Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Grinchess

As the Christmas Season is officially upon us and the hordes are frantically shopping, lest they miss out on this year's tacky gifts (Singing Salmon plaques, coffee mugs with Santa in compromising positions, etc), I realize that I am becoming more and more Grinchy about Christmas. Not the religious celebration of Christmas, and not the concept of giving. But the other parts:

  • When was the last time people actually thought about the birth of Christ and the spirit of giving? A few years ago, I was telling an American acquaintance that I wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen or hand out gifts at a shelter on Christmas day, since I don't really celebrate. She screamed at me, saying Christmas is about being with family and not about being with a bunch of drunk hobos. Am I missing something here?
  • In all of the shopping and buying that goes on, the spirit of giving seems to be missing. We buy expensive things off of wishlists and give each other (and ask of each other) things that have no real use or value. Why? It's not like we don't shop all year long. I feel like jewelers are practically drooling when they see people walking by. It's not like this is really their holiday. They have Valentine's Day and Mother's Day to guilt people into shopping. Why can't this holiday be about truly sharing? (Sidebar: As a sign of what a hypocrite I can be, I will admit to accepting jewelery should anyone wish to purchase me some. Please contact me for my direct mailing address).
  • In what is one of my more bizarre personality quirks, I am offended by non-Christians singing Christmas songs. It really bothers me when performers come out with annual Christmas albums, singing the Classics, spreading Christmas Cheer. I mean, does Barbara Streisand really celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or Neil Diamond? Aren't they just getting rich off of something they actively don't believe in? I realize they are performers and people like their singing (another mystery) but it still bothers me.
  • Perhaps due to the fact that I did not grow up celebrating Christmas, I'm not a big fan of Christmas music in general. The fact that I can barely get away from it after Thanksgiving Day makes me a little Grinchy. I mean, there are a handful of carols I look forward to (I love The Little Drummer Boy, What Child Is This and a few others) but hearing Bing Crosby sing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas is much like nails on a blackboard. (PS, I also hate the movie that song is from after having been forced to watch it EVERY Thanksgiving and Christmas for nine years--why why why?!).
  • I do not look forward to December 26th. It seems like the most anti-climactic day of the year, with people rushing to the stores (again) to return/exchange the things they received that wasn't up to their standards for whatever reason. Plus, all the gift wrapping paper, boxes and tinsel on the sidewalk trashcans is just so depressing to me--as if a holiday died a colorful, tragic death.

So, while you will find me in the malls trying to buy (hopefully meaningful) gifts just like everyone else, I want to say, I'm not happy about it. I have absolutely no solution for making things better--but that's what makes me a Grinch.

(Apologies to any Christmas fairies, elves and fans who may have been offended by these sentiments. I will understand if you're not besides yourself in March when the Persian New Year approaches).


TK said...

Ho ho goddamn ho.

Actually, I love Christmas season, I truly do, despite being a staunch atheist and a horrible cynic. I can't help it. I was raised with Christmas being the highlight of the year, and it hasn't changed.

That said, I shoot for meaningful rather than expensive, but it's an uphill battle.

Anonymous said...

My name is Manda and I love Christmas music.

Deep in the steely heart of this cynical gal is a small mushy center that goes all to goo for Christmas music.

In doing some digging on the history of Christmas in America, it was quite surprising to find out that the rampant consumerism dates back to the mid- and late-Victorian era.

Looking for an alternative to mall conformity (and still find pretty jewelry), try Good crafty stuff.

And as a Christian, while I try and keep my spiritual focus during the craziness of Christmas, I also have to remember that the real holy day for Christianity is Easter. It's hard not to get sucked into the revelry surrounding the winter holiday, but then Easter gets only a passing moment in my heart.

girl with curious hair said...

TK, How can you not believe in God? Someone is obviously looking after you.

Manda, I realize my lack of "Christmas Spirit" has nothing to do with my upbringing, religion, etc. My brother grew up in Iran and LOVES Christmas (yet he skips Persian New Year). Although, I do appreciate the optimism and hope of Easter--I like almost everything associated with Spring.