I really wanted to write a post about the holidays, and I have one in the works, but then this occurred to me and I decided to go with it.
If you know me well (or read my post from last year, After the Season), you know that I hate the holidays.
And I mean the secular and Christian holidays ranging from Late November to January 1st, possibly stretching to February 14th. (Or in my case, March 23rd, my birthday.)
Because nobody cares about any other holidays.
Not like Easter or anything, the high holy days of the church year.
On that note, let me jump into the reasons to hate the holidays.
One, it would make you more like me. Obviously a plus.
1. They’re Exclusive
Not in the sense that they have a bouncer and if you’re not on the list, you don’t get in.
More like they don’t account for many major holidays of religions other than Christianity and secularists — you know, those who celebrate secular holidays.
“The holidays” means Thanksgiving, (Christmas Eve?), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, (New Year’s Day?), perhaps Valentine’s Day.
Really only three obvious holidays, yet they get all the attention.
There are so many other holidays throughout the year, but we only know about secular ones (Independence Day, Thanksgiving, maybe Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day) and easy Christian ones, i.e. Christmas.
Easter involves looking at your sins and repenting and doesn’t involve so many presents, so obviously it’s less popular.
So this “holiday season” is bullshit.
2. The Majority are Secular
Nothing against secular holidays. I enjoy an excuse for a day off as much as the next person. But warm fuzzy feelings for Christmas get extended to Thanksgiving and New Year’s, which are not religious holidays.
But the real offense is that Christmas has been made a secular holiday. NO. IF YOU’RE AN ATHEIST YOU DON’T GET TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS.
I won’t even say non-Christian because I believe it’s ultimately the same one way or another — but if you don’t believe in God, you don’t get to celebrate religious holidays. But so many do, like my brother, who quite enjoys Christmas, and it just reinforces how secularized Christmas has become.
I celebrate Christmas purely as a religious holiday. I buy gifts because I genuinely enjoy giving to others and seeing them happy (ideally). But I don’t need gifts or decorations or (ick) Christmas music to celebrate Christmas.
I asked Dave if he knew what we were celebrating at Christmas and he very unexcitedly told me Christ’s birth. At least he knew what it was.
But most people don’t care that it’s (what the Church says is) Jesus’s birthday.
The fact that so many people celebrate Christmas and yet don’t give a shit about the religious aspect really does bother me. Instead it’s a time where you have to see family, get to eat obscene amounts of food (second to Thanksgiving), and get presents.
That’s not what it’s about!
But that’s all that people care about. And it deeply troubles me.
It’s become about shopping. Hell-to-the-fucking-no.
As I hinted at above, “the holidays” seem to be more about an excuse to overindulge than anything else.
Thanksgiving isn’t about giving thanks. It’s about stuffing your face as disgustingly full as you possibly can before passing out.
Christmas isn’t about Jesus being born. It’s about buying — and obviously more importantly, getting — as much stuff as you can. Plus eating a shit ton of food.
New Year’s isn’t about…what the hell is New Year’s about anyway? A new year. Big whoop. But we make it about partying, drinking, kissing, proposing, resolutions we’ll never keep…but I’ll get back to that.
Even Valentine’s Day isn’t about any of the St. Valentines (there were a few). It’s not about martyrdom, but couples and flowers and chocolate.
But we overindulge on fancy dinners and such, so…
Hopefully you get what I’m saying.
4. Nobody is Serious about their Resolutions
Has anyone ever been? Seriously? My resolution was to “get a boyfriend” years in a row. Never happened. Not that I didn’t try.
“Get published” was also on there a lot. Except for this blog (ha) it never happened.
I’m not sure if I ever bothered with “lose weight.” I just kind of start diets as soon as I realize I’m fat.
In fact, that’s how I go about all changes in my life. They happen when they need to. Or rather, they get attention when they’re due. Not after some arbitrary starting point.
Aside from how dumb it is to feel obligated to make some change, it makes it even dumber that nobody even sees them through.
Your diet will fizzle out, you’ll burn out on your new work out, your new “destressing” method with die on you, and instead of being a nicer person, you’ll be tearing apart your friend behind their back before you know it.
Last year my friend’s resolution was to have sex with someone other than her fiance. Um…I guess she did it, except he made out a lot better than she did.
Anyway, it’s just silly. Each day is a new day. You don’t need an entire new year to make a change.
Also just don’t stuff your face so much during November and December and you won’t need to resolve to lose weight.
5. Working in Customer Service
I will likely (hopefully) never have to work in customer service again, but when I did, even at CVS, I hated Black Friday. I hated the whole holiday season.
