‘Tis the season to be jolly—for some. Increasingly, Christmas has become one of my least favorite holidays. I can’t stand Christmas.

I am usually the Grinch of the Christmas season at least in my mind. I intentionally hold my tongue and let others enjoy one on the most popular times of the year. Some Christians like to say “Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” which I think is pure bullshit based on Christian behavior during that that time of the year gorging themselves (gluttony), feeling up Aunt Sarah and getting shit faced on Papa’s egg-nog and then driving away without a care in the world.

I could list several legitimate reasons for disliking the holiday such as the loss of my last Christmas with my mother and the Christmas I spent away from my children. These are sad reminders for me, but the main reason I despise the holiday is the crass commercialism that surrounds it. It has become Christmas—the never ending season—based on Wall Street marketing mentalities. It is also a time of great expectations and broken dreams.

What used to be one of my favorite times of the year has turned into a nightmare of shopping, greed and unbridled materialism. Instead of the spirit of Christmas and the jingle of sleigh bells, I see the ghost of Christmas and the only jingle I hear is the steady ch-ching of the cash register. When I see the festive red and green Christmas décor, I think red represents the amount of debt we drop into each year spending green we don’t have for things we can’t really afford and will still be paying off next Christmas.

It’s a shame because Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. It used to be a time for sharing, visiting with family and friends and just being close to the ones you loved. The only part of that is true now. We still do the same things, but it all seems to have a cost. Too many Christmases I’ve heard complaints about not being able to buy this or that and complaints about the gift received and not received. These are the adults. The kids are even worse.

I tolerate Christmas. I suffer through it each year hoping that it will get better, knowing that it won’t. The self-serving displays of charity that occur every year around Christmas time are especially irritating. Although I am happy for the recipients, I am not impressed by once a year contributors.

No one except nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, humanists and the non-religious seems to know the roots of the holiday called Christmas. Few know that is came from ancient pagan roots. The birthdays of  Marduk, Osiris, Horus, Isis, Mithras, Saturn, Sol, Apollo, Serapis, and Huitzilopochli. Of course, that would require having an interest in what you believe and not blindly accepting, which is one thing our group can be accused of not doing. We are curious by nature. Maybe even nosey.

Being born Catholic, the Christmas tradition was strong within my family, but over the years, I have discovered that capitalism and Christianity “make strange bedfellows” if not outright hypocrites. Nevertheless, I’m ready for Santa to bring his fat ass down my chimney and drop gifts for the kids and maybe, this year, he’ll leave that damn telescope I prayed for 50 years ago. Still, I guess if there is anything that still brings a smile to my face at Christmas time is the sight of my children and grandchildren on Christmas morning. Their smiles still warm my heart and make me say, “Merry Christmas.”

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on December 24, 2015 at 3:56pm
Micheal you've got me rolling. I never thought about that. I never sat on Santa's lap. Ugh!b a little to the left sweetie. Agh! Now, I've gone into my Minion mode and the bastard saying Christmas--I'm going to slap them before the chr...gets out of their mouth.
Comment by Michael Penn on December 24, 2015 at 1:18pm

Good one, Pat. Reading what you and Donald are writing here has me questioning the idea of children (both male and female) coming up to sit on Santa's lap while telling him what they want for Christmas. Where did that idea come from? The way I see it nothing good can come out of young children setting on some man's lap. He's really "golly" St. Nick and might have to explain about the flashlight in his pocket.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on December 24, 2015 at 12:52pm
That sounds so great! To just another day for me although I must admit I like the smell of pine trees and the whiskey on the breath of mall Santa Claus's. My wife and I are leaving on a cruise as we always do at Christmas. We'll be out Xmas day and New Years. It will be warm and away.
Comment by Pat on December 24, 2015 at 12:21pm

I've always thought of Ebeneezer, prior to the visitation, as the protagonist of the story, rather than the antagonist. While he was exasperated with Cratchett taking the day with pay, he let him do it anyway. And, all he asked of his nephew was to simply leave him out of all the insipid, maudlin BS. However, to quote the late John Belushi, "BUTTTTTT NOOOOOOOOOO! He gets to spend an evening enduring the psychological torture of the ghouls of yuletide. Much like we heathens endure the endless phony "War on Christmas" that, unbeknownst to us, we formally declared against all that is good and holy several years ago.  But all's well that ends well because after his evening of brainwashing, like Winston Smith at the conclusion of Orwell's futuristic novel, he learns to love Big Brother. 

