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A Christmas survival thread for those of us who hate this whole season.

 
 
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 02:06 pm
Yeah, I am a Grinch.

There are plenty of good reasons to hate Christmas; the simplistic moralism of the Santa Claus myth, the greed it inspires in young children, the commercialization of love to sell everything from electronics to plastic toys, the expectations of perfection that can never be met, the fantastic pressure to spend money and the rampant hypocrisy of people who I know don't care for me smiling and hugging (and expecting I do the same in return).

But the real thing that gets me about this season is the expectation, no the near demand, that I be in a happy mood for weeks on end.

My reaction is the exact opposite. I am generally a happy good-natured person. Today is the start of my yearly funk that will last until I recover from a hangover next year.

Maybe I am the only one who feels this way. Or, maybe there are more people with whom I can sympathize.
 
Aldistar
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 04:34 pm
I completely sympathize. I work in a mall and the horrible things I have to watch, see and listen to whilst keeping a smile on my face is just sickening. People getting into fist fights over toys and merchandise, children wetting themselves because thier parents are to busy shopping to listen, children left in stores alone while their parents go around the rest of the mall so they can shop 'unhindered' (and we are talking toddler ages here), being cussed out by customers for something that is completely not my fault and then having to put on a happy face for the next person in line. It goes on.

I do not celebrate christmas as I am not Christian and I get really tired of people telling me that 'it's OK I can still celebrate Christmas'. No it's not OK, like Christmas is some secret club that I am just dying to be a part of but never could until I got their permission. Why would I celebrate something I don't believe in?

Sorry I did not mean for this to turn into such a rant.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 04:50 pm
@Aldistar,
I sympathize as I go between sullen and sentimental. The sentiment is about back when family was more connected re geography, and slightly shared lives - most christmases with my cousins' (once we got back together after our parents' many years long avoidance, in my early twenties) were simply fun, worth the effort of the drives and the not too expensive present buying or present making. The advantage of my cousins is that mostly we can all disagree up the wazoo or kazoo and still be really glad to see each other, and that extends to religion and politics. Girl cousin A is a believer, in theological concept, but open to wide ranging thought, last we talked about it, and Girl cousin B, is a catholic, mostly. I round it out with lack of belief.

I do, though, remember just as fondly, some gatherings at our house, lazy gatherings, of friends just winding down after the family stuff, maybe with a beach walk, maybe hanging out on the porch (California, after all) or living room, talking for hours with some cooking going on. Those were also holidays to me.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 04:59 pm
@ossobuco,
Tangent, but perhaps not so much -

among the best St. Pat's Days I've ever had were the St. Pat's dinners at the home of a long time friend who was raised as an orthodox jew and was a secular jew as an adult. He married a red haired irish woman... who had died before we became acquainted with him. He always did a saint pats dinner, both in her honor and because he was a believer in.. celebrations. Again before we'd met him, he'd had a pbs program on that. My husband and I had irish heritage so I'm sure we added a tad of the green to the table seating.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:05 pm
I intend to have my joy this year, as every year. The human spirit needs holidays and aspirations for bettering life's circumstance. I compartmentalize disappointment and sorrow, separating them from my primary function of living for now in a positive way. And, so, I smile and wave, and sincerely wish one and all the best holiday possible.

He said as he voted down the thread.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:10 pm
@ebrown p,
I haven't celebrated this fire sale called Xmas in years and years. I do, however, observe the Winter Solstice. My birthday happens to fall on the day the Brits are pleased to call Boxing Day so I always feel that a celebration of some sort is in order. Besides, my ancestors celebrated what they called Yule and welcomed the spirit of Odin (or whoever) into house and hearth.

I do make it a point to stay away from malls and large department stores during this season, however. That is, literally, taking your life into your hands as one chap at a Long Island Wal-Mart discovered to his dismay this past Black Friday. Why anyone would risk this extreme peril to one's life and limb (not to mention sanity) is beyond me. I send Season's greetings cards -- but only reciprocally. One arrives, I dash one off to whoever sent the original missive. That's just good manners of which I still have a modicum left.