The volume of customers skyrockets, first of all, especially before or on holidays. WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE IN CVS AT 10:00 CHRISTMAS MORNING? WHY DO YOU WAIT UNTIL NEW YEAR’S EVE TO PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTION?
I admit I went shopping the day before Thanksgiving and I felt guilty about it. I also went out for Black Friday shopping…and felt terrible about it — but I didn’t actually buy much; it’s mostly to people-watch and do something different rather than actually shop.
But at least I’m always nice to customer service people (unless they give me an attitude first) because I know it sucks.
Aside from the number of people you have to deal with, their mood generally plummets. They’re not happy that 2,487 other people waited until the last minute to buy something, just like them, and so they’re miserable about it and blame you, the cashier.
They’re unpleasant, impatient, and ready to fight you on prices and sales.
Customer service sucks anyway; during the holidays it’s hell.
So be nice to people working in customer service. Especially during the holidays. They’re not there to be shit on.
6. Christmas Music
GAH. I hate Christmas music so much.
Not Church-y Christmas music, but the shit you hear on the radio.
It’s all just terrible. The classics aren’t even that good or catchy. I just don’t get it.
And then there’s the renditions of the classics by contemporary artists, plus the “new” Christmas songs by contemporary artists.
Those are the worst. Why? The classics (are bad enough and) don’t need to be redone over and over again, nor do we need your version (or album of versions) of “Christmas” songs.
The exceptions are “The Christmas Can-Can” by Straight No Chaser and “Merry Christmas From the Family” by Montgomery Gentry.
Otherwise, it’s all just terrible. I don’t understand why entire radio stations are devoted to it.
I like money, and I need money. So I hate giving it away. Sure, I donate to worthy causes every so often and give to the church every now and then, but I need my money. I’m poor.
So I hate how this “season” preys upon the sudden and transient good nature of humans by asking them for money.
No matter where I go, someone has a bucket or a bell they’re ringing and as fiercely as I try to avoid eye contact they find me anyway and try to strike up an interaction, I rarely carry cash, so often I decline. Even when I do have cash (in small bills) on me, I awkwardly decline.
I’m sorry, if I’m going to give you my money simply because you asked, I want to know something about you and to know my money is going to something I care about.
It may be dumb, but I’d rather donate to take care of cats than a random charity…so here’s a story (that actually makes me cry) about how a cat sanctuary in Aleppo (which I’d known about previously) was bombed. A French organization manages its donation, but I haven’t yet figured out how to donate. Here are two links; the second contains a link to the organization.
No joke, I cry every time I read about it. Those poor cats. Cats…
I emailed them to ask how to donate. They got back to me and gave me this link: http://email@example.com
But I’m still not sure how one makes a paypal payment by email…I’ll figure it out.
Because I’m serious about this. Because they didn’t ask me to and also it’s for cats.
Cats have never been assholes to me. In fact, they help me deal with asshole humans.
Dave criticized me for donating to Syria when there are Americans in need (not that I see him donating). Oh well.
Anyway, I hate being asked for donations because most often I decline because most often I don’t care…or don’t have appropriate cash on me.
7. It’s Cold
I wanted to make a pun about hell freezing over and how the holidays are hell but it’s also cold (at least in North America), but it just didn’t make sense.
Anyway, at least in the northern hemisphere, it’s cold for the holidays. Aside from the lack of mosquitoes, the cold sucks. The holidays occur in the cold. Therefore, by association, the holidays suck. Well, it certainly detracts from the possibility of enjoying the holidays.
I can’t deny that I rather enjoy getting gifts, and I honestly enjoy giving gifts even more…but I don’t enjoy buying gifts.
I also don’t enjoy wrapping gifts. Like it’s horrible.
And I don’t much care for being asked what I want.
Also I hate how it’s not acceptable to ask for money or bills being paid or buying my food for me as a gift. Because as an adult, these are the things I want — nay, need.
It also really kills me when someone gets me a gift — and they really tried and really think I’ll like it — and it’s not something I’m really excited about, never see myself using, or just…don’t…like.
Like my mom gave Dave a Christmas list to get for me using her pension money, and he let me in on two of her ideas to see if I really wanted them. One was towels with the Dodge logo on them, and the other was wine glasses.
It made me wonder what else was on her list, but he assured me I’d like all of it — aside from that one time he’d told me I’d hate all of it.
But I don’t really need a set of towels, and if we’re going to do a “Dodge” theme, there are other things I’d much prefer.
And I don’t need a set of wine glasses, because it’s not like I drink with anyone else. I have a mason jar I used to use, and a wine glass from the Apple and Wine Festival. I don’t know; I just don’t need them, nor would I even think of suggesting them as a gift.
Unfortunately my mom doesn’t know truck stuff, so she can’t do much there — plus I suspect Dave cornered that market for his gifts to me.