Like you, Don, I used to like the idea of family gatherings, a large dinner, and a few tokens of appreciation toward one another afterwards. But now, as you correctly noted and to quote Mr. Scrooge, "It's just another excuse to pick a man's pocket every 25th of December." And, like the prols in "1984," the masses do as they're told and dutifully rush out to purchase cheap crap, made by Chinese slave labor, at the Big Box store. And, so as to get the super savings, beat the shit out of each other in celebration of the birth of their prince of peace. All choreographed to the musical stylings of computerized Muzac.

Like Michael, there's no tree, lights, ornaments or garish displays to pack away on New Year's Day. Instead, I'll have a nice quiet dinner with someone special, and watch re-runs of Mythbusters. I'll leave the Lifetime movie channel where Bobby and Sparky the Wonder Dog save Christmas to those who swallow the propaganda about the 'reason for the season.'

Comment by Donald R Barbera on December 24, 2015 at 11:33am
I hear you both. I had no choice. It took me a couple of years to figure there was no Santa Claus and another to figure out the Grand Poobah didn't exist either. Still, I loved doing the the things associated with Christmas that had nothing to do with Christmas. I remember walking in the snow under the moonlight with my girl friend. Another time, it was ice skating with a girl friend in Chicago. Those moments and others like them is what Christmas means to me. It is a time of joyous reflection.
Comment by tom sarbeck on December 24, 2015 at 6:33am

Donald, were you born Catholic. or born TO Catholics who gave you a Catholic education?

In 1937 I nearing the end of first grade in a public school when America's Catholic bishops said the first duty of Catholic parents is to take their children out of public school.

My dad obeyed and in all put five kids through Catholic schools. Before he died he knew we had all quit Catholicism.

He was as much a victim as we were. His parents were poor and took him from a Catholic school after sixth grade so he could work and earn the money to keep two sisters in RC school for 12 years. He didn't get to do his skeptical teen years in an RC school.

Comment by Michael Penn on December 24, 2015 at 12:05am

Good post, Don. I agree with you for a lot of the same reasons and will have to hold myself back or I might write more on it than you did. I must confess I'm waiting for this to all get over with. Living alone I have no tree, no presents, and no need for any of it. Children and a wife might change that somewhat, but that isn't my situation. If people tell me "Merry Christmas" I say it back to them but it hasn't been merry for me in several years, and really not since childhood. If families stay close this can change but I've pulled back from my family because they are always fighting and full of drama. I distance myself from all of that.

Even when the wife was here with me and we went to all the gatherings at holidays, I learned first hand all about racism. It is so subtle that I don't think many are aware of it or what they are saying or doing. As a party involved in an interracial marriage I picked it all up firsthand. People are not very kind and "tolerance" is often a joke. They don't know that. If you asked them they are "good Christians." Through it all we had a tree if my wife wanted a tree. Our Christmas was pretty much like some of these bad movies about it.

I'm sure that I'm "Scrooge" to many right now but spending money wasn't what that story was all about and many people didn't get the message. I can't wait until the new year, but I suppose I'll end up having dinner for Christmas with one daughter or the other. I'm not understanding why there just can't be one big family gathering. There's enough drama anyway but the pressure from the merchants makes it all worse. We don't need Christmas starting in July and only a fool would still be paying off his Christmas from last year. Sorry to say, that's what a lot of it is.

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