Dear Christmas: I Quit

I dislike the Christmas season.

I realize that is not popular to say, but I stopped worrying about being popular years ago.

To be honest, it’s not the Christmas season I have an aversion to so much as the annual expectations and obligations.  It’s a like/dislike thing, with dislike carrying 90% of the vote.

The closer the calendar gets to Thanksgiving, the more on edge I feel.  Once we roll into December, my Grinch personality steps up to take control.

People become consumed by things that don’t matter.  Rank commercialism runs rampant, beginning earlier each year.  Forced cheer is insincere, particularly when I can actually SEE the stress and tension rolling off people in waves.  The whole family/friend dynamic takes some sort of radical, albeit temporary, turn into Crazy Town, racing off willy-nilly to cram gifts into visits into dinners into what becomes a fantastic imitation of a theatrical stage presentation.

I’d like to quit Christmas this year, but it’s too late.  In keeping with my annual hypocrisy, gifts have been purchased and shipped.  Decorations have been hung and RSVPs made for holiday dinners.  I’d like to do things differently next year.

My Christmas Wishes for 2011

Please don’t buy me gifts.  I would rather spend time with those I love doing things that make the day special, reflecting back on the year, sharing memories and joy.  The best gift I get each Christmas season is knowing that my family and friends have been there for me, through the laughter and tears of the previous year.  My gratitude for the gift of friendship and family knows no bounds. I hope that I’ve been there for them too.

Give to those less fortunate.  There are a myriad of choices, like serving at a soup kitchen or visiting the elderly.  Pool the money that would have been spent on gifts and donate it to a worthy cause.

I don’t want to attend functions where no one can visit because the focus is on the food, the gifts, or the ballgame.  Stop worrying about the presentation and just get together without the stress to relax.

Gather everyone in the kitchen and make a meal or bake cookies.  Even those who lack cooking talent can participate.  It’s not hard to measure ingredients or get things from the fridge.  The point is the camaraderie in the shared experience.  Pull up a stool and hang out.

The bottom line is that I don’t want to feel as if the Christmas season is an obligation that has to be met. So much is crammed into this one day.  Instead, I am asking that we take the original spirit of this season – praise and thanks and blessings – and spread it year-round.

Before you think I’m a total lost cause, a permanent resident of the mountains over Who-ville, I should note that I do like two things about this season

  • Watching the light sparkle and grow in little children’s eyes when they see their gifts under the tree.  The joy this brings to my heart is an immeasurable gift.
  • Christmas songs.  They are the only songs to which I can always remember all the words.

May the season bring each of us peace and joy.  I am blessed with family and friends who love me.  There’s nothing more I need.