On that note, I also hate when I put a lot of thought and/or effort into a gift and the receiver is an ungrateful little asshole (ahem, Dave). At least I’ll pretend to like something and just feel bad about how I don’t appreciate it rather than make them feel bad about how I don’t appreciate it.
Except for Dave, because he really doesn’t try. I’ll have had his gifts planned for months, ordered weeks in advance, and ready to go, and he’ll struggle for ideas and pick something up on his way home. Yay…
(I also hate when people put no thought into things. He spares no expense on himself and his trucks, but for me he struggles to even think of ideas.)
He’s told me gifts that I put a good chunk of time into finding were a “nice gesture” and that I should return them to get something he liked better; he’s complained that I didn’t pay attention to what he wanted and didn’t get the right thing, he’s whined about having to go to a couple’s massage I paid for…
This year (like last year, I believe), I made a list throughout the year of things he specifically said he wanted or needed — if he got them for himself before then, fine. But I had a decent list.
For our anniversary, over a month before I had spent hours making apple pie moonshine, which Dave has been saying for our entire two years together he liked and wanted more of.
A few weeks before our anniversary he bought some from a store and said it was nothing like homemade, and he requested some from his friend a while ago and never got. I freaked out (internally) that he’d get it from him which would ruin my present, but suspected it wouldn’t happen, and it didn’t. He mentioned a few times that the “good” homemade kind has cinnamon sticks and apple chunks (and presumably, homemade moonshine). I used Everclear and no apple, so I was afraid it wouldn’t be up to par. So I gave him six quarts of homemade apple pie moonshine fearing it may not be exactly what he wanted so fuck me.
(I saved a quart for my brother and one for my aunt for Christmas, and one for my mom when she gets out.)
I was super excited to give it to him, but had a feeling he wouldn’t appreciate it.
But indeed he did like it and said I could sell it…but did ask how he’d add apple chunks to it. Really?
And, lastly, I hate how big a deal buying gifts is for the holidays. It should be about family (and perhaps God), not spending money on each other.
Hell, between our anniversary and Christmas, I’ll have spent about $450 on him in a month — and right now, I don’t even like him. Then I have my brother, grandparents, and the rest of my family, plus Dave’s mom. And I’ve spent a bit on myself (Bath & Body Works, new pants, upgraded phone — hooray for Black Friday deals).
But the holidays are less about family and more about the amount you spend on them…and others.
A natural segue.
I hate it. I mean, I enjoy a shopping trip with friends, but not shopping on a mission. My mom’s Christmas list for me for my brother involves mostly running around to different places, while Dave’s list for me could be handled online — he’s running around anyway, but I much prefer online shopping.
I dislike having to run out, feeling pressured to get something, dealing with people, lines, and so on.
People are just miserable, because, well, see above: why it sucks to be in customer service.
But like the mall is packed, cashiers are so fucking done, people are pissy as hell — and impatient — and deals only last so long.
Not fun in any way…unless you’re there to people watch.
I used to like decorating, but it’s died on me over the years. Especially now, living with Dave, and I spend most of my time in our room. Trimming the tree seems pointless, in storage I could find my manger, but not my figurines — so why bother? — Dave insists on putting up tasteless blow-ups for outside (lighted raindeer are okay, but not a balloon of Santa coming out of an outhouse; thankfully I told him Wal-Mart didn’t have this one and he didn’t see it and believed me), nobody will enjoy my family’s decorations…
Until I can be in my own home with my family, I don’t think I’ll enjoy decorating. My mom will obviously appreciate our style and traditions, and the right guy will appreciate these and also want to make our own…however weird or “blended” they may be.
Dave is more about doing his own traditions while I’m about not doing mine until I see a reason to bother. It’s not about our traditions.
I’ve always disliked the holidays, or at least regarded them as normal days, but perhaps the reason I particularly detest the holidays now is that I don’t have my family’s traditions, nor do I even have, or care to have, new traditions with Dave.
Basically I want to get them over with because I have nothing or, like, negative nothing (you know, having a cold relationship while others have warm, fuzzy, happy ones) while others have positive things. Not only do I just not care, but it’s painful.
I like traditions, but having no one to share them with is sad, and being with those who don’t care about them is downright painful.
Perhaps conversely, dealing with family around holidays isn’t always fun.
Sure, maybe you’ve missed a cousin or aunt, but in my case, I’m jealous of my cousins for looking better than me, being farther along in life than me (though that one is older), being happier in her relationship than me…I suppose I don’t miss my male cousins as much (all two of them), and I see my two aunts often, my four uncles I am/was never that close to — except for Mike, and to me his presence is always lacking.
