Christmas Is Not My Bag

I haven’t celebrated Christmas for sixteen years. I haven’t wanted to for more than I can remember. Growing up in an ostensibly Christian family, however, it was hard to avoid as a child. In my house, for me, Christmas was veritable torture. Oh sure, I got presents, and we had a big party, and I got two weeks off from school which allowed me to spend a whole week with my mom.

It started with putting up the tree. The task of decorating was left to my sister and me, and it just wasn’t something I liked to do. Christmas decorations don’t appeal to me aesthetically, and it only seemed like another chore.  Luckily, most of the gift shopping was done by my step-mother, but I still had to wrap everything. Wrapping presents itself is pretty enjoyable; seeing all the meaningless gifts we were giving to people was disheartening. I know people who buy Christmas gifts early in the year, generic gifts for no one in particular, but knowing they were going to have a list later – these are gifts I want nothing to do with.

On Christmas Eve, preparations started early in the day. Pack up the gifts for the extended family, finish baking cookies and other goodies, wash up and get hair put in rollers, get dressed and go to church for the twilight service. None of this was especially gruelling. And the party after church at my grandparents’ house was always much fun. Good food, fun with my cousins, warmth from the fireplace, more presents. It was great, at least until I was a preteen. Then, because I was a girl, I was made to help all the women clean up at the end of the festivities. None of my girl cousins had to help – their mother wanted them to have fun. I was resentful.

Things got worse for me around 14. It was about that time I realized I didn’t (still don’t) believe in Christ as our savior. What had become more chore than joyous occasion had now become completely meaningless. I’m not the type to make waves, so I kept my thoughts to myself, and I went through the motions. It ate at me, though, because I really don’t think it’s right for someone to celebrate or observe a holiday that is not “theirs” (I struggle with this on Halloween, my second favorite holiday).

As time goes by, it’s not only the spiritual disconnect that makes me dislike Christmas. The crass commercialization of an event that is supposed to be (for some) the defining moment for a whole religion is revolting. The Christians who are mortally offended by atheist placards should be burning down shopping malls for desecrating the image and symbolism of their savior. And why aren’t they? Because they like to get the latest gadgets wrapped in red and green, too, I guess. F-ing hypocrites.

Christmas, like Easter, was created by Romans to trick pagans into converting to Christianity. I’m neither a Christian nor a pagan, so I think I’ll stay out it.