But, over all, brownie, I do agree with you. 'Tis the season to bring out the latent Grinchiness in me, no doubt. I've even been known to snarl and grunt, "Bah, humbug," at times. Let's get back to the old-fashioned Solstice celebration the way it was meant to be, where the children are given some home-made candy and the adults get roaring drunk. That's the true Xmas spirit -- about 90 proof.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:17 pm
@Aldistar,
That is truly sad.

Your impressions of Christmas are formed by your current job?

It can only mean that you have no personal Christmas heritage upon which to draw to counter the commercialized impressions you're, currently, exposed to.

If you are unable to look back on the Christmas mornings of your youth with uplifting delight, I am very, very sorry for you.

If you can but only chose to focus on the negative aspect of the holiday, I am even more very, very sorry for you.

There is nothing cool, insightful, radical, or honest about finding fault with the Christmas season.

To do so is the height of cynicism and entirely reflective of an impossible romanticism unrealized.

Centered within all the crass commercialism and seasonal hypocrisy is a reliably legitimate sense of communality, optimism, and joy.

Those who seek to extinguish the fire of hope and good fellowship of the season through cynicism and some false sense of truth seeking, are agents of degradation not enlightenment.

Anyone, with even a modicum of intelligence, can find the weaknesses and failings of society and its institutions, but to what purpose?







spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:18 pm
How can you hate Christmas. They give us all two weeks off work.

You can only hate what you do with it unless you're addicted to work which I'm not.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:39 pm
In the U.S. people don't take 2 weeks off.

Finn, telling someone you're very very sorry for them because they don't get into Christmas is just as bad as telling someone you're very very sorry for them because they don't want children.

In both cases you're passing judgement based on your experience, which is yours, and no one elses.

__________________

I very much enjoy the Fall and Winter, they are my favorite seasons. It just so happens Christmas happens to be in a time of year I enjoy.

If it was in Summer, my least favorite season, I'm sure I wouldn't pay any attention to it.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 05:39 pm
I think like most things we experienced during our childhood have changed dramatically in the fifty plus years since those innocent times when the holiday season wasn't as consumer-based. We "all" used to sing Christmas songs, and enjoyed the shops that had those moving mannequins in their windows that always had a huge crowd to enjoy. It was a simpler time without the rush to buy all the latest toys demanded by the children didn't exist.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 06:02 pm
@chai2,
You're simply wrong chai

dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 06:13 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:

You're simply wrong chai


Laughing
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 06:24 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
In the U.S. people don't take 2 weeks off.


Blimey!! Anybody can get rich working all the hours there are. Even squirrels can do that.

Our Prime Minister enjoins us to work harder so that he can strut.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 06:26 pm
@dyslexia,
I think he's been working with waterboy on technique...

Wink
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:08 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn wrote:

Centered within all the crass commercialism and seasonal hypocrisy is a reliably legitimate sense of communality, optimism, and joy.


This is a thread about personal feelings.

I personally have trouble seeing the communality, optimism and joy that is centered within the crass commercialism and hypocrisy of the season. I have no problem with other people who do see it-- as long as they don't insist that I join them.

Since 11 months of the year I am filled with hope and joy, I figure that no one can fault me for one month of grumpiness.

I assure you it is quite possible to have feelings of good will and happiness without the crass commercialism and hypocrisy.

Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 09:49 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
I assure you it is quite possible to have feelings of good will and happiness without the crass commercialism and hypocrisy.

Here, hear! I'm in total agreement with your original post and follow-up.

Those that are "very, very, very sorry" about those that aren't fans of Xmas, should take a prescription for their depression.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 10:56 pm
INTRODUCTION

Ive gone on many years here on A2K about my own dislike of the Xmas holidays use of forced expectations . My wife and I have found that, trying to actually volunteer and help others is very therapeutic for us . We get involved in Community services and delivering dinners and a number of things that we get assigned to (we are menials in the vast chain of community caring).
Its interesting that, we work with the CAtholic Services and , they know that we are agnostic aetheistic non-believers and , unlike the Protestant Community Service Groups, the Catholics are the most non-judgemental (weve found). The Clergy even kid around with us and jokingly argue among themselves as to whose gonna get "the credit" when we have deathbed conversions.

Christmas has always been for us when we were kids , and then , later, it was totally for our own kids. There was never really a time when "Buying our love for ach other" affected my wife and me. We totally bought our kids love instead. We spoiled the **** out of them and despite that, they turned out great.

SOME THINGS THAT OCCUR TO ME ABOUT SUCCESSFUL COPING DURING THE HOLIDYS AND THE EARLY WINTER


1. Force yourself to Get outside and observe natures time clock. Its most interesting at this time of year. The seasonal changes are so distinct because they are so few. (like there are many wild plants that actually begin to grow during this time even when the ground is frozen). HAwks and Eagles begin to nest and deer are finishing their breeding season. I love to go tracking over snow and I take frequent geology hikes to locate new sinkholes that show up during snow time.

2. Take part in a new hobby or rekindle an old one (last year I built two wooden scale models of a P38 Lightning (out of wood) and the Bluenose. This year Im getting more involved with my printing skills (aquatint, etchings , engraving. Iuse a community STAR press and its a real treat to pull a print)


3. Begin long term projects . I usually get involved in some new area of business or research during the winter. Ive been involved with such stuff as rebuilding and reoutfitting a 38+ft boat, building built in cabinets for our studios, building major furniture, doing a major off -body restoration of an old Merc Cougar XR-7, . .

3.A (as an add on)This would be the perfect time of year to start writing a book IMHO If I was so inclined and talented Id do it, but since I aint, I believe in enjoying others efforts. If I was , sy, Joe Nation, Id use this time of year and my recent circumstyances to kindle a book thats not too deep inside him.

4. Im also making serious plans to keep working but at a reduced intensity. I believe that people cannot really retire . They must maintain a fixed level of productive activity (career, job, pro bono etc). People die on average , two years after they retire. I was gonna retire at 50 if I made enough "**** you" money. I sorta got there by the time and then felt a deep "NOW WHAT" creeping up .
So I kept it up and said, " Well instead Ill retire at 60". Well Im gonna be 58 in acoupla days and I have NOOO desire to quit what Im doing. Seeing a week pass with no way to know what day it is is scary to me . Also, to see the year flash by as a tabulation of Holidays or Summers is equally scary. Im like an Irish Setter, I live in the now. I also am enough of a student that I keep re-upping my skills by CEU's and short courses and I find my services are pretty much in demand. Thos eof youse who feel, for various reasons that they are too young to begin retirement options planning, GET REAL

5. GEt involved in some really serious endeavor that can make a difference to those that follow. Im going to be teaching next semester and Ive volunteered for other really "dirty job" endeavors in the University Community. For me Im involved with a real glamorous area called " infrastructure transformation" , which is a fancy name for updating and ultramodernizing the handling of water, wastewater , trash, labwastes, toxic substances, gases, medical wastes and specimens etc etc .

Most colleges have been designed for early 20th century needs. Special handling of water and various kinds of nasty wastes were never planned for in the dim past. (Not so dim for many of us who graduated in the 1970's). SOunds really dull but to me, its kind of a kick and, we kick off a lot of work in the Interim Semesters that happn between Thanksgiving and Valentines day.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Am I going on here? sorry , Ill shut up but since this was a thread on coping (rather than accepting pity) I thought Id cast my vote with the people that Finn is feeling sorry for and posing a few things that work for us (except the writing the book thing).


However, If I hear Holly Jolly Christmas, Im gonna break some legs.



