCED togetherness. The fact that you have to spend time with people you don’t like simply because they fall under the category of “family.” That’s enough to squash anyone’s Christmas spirit if you ask me! And finally, the fact that people don’t accept my opinions or respect my desire to “opt out” is really, really frustrating. I’ve tried to opt out for years, but people treat me like I’m evil. I’m not evil, people! I just don’t want to do what you think I should do! In years past it’s gone something like this: “Please don’t buy me a gift – isn’t being together and sharing a nice meal enough of a Celebration? What’s that you say? No??? It’s NOT enough? You INSIST on buying me a gift because it ‘wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t’? Oh, I’m SORRY – I thought you could save your money and just enjoy TIME with ME, but I guess not…”

See, I told you there were a lot more issues…

My perfect Christmas would be:
- Only celebrating Christmas the actual WEEK OF CHRISTMAS
- Martha Stuart coming over to decorate my house (I really don’t enjoy decorating, and my decorations are crap.)
- Being with people I love, and who actually love and appreciate me in return
- Sitting around a nice fire, boiled custard, and some Rat Pack Christmas music
- Only visiting ONE house instead of SIX different houses (it makes for a loooong, tiring day)
- A few simple homemade gifts, and one surprise gift from my honey. He’s REALLY good at surprising me, and THAT's where I find the magic in Christmas.

Until next year,

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