Posted by PintofStout on December 27, 2005
No, that’s not a typo; it is supposed to read Chris, rather than Christ. In order to better represent what is on everybody’s minds during this holiday season, whether Christian or Jew or other: Chris Kringle. Santa. Gifts. Loot. Stuff. As Jesse Walker from reason.com writes, the war on Christmas is, and was, over and Santa has won (http://www.reason.com/links/links121905.shtml).
I know it sounds as if I’m calling everyone greedy, selfish imps, but I’m not. Even if you’re not concerned with receiving the gifts, you’re likely concerned about giving them. “What would So-and-so think if I didn’t get them anything?” “I hate buying for them, but I feel obligated.” Or we ask ourselves, “Why do we spend so much and buy so many presents when we could do just fine buying less?” Lie to yourself and say it is for the company of family and friends that we gather and feast and exchange gifts. Tell yourself that and try not to think about how regimented and mechanical the ordeal is. Why not give a gift in mid-October or early-April? Why not gather for a feast in late-January or early-September? (Well, the state-mandated holidays makes it necessary to schedule the way we do for work, otherwise we’d have to use our vacation days…gasp!).
I’m also not saying that the warm feelings we get in between the frustration, anger, and annoyance at our families isn’t nice or genuine warm feelings. They either must be real in the midst of the chaos or they are a sophisticated psychological defense mechanism enacted to keep our wits about us. What I am trying to say is why leave these possibly good feelings relegated to the same times, and only these times, every year? Are the people we gather around not important enough to feast and exchange with willingly, at random, rather than at the schedule of the State or culture, or…(gasp) commerce? (Full disclosure: I’m guilty as charged. I bought gifts, received gifts, feasted, and faced the frustration of scheduling this Christmas and last Christmas and the Christmas before that and on and on and on. I even found much pleasure in this exercise. I will probably do the same thing next year.)
So, in trying to avoid the clichéd sentiment that the peace and goodwill found on Christmas should be sustained all year, get it out of your system now, because come Sunday when your head is throbbing and you’re scowling at your family over a plate of sauerkraut and kielbasa, that will be the official end to the feel-good holiday season. The next day (or the day after) you’ll gladly return to work and normalcy and wake up knowing full well you’ll be unhappy and avoid the crushing let-down of unrealized expectations.