The hypocrisy of Christmas

Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville – did not. The Grinch hated Christmas – the whole Christmas season. Now, please don’t ask why; no one quite knows the reason.
~How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I become more and more tired of Christmas every year.

Every year, people yak and yak and yak about the “real meaning of Christmas.”

And then they go home, fire up the TV, and all that goes away.

I had resolved myself to not doing the “true meaning of Christmas” post. But I can’t help myself.

I would probably be happier if no presents were given on Christmas. I’m constantly bombarded by notions that I fail if I don’t find the “perfect” gift. You know what? People can be damn hard to shop for. I usually just flat-out tell my parents what to get me. It saves them the trouble and I get what I actually need rather than what they guess I would like.

One of my workplaces today had a Christmas lunch. They took us all to Olive Garden and we had a nice, unhurried lunch. I enjoyed it more than I do a lot of things at Christmas. In fact, I’d be happier if that was Christmas. Just people getting together. My family does a white elephant thing every year, and my other workplace is doing a secret santa. I’m not even very fond of these. Better than the normal gift-giving, but I’d much rather Christmas be just another form of Thanksgiving. A get-together with copious amounts of food.

But we’re told to find that elusive “perfect gift.” We’re told that I, a biological female, want diamonds or book impostors filled with romance novels. But at the same time, we’re also told that Christmas is really about love and family and community and not materialism. Talk about doublespeak.

No, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Gray areas exist. But we should move from the paradigm of the “perfect gift” and acknowledge the fact that we don’t always know what someone else wants. It can be hard to shop for even those you know rather well. And the paradigm of “friends and family together on Christmas day” just needs to end. My parents are still together, most of my biological family lives within driving distance of each other. I can, remarkably well, simulate the paradigm. Families, however, aren’t always biological. They aren’t always conventional. They don’t always celebrate Christmas, nor do they always celebrate it on Christmas.

So this image we’re fed of what Christmas “should” be. It’s erroneous. It potentially causes as much damage to our psyche as being told that we must be abnormally thin and completely flawless to be considered attractive. We’re hyped up as children to think of Christmas as a holiday of wanting and getting. We grow up to find that Christmas is a holiday of stress and debt. It’s merely a paradigm. Paradigms, while strong, can be subverted.

If you can’t afford to give gifts, don’t. Let go of the expectations. If you can’t make it to the family gathering, don’t consider Christmas ruined. In other words…if Christmas stresses you out, find out why and change it.

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2 Responses to “The hypocrisy of Christmas”

  1. Dargon Says:

    But I don’t like Thanksgiving either.

    That being said, I find myself stressed wondering what the hell to get people each year. As a kid, it’s great getting all sorts of cool stuff, but as an adult, there’s the money you have to spend and the worry on whether or not they’ll like it and appearing rude if you say “hey, whadda ya want?” or feeling like you let someone down if they don’t like it and all and all it sucks.

    I approve of the shift to food and family, though I prefer friends to family.

    • I’ve gotten to the point where, if I don’t have any clue, I just flat-out ask. I’m not going to stress myself out worrying about it, and if someone has a problem with me asking, that’s their concern, not mine. I’m not going to ruin my “most wonderful time of the year” anymore. My parents were actually relieved when I just flat out said “this is what I would like for Christmas.” They didn’t know what to get me. They said they didn’t want anything, so everyone’s just getting truffles.

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