Ah, Christmas Eve. Colorful lights are twinkling. Stockings are hung with care. Carolers are making their way from door to door. A light, fluttery haze of snow is falling from the crisp, white sky while angelic ballerinas twirl magically through the air…
I’m kidding. This isn’t The Nutcracker, for Christ’s sake.
Christmas, clearly, throws me off sometimes. It took me a long while to come to the realization that Christmas, every few years or so, just isn’t my thing. Maybe it’s the sociopath in me. Maybe it was my poor upbringing. Maybe I’m just doomed to be a pessimist. Who knows. All I know is that this particular year I’m lacking Christmas Spirit.
I assure you, I’m hardly Ebenezer Scrooge. Or the Grinch.
I seem to have foregone Christmas this year altogether. It’s been, for the most part, sobering. It’s been alarming as well. I hadn’t actually come to the understanding that I’d made such a decision until recently, when a friend asked me what I wanted for Christmas. “Nothing,” I said. And, faster than I could envision dancing sugarplums, it dawned on me that I was being honest. I couldn’t even muster up the fortitude to say, “I suppose a gift card would be nice.” No. Instead I walked off in an incredulous stupor. Nothing for Christmas? Blasphemy!!
But it’s true.
Don’t worry, we won’t be needing Kleenex for this foray into the Special Hallmark Episode of my life. Quite the contrary. I’ve been given a perspective on the Holidays I hadn’t quite expected and I’m pleased with this.
There’s a sense of guilt in not doing anything for Christmas. No tree, no lights. No gift exchanges. No parties or gatherings. No jaunty Santa hat on common errands. No Charlie Brown, Rudolph or Frosty. No Christmas cards. There was a part of me that had worried, in the beginning, whether I should send out a bulletin to my friends and family that my participation in Christmas this year would be zip. Do I write a firm but eloquent Facebook status? Do I take to Twitter? Do I send a blast email to my Contacts List?
I needled myself with one particular question: How do I genuinely validate giving up on the holiday of Holidays, even if it is for just one year? And then it struck me, like reindeer antlers to my rear end: the decision to be a Christmas Grouch is my own, and there’s no one who can take responsibility for it except me.
But with that epiphany comes an even Greater Responsibility: Get the Fuck Over Myself.
Next year will be different, and now I have this blog post to hold me accountable. My friends and family don’t deserve to be dismissed because I’m feeling Bad About Myself, or because I can’t manage to rustle up an ounce of Christmas Spirit. Has “A Christmas Story” taught me nothing? It’s like I’m willing to shoot my eye out to spite myself!
Alas, Christmas Day is right around the corner. Even in southern California, where the closest we get to snow is a powdery line on a mirror, family and friends will come together for a festive Holiday. Eggnog will be had. Fights will be broken up. And grandmas everywhere will be having One Too Many, breaking their hips and blaming their daughters-in-law.
Have faith in me. There are shoddy parts of my psyche that still need a good dusting. It’ll happen, but Christmas wasn’t built in a day. Just ask Wal-Mart.