Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Christmas Envy

Merry ChristmasThere’s a while left till Christmas and the holiday is already getting on my nerves.
I may have not been raised under the Christmas culture but I actually like the holiday. I like the fact everyone takes some time off, I like the way it brings families together with some quality time, and I like the fact everything is winding down around that time of the year. The fact this time of the year happens to have the best weather of the year is a bonus (lucky for us Southern Hemisphereans), which means that my family and I can celebrate our own version of Christmas and have fun together.
My quarrel is with a specific group of people that can be characterized by the following indicators:
  1. They are Christians believers.
  2. They truly believe the holiday has some divine meaning to it, ignoring the obvious evidence that the holiday is a mishmash of traditions adopted by Christianity over the years.
  3. As a direct result of the above two, they truly believe that their way is the only way to celebrate Christmas.
  4. As a result of this belief, they try and impose their Christmas on others. Others that may not be particularly interested.
Members of this group can be easily identified through their frequent complaining on how they are being robbed of Christmas. They say they’re not allowed to celebrate Christmas anymore, and the example they usually cite is them not being allowed to say things like “merry Christmas” in public duty. These people are living the paranoid dream of having their culture robbed away from underneath their feet.
I agree with them that not being allowed to mention Christmas as Christmas is silly. It’s a holiday, it’s there on the calendar, and they celebrate it – so why not say it out loud?
The problem is that with most of these people, things don’t go round the other way. They seem unable to realize what things look like from the others’ point of view. In particular, they seem unable to realize what it is to live as a minority; they complain of being robbed, but the reality is the clear majority of Australians want to celebrate Christmas.
Want the clearest evidence for these people's inability to relate to others? Just congratulate one of these people with a “happy Ramadan”. Then quickly seek your nearest thermonuclear shelter.

Image by aussiegall, Creative Commons license


Sarah said...

It's getting on my nerves too but for totally different reasons and this is probably the only place I can express this without people being horrified. I used to love Christmas. Not religious but loved the surprise of presents, spending time with family and the excitement in the air. However since my Mum and brother died it is just a painful reminder now of what I have lost and how this period is never going to be the same. The fact they start doing Christmas in the shops in October means every time I go I am smacked in the face and find myself having to take a deep breath every time I see that first Xmas tree or hear the Xmas music.

Why can't they start mid November so people don't fatigue of the Xmas experience. Surely not everyone loves Xmas for a whole range of reasons...

I thought once I had kids it would be better and it is in one sense as the focus has shifted to them and trying to give them the magic of Xmas but somehow for me it is gone and I don't think I will ever find it again. Dramatic much??? Just the way I feel and it is kind of sad that age is gone.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I don't think that pretending to be horrified would be the appropriate way to answer this, is it?
I can clearly see where you're coming from. Although I don't have personal traumas even mildly close to the loss of two family members, I do have my demons and I know that I am not at my best (to say the least) in their vicinity. All I can do is offer my sympathies, hold you in my thoughts (for what it's worth), and offer to do something together around and about Christmas time.

I will add that I have a problem with manufactured atmospheres, and that includes the so called "Christmas spirit". For example... Two years ago we flew to Launceston on Christmas day. So we parked at the airport's long term parking and caught the bus, but we couldn't make out what the driver was trying to tell us; he sounded all weird and angry. I shouted for him to repeat what he said, and in return he shouted back "hey, where's your holiday spirit?"
I'll tell you where my holiday spirit was: it was trying to avoid getting lost at a parking lot with only half an hour left to catch my flight.
As I said, it's nice that everyone winds down together for the holidays. But real life is still taking place, and if we try and live under the assumption something unnaturally magical is taking place during this particular time of the year we stand to be disappointed.
You can say I'm trying to convince you to try and change the way you regard Christmas time, despite all the heritage you're carrying along.
Can that be a comfort for you? No way. But generally speaking, I still think we should stop regarding Christmas time as anything other than time off that we can all utilize whichever way we see fit. Set the expectations this low, and things can only get better...

Sarah said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are right that if you lower your expectations then the day is better. It can and never will be the same so it makes no sense to strive for that.

I have tried variations of trying to tell myself many people don't celebrate the day and to them it has no meaning, so to me it can have no meaning. That didn't work. I ran away and spent the day in a different country but that didn't work either as I felt even more isolated and alone.

While many areas of my life I have found my new "normal" of how to carry on this Xmas thing is obviously still a work in progress.

I guess the point of me posting is that all we ever see at Xmas is everyone loving it but there are many many people out there who struggle at this time of year for many reasons and it would be good if this was acknowledged. It is refreshing too, to have a place to say Xmas sucks!

Moshe Reuveni said...

For what it's worth, you are not alone; there are dates that I, too, dread. They're also associated with nasty events that took place in my life, but none are as severe as yours. Perhaps we just need to learn to live with them.