November 20th, 2005

danger, Warning: Caustic, caustic

Athelind's Holiday Paradox

(Originally a response to a journal entry by ursulav.)
The more worked up people around me get about the holidays, the more I channel old Ebeneezer Scrooge before his spectral push into conformity.

The years I most strongly felt "The Christmas Spirit" were the years that my family Wasn't Doing Christmas, because of budget and disinclination. My mother used to be The Christmas Lady -- she was seriously Into It, lights, the tree, the decorations, Christmas albums playing 24/7, huge presents, everything. When family and budget got to the point that she couldn't afford to do the holiday to excess, she realized she had to quit cold turkey*, like any addict. No decorations, no presents. When I was living in the area, I'd meet them for Christmas dinner at a nice, inexpensive diner -- and that was it.

And I loved it.

Everyone else in the world was all wrapped up** in scrambling for presents, and I was relaxed, unpressured, mellow... and CHEERFUL. I'd whistle carols. I'd volunteer to work the Christmas shift, so that my co-workers could spend time with their families. All that sense of renewal, of good will, of brotherhood and joyful tidings and all that... When you're free of the Annual Consumer Feeding Frenzy, all that comes back, without any effort.

I rather miss that.

It only works when the whole family does it, though. When you're the only one who doesn't buy presents, and when you insist that you don't want any, you're just a grumpy asshole, and you feel like it.


*No pun intended.
**Again, no pun intended.
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