At Thanksgiving, I heard my grandmother say (in reference to my cousin who had an MRI but was okay and my aunt saying it was dumb), “Well if Mike had gotten checked out he might still be alive now.”
It just made me sad. It bothered me a lot, actually.
Anyway, while my grandmother also instituted a no politics rule, you always have the people who bring it up, always have the person who pries too much (my one aunt once asked if my mom went to communion at church, especially since she was a divorced Catholic and whatnot), the ones you don’t talk to at all, the one you have little contact with yet try to be friendly, and so on. It’s a clusterfuck of interactions — and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s like, “Hey, they’re never around and I always am, like a good niece/granddaughter/whatever, yet they get all the attention because they’re actually around a few times a year, when I’m around all the time — no fair”…but “they’re” always in the living room napping while I’m at the table joking with my aunts (my uncles cluster in the back room).
Or you’re trying to outbake each other. Every occasion I ask myself why I bother, when my one aunt makes a plethora of desserts that get way more attention than mine — but this year I had requests for my sweet potato pie and also I know it’s a healthier alternative to anything else there.
Or you have the person like my grandfather, who likes to try to detract from holidays by bringing up my mom or something stressful/unpleasant. He sets the stage for his bullshit leading up to the holiday, perhaps by asking to “talk” later in the day or, in the case of this Thanksgiving, the week before he mentioned he thinks about my mom all the time, asked if I talked to her, said he’d talk to her more but he doesn’t know what to say…and then, the pièce de résistance, he told me Gramma fell during the week, but she wouldn’t want anyone to know. He said all this knowing I’d go and tell Mom, and then she’d email him, which she did — cute how he can orchestrate these things without ever leaving his recliner. We know that he knows what he’s doing.
So on Thanksgiving he called me back to the back room and he had printed Mom’s email to him and had me read it. Why? Cool, I know that he knows I went and talked to Mom. But even better, now he knows I know he knows I talked to Mom after talking to him.
And I generally avoid talking about her with them. But like he just has to “play” with us…like we don’t see what he’s doing. It’s so pointless you might think it’s innocent (Dave insists he’s just getting older and is hoping to reconnect before it’s too late), but that’s just the point: he can manipulate us with the dumbest stuff, which just reinforces that he can control us, like we’re puppets.
For a while after my mom was arrested, I would dread what Papa would pull on each new holiday. Now it’s more of a nuisance, but still…
Anyway, while family can be nice and even fun, often it’s a lot of stress.
12. Another Year Gone
The whole holiday season, and in particular New Year’s Eve, really marks the passing of another year. And because New Year’s Resolutions are bullshit, these holidays don’t prep us for a new fun year full of positive change and self-growth. No. They just remind us of everything we didn’t get done this past year.
Let’s see, I got into RPI and diagnosed as bipolar and added two more cats to the collection. Plus I got a truck and a new car.
But my mom is still in prison and drives me crazy with her craziness and stresses me out from time to time, particularly over Christmas and gifts, I still don’t feel like I have a home, my grandparents still stress me out and try to manipulate me, I haven’t lost any weight (even though I’ve been trying all year), Dave and I are no better (and are perhaps even worse) than we were at this point last year, we still fight regularly or even more (and worse), we’re definitely no closer to getting engaged, he’s still jerking me around on the topic of engagement, and I still feel like he cares more about his truck(s) than me.
So much hasn’t changed. Do you really need to remind me how my life has largely gone nowhere in the past year?
So I’m a step closer to the career I want, and I suppose I could say I have a decent job and a good deal with RPI. I also own more cats than I did at this time last year, and that’s obviously a good thing. The truck is also good, but my car came at the cost of my beloved Ferdinand.
But I’m no closer to having a “home” (as opposed to a house) or having a family (i.e. getting engaged for the time being). I’m no closer to being at the weight I want, I still drink a lot of wine (not that I really wanted to cut back…), I’ve basically abandoned all hobbies but this blog and hiking (when I can)…
Whether or not this lack of change is my fault* or not, I don’t need to be reminded of it.
*I did try to lose weight and my doctors couldn’t figure out why, nor were they very helpful; Dave also doesn’t seem to care to fix anything with us nor move forward, and I can’t do all the work; bipolar may have affected my ambition to keep up with hobbies; a lot of other things beyond my control have to come together before I’ll ever have a home again…so, maybe not all my fault.
People around the holidays just suck. People like Dave* get super into the holiday spirit and are annoying as fuck. Like stop being so happy and altruistic; you’re miserable little bastards the rest of the year. Just keep doing that instead of being fake nice for a few months. Like Holden Caulfield, I can’t stand phony people.
Especially when they’re fake in a way that makes me want to vