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Dec 06

I Hate Christmas

I hate Christmas, the holiday season, and nearly every single activity that could be considered ‘Christmassy’. Normally, this would be fuelled by nothing more than my ever-burning hatred of religion and all the idiotic things people do in the name of it, but not Christmas, oh no. Christmas has had a couple of millennia to ingrain itself into our society in a way that goes beyond the day itself and the faith it’s relating to.

The ‘Holiday Spirit’

Nothing says Merry Christmas like good old fashioned pyromania!

If there’s one thing I hate more than being surrounded by cheerful people, it’s being surrounded by people PRETENDING to be cheerful. For a month and a half (sometimes more) before December 25th, we the people of Earth are bombarded with imagery of cheerful people being cheerful together whilst cheerfully eating more than they could possibly need then still somehow have the stamina to cheerfully play cheerful games with one another.

It’s Winter! The days are shorter, wetter and darker. Leaving your home becomes a genuine hazard what with all the ice, snow, darkness and the effect these three have on pedestrians/motorists/everyone! This is not a naturally cheerful time of the year. We as mammals should be quietly shovelling food into our mouths to conserve energy and fatten ourselves up in preparation for when for food is (or should be, if left to nature) not as abundant as at other times in the year. We should be sluggishly shuffling around in a semi-conscious state until Spring arrives, when we should be burning off all the fat and making babies.

The advertizing industry tries its absolute hardest to try and guilt people into being cheerful (by buying their products) in order for you to prove to everyone that you have the ‘holiday spirit’, ‘Christmas cheer’ or whatever you call it (I personally prefer the term Winter Denial). As we all know, if the advertizing industry wants all the sheeple to think a certain way, it will invariably happen; therefore within a couple of weeks of this campaign beginning, the world begins putting up decorations, preparing ridiculous amounts of food, putting ghastly music on repeat, clogging up the streets/shops and spending their hard-earnt cash trying to prove to the world that they’re just as jolly as the poor sod next to them. This spiral of guilt-fuelled false cheer culminates in a nervous breakdown come Christmas Day when all your efforts are judged by friends and family, who feel equally guilted into assuring you that everything’s lovely. All this fear, guilt and judgement (that most people would readily acknowledge exists) is delicately veiled behind shark-like smiles and some mince pies.

What’s it all for!? What’s wrong with just admitting that we feel a bit shit, that we’d much rather stay at home and see everyone a bit later when it’s warm out and there are interesting things to see/do? Why do we allow ourselves to be swept up in the guilt-wave?

sort of get why it’s December. A lot of religious groups over the year have paid some kind of attention to the closing of one year and the beginning of another. But name ONE of them besides Christmas that went to such lengths to ensure that everyone had to know about it (sometimes under pain of death)!

I fall under a lot of labels, many of which can’t be said in front of your grandparents; but very few of them could describe me as being ‘miserable’ or ‘miserly’. However, these are the two most common things I’m called in December. Why? Because for this particular twelfth of the year I’m not on festive overdrive and have just maintained my usual chipper outlook? Throughout the entire year, my mood is always dampened by being made to feel guilty or different; and December just happens to be the month in which most people decide to make me feel that way!

Gifts

My hyper-atheistic outlook precludes me from any of the religious activities at Christmas (the church events, nativity things, carolling, lip service to centuries-old dogma, and so on), but I don’t think I could handle the social exile I’d face if I elected to absent myself from the obligatory gift-giving of the season. I’m not going to tell you that I don’t like giving and receiving gifts, that would be a downright lie. What I am saying is that I detest the idea that on top of the socially accepted idea of giving someone a gift at any other time of the year just because you feel like it; there’s a certain time of year when you’re EXPECTED to get someone a gift.

Like the vast majority of people, I don’t have an unlimited budget. I have a little money on which to subsist, and to afford myself the odd leisure item. If I choose to get someone a present (at any time of the year), it shows that I’ve thought about that person while they weren’t around, and cared enough to forgo some of the pleasure I would have otherwise gained by spending my money of myself; instead getting something that they would like. Aside from the enjoyment I’d gain by seeing the person appreciate the gift, and through being thanked for it; the gesture is very much designed to benefit the recipient. That act in itself is a species-defining phenomenon; to think outside of our own heads, empathizing with the wants and needs of another entity.

The gifts I get for people aren’t massive, extravagant or even that frequent; but to my mind they’re still meaningful. As an example: seeing a videogame on sale in Spring/Summer and thinking, “So-and-so might not have seen this offer. I know, I’ll get it for them, that’ll make them happy.”

That act of kindness is rendered absolutely meaningless if the only reason the gift is being bought is because it’s December, everyone else is doing it, and that the selection was ‘the thing you’d hate least’ from a generic list of items on an online megastore’s homepage.

Somehow, though, I still get swept up in it. I still find myself thinking what so-and-so would like, then wondering ft it’s enough money, whether it’s too MUCH money, what they’d think if they looked it up online afterwards to see how much you’d spent,  whether they’ve already got one, whether someone else will have got it for them, whether the fact they haven’t got one already means they probably wouldn’t like it anyway, wondering what ELSE you could possible get them….. ad nauseum.

I once contemplated fully the amount of fallout there’d be if I turned around and said , “I’m not buying any Christmas presents this year. I reserve the right to buy someone a gift as/when I feel like it, and at any time of my choosing throughout the year”. I came up with an obstacle in the way of my wonderful plan:

“So it’s been a year, and you didn’t get me anything?”

If after a year I haven’t got someone who would otherwise have received a Christmas present a gift (at any other time), that might give the impression that I don’t like them, don’t think of them, or didn’t find them deserving of a present. You wanna know WHY it gives this impression? Because it’s probably true, that’s why! These days, the average person ‘knows’ hundreds of people. It is physically impossible for the human brain to uphold conscious relationships with so many people, a few of them are going to be sacrificed every now and then to make way for other thoughts such as “should I eat?” or “is that guy following me…?”  When you do Christmas shopping, you invariably have to do some mass-buying of a generic item such as chocolates, sweets and biscuits. This in NO way means you care less about the person receiving them. Far from it. This means that you’ve thought about that person enough to necessitate the purchasing of a present for them, but that perhaps you don’t see/speak to that person enough to know something a little more personal that they’d like.

It may transpire that those people who you don’t see very often; who you’ve lost contact with or perhaps only knew through another person a while back, are probably not going to be taking up prime real estate in your conscious mind throughout the year and would therefore not receive a gift under my proposed regime. If, however, Joe Bloggs did spring to mind one day in March; send him something! Even if it’s only an email! You’ve just done something nice (possibly for free) that’s made someone feel good, and you didn’t even need a Jewish zombie to guilt you into it! Sadly, under the regime, you WILL lose contact with people. It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes you WILL lose contact with someone you met. Don’t get too upset though, because even as you’re reading this you’re steadily forgetting people you’ve met over the years. In trying to recall some people you once knew right now, you just lost a couple more. That’s just how the mind works; information that is not accessed for ages will in most cases be lost.

It’s only in the age of Facebook and other Social Networking sites that seek to convince us that we have hundreds of friends instead of the 10-20 we see every day that we’ve developed this need to maintain contact with EVERYONE. I think the majority of people with a Facebook account will have at least one or two people on their friends lists that they’ve not seen, let alone spoken to, for YEARS!

Decorations

Hats off to this pioneer!

As the years go by, decorating your house (and beyond) with seasonal regalia is becoming more and more accepted, and borderline expected. I hate it. It’s gaudy, distracting, and a total waste of energy. I’ll bet you anything that people who are inclined to put up Christmas lights, animatronic reindeer and so on are also the same sort of people who care about saving the environment by using less energy, oh the irony of it.

Having spent a lot of time in America (I use the States as a prime example, but it’s started to happen in the UK and Europe a lot more often now) I see neighbours in direct competition with one another, seeing who can fit the most Christmas onto their homes without it collapsing under the weight! It’d be interesting to me to see a statistic showing the amount of energy that would be saved by people in private residences being banned from having Christmas lights on the outside of their houses.

On top of the price of food, gifts etc., the price of decorating your home is also increasing, yet still people keep buying things. Yes, people store decorations in attics, but still each year the majority find an excuse to get something new. A further waste of money, and a massive, screaming statement of false cheer.

Similarly to gift-giving, this activity seems to be restricted to December. People aren’t terribly shy about criticizing those who leave their Christmas lights plugged in after an arbitrary amount of time following Christmas Day. Why, though? Why the hell can’t someone have lights on their house in August if they want to? Maybe that person likes the way their house looks with lights on! What right does anyone have to guilt someone into installing or removing lights from their house based on the invented birthday of their imaginary friend!?

With that, I leave you with my own personal Christmas card…

About the author

Mr Llamatastic

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