Aldistar
 
  3  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 11:23 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Short answer:

1 - I never said I had a unique insight. Nor did I claim to be cool, insightful or radical. As to honest … if I have an opinion, and I share it with someone who asked for it … isn’t honesty the way to go?

2 " My impressions of people are formed by people and how they act. I tend to see Christmas as a sort of crucible in which people prove themselves under trying conditions. Some people, unfortunately, fail the test while others pass with admirable character. My impression of Christmas itself has not changed much over the years, but my impression of the Christmas Shopping Season has changed quite a bit as I interact with more hypocrites espousing Christian love and charity who fail to act with even basic civility.

Long Answer:

Please don't say you feel sorry for me. If it's pity your handing out I didn't ask for it and I do not want it. It is not my children left alone and crying in a strange place because the parents don't want to hassle with them, I am not the one getting into fistfights over a dish set. I do not swear at the haggard person on the other side of the retail counter because 20 people made it to the line before me.

I grew up in a loving home with Christmas every year. I have extremely fond memories of decorating the tree, helping mom make the big dinners and thrilled at every little noise on Christmas Eve trying to catch sight of Santa. We never really went to church or played any active role in the religious aspects of the holidays but we did have 'Christmas'. These are the memories I am fond of, family and the feeling of warmth. If some one wishes me a merry Christmas I don't bah humbug them, I smile, thank them and wish them a good day.

I work retail in a kitchen store and spend up to 13 hours a day helping people make choices that will make their holiday season more festive and fun. I don't do it because I am a workaholic, I do it because right now it is my job and, to me, if it's worth doing it is worth doing well and as a manager I have a responsibility. Bills have to be paid and so on, besides I do actually enjoy my job for the most part. We don't get any vacation time this time of year, in fact from November 1st through January 5th we are not allowed to even have two days in a row off, ask anyone who works retail in the U.S. and you will find similar answers.

So I am not sorry for my point of view on the holiday season. Yes it is flavored greatly by my work because at this time of year my work consumes most of my life and no longer being Christian it gets tiresome " to me this is winter not the holidays. I live 5 hours drive from all of my family (who still do celebrate Christmas) and it is not possible for me to see them at this time of the year because of the way retail works during Christmas. Could I find a non-retail job and therefore not have this problem? Well, probably, but would you quit your job of several years just because you didn't get a week off for Christmas? Please.

I do not choose to focus on the negative aspects of this time of year, but I do tend to notice them when they are forcibly rammed down my throat … when I have to call the police about a 4 year old who has been left in my store for over 4 hours while his mom shopped in the mall. Her reasoning to police? She left him to play (using pots and pans and a spoon as a drum set) so she could shop without him and didn’t think it would be such a big deal. One of my cashiers reduced to tears because we ran out of a certain item that somebody wanted and they called her a lying whore. Do I think this is how everyone is at the holidays? Of course not. For every scrooge that comes in there are 20 happy-go-lucky people who are just enjoying the holiday. But if you truly believe that everyone in the world suddenly gets cheery and warms up to their fellow man just because it is Christmas then you are the one who is having delusions of impossible romanticism.

So, again, don’t feel sorry for me because I am sure not feeling sorry for myself. I have a family who loves me and a good job, albeit very frenzied this time of year. It is the most beautiful season to me and I enjoy it immensely. I go out in the fall air and work on my artwork or curl up next my fireplace with my husband and my pets. I am a peaceful person with a fire in my heart and a passion for life. Do not judge me because I don’t put on a fake smile and pretend that all people suddenly become virtuous just because it happens to be December.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 11:26 pm
@farmerman,
Me too. I cannot even look at the Holly jolly thread, no matter how wonderful edgarblythe is to me, how much I respect him, and so on.

Seethe.
0 Replies
 
Aldistar
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 11:39 pm
Oh Gods...Don't remind me of the music...the endless looping of Brittany Spears 'All I Want for Christmas' makes me want to scream.
 

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