It starts when you walk in to Walmart one day and notice suddenly everything is orange. Aisle after aisle of all manner of orange and black. That’s when I realize what time of year it is, and what’s coming next. Halloween, being a totally bullshit holiday, makes for a short shopping season and quickly fades to make room for the red and green. Red, green, white, silver, and gold. A hideous, jarring combination of colors that would never be allowed in the same room if not for the unquestionable excuse of christmas – another bogus holiday.
Every Christmas memory of my childhood is a happy one. I’ve heard people tell stories of their christmas morning disappointments, but I have no such stories. In fact, I realized even as a very young child that my parents showered me in a ludicrous mountain of gifts I did nothing to deserve. I saw what my parents were going through running a small business, and I wondered even then how much harder all the packages marked, “Santa” were making their lives. But christmas really was a magical time for me as child. Even beyond the presents, I loved the family parties where I’d see my aunts, uncles, and cousins, I loved the music, the lights, and the food.
But that was when I was a child. I don’t know when it changed. I don’t know when I started to dread christmas. I suspect if I could travel back through time to find the exact point it might correspond closely with whenever I received my first credit card – or at least my first credit card bill. But to be clear, this isn’t just about finances – I dread the whole thing now. I’d like to simply pull the plug on christmas. For once I’d like to just go through one winter without the hideous color scheme, the fake religious holiday, the cards, the gift exchanges, the trees, the mall crowds, and the terrible movies on ABC Family.
Every year around this time I feel christmas bearing down on us and it puts me in a slump. It’s one of the few things I feel like American culture really imposes on me against my will. Christmas should have an opt-out form. Better yet, it should have an opt-IN form.
Of course, as I’m writing this we still have to get through Thanksgiving. I’m down with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is more like a dinner than a holiday. I’m not one to turn down a meal.