When I was a kid I thought that Christmas was the best thing in the universe. Who doesn’t love a benevolent man dressed in festive duds giving presents to little kids? It was a no-brainer.
And while I am a hopeless lover of Christmas, peace on Earth and goodwill to men, over the years there are things that I’ve really grown to hate about the season:
1. Early start. Each year retailers start ‘the season’ earlier than the year before. It used to be that the day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the Christmas season. Now, before we have even gotten rid of that extra Halloween candy we are dazzled with sparkly Christmas decorations, novelty items, sales, etc.
2. The shopping. Although online shopping has made shopping more convenient in many ways, it still presents problems. It takes longer to get the item and if there is a problem then it has to be returned and takes longer to get it back. Often things online look a lot better than they do in reality. In certain states, sales tax is added to online purchases (which was one of the big appeals to online shopping). On the other hand, fighting mall traffic and crowds is a nightmare too.
3. Forced participation in secret Santa. I personally love being a secret Santa. However, if you work for a large company you often draw the name of someone you don’t know or perhaps don’t like. And too, the person who drew your name may not be as interested in playing by the rules. For example, I once participated in a secret Santa at a job and drew the name of a person I didn’t know. I did research and found out what the person liked, what their job was, etc and sent gifts every day for 10 days as the rules required. My secret Santa however, didn’t send anything until the last day and that was a kid’s harmonica that they probably picked up at the local dollar store. Better to let those who want to participate and play the game to do the secret Santa thing – and leave the grinches alone.
4. The cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. Usually I find it fun, relaxing, and creative. However, rising at dawn on Christmas Day to start the prep for a meal that won’t occur until 10 hours later has gotten a bit old for me over the years. While you’re making stuffing, baking pies and basting birds, everyone else is watching the game, going to the parade or building snowmen. Once you finally sit down to eat, you’re too exhausted to enjoy it.
5. The push to get rid of public displays. When I was a kid, we all looked forward to seeing lights, decorations, and nativity scenes throughout the city. Nowadays, if you dare to put up a display you have to face public protests, injunctions and possibly even a visit to the courthouse. And don’t even get me started on people who say they object because of energy hogging. Seriously? Electricity is created, not dug out of the ground – it doesn’t deplete natural resources, and you pay for it. So if a person is willing to pay the outrageous costs of a spectacular display it’s really not your concern.
6. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. Apparently now, we aren’t even allowed to say Christmas during Christmas, because that might offend somebody somewhere for some reason. Christmas pageants are now Winter Festivals, Christmas break is now Winter break, Christmas vacation is just a vacation, and Merry Christmas is Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. But we’re allowed to bellow, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Druid Dancing Day, Happy Earth Day, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy whatever made up holiday you can think of day – just not Merry Christmas. Seriously? Ironically, Christmas is the most commercialized of any known holiday and yet we aren’t actually allowed to say the word.
7. People who are offended by Christmas and think you should care. Look, we are all offended by something but are we entitled to not be offended. For instance, I don’t like porn but do I get to sue the porn industry for existing? Nope, I don’t. I also don’t like people who think it’s their mission to outlaw cigarettes. Do I get to make them shut up and mind their own business? Nope, I don’t – however, they somehow have the right to tell me to stop smoking anywhere near them (including across a football field). The thing is nobody has any guarantee or civil liberty not to be offended. If you don’t like it, look away, turn it off, or go somewhere else. Oh, and get a life while you’re at it.
8. People who take their kids shopping and let them run wild. I realize that we all have busy lives and when you have kids sometimes you have to take them with you when you shop. But is it too much to ask that you control your kids so they aren’t crawling around on the floor where others will step on them, or running up and down aisles and knocking people and merchandize over, or screaming their heads off, or having fist fights with their siblings? Children are not little adults, they do not understand restraint, respect for others, and other civil behavior unless you teach them what it means and how to practice it. Allowing total freedom to children neither makes them free nor fun to be around.
9. Fruitcake. There I said it. Who eats this stuff?
10.Not recognizing Christ in Christmas. Sure, we love Santa, presents, the food and treats but not so much the man that the holiday is about. Sure, people will argue that Christmas was once a pagan holiday and therefore it means nothing. But not true, the purpose of Christmas was to celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ – that the date selected (because no one knew exactly when Christ was born and there are a lot of theories on when that might be) coincided with another celebration doesn’t dilute the meaning of Christmas at all in my mind.
So, Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, and goodwill to men (and women)! There, I said it.
What are your Christmas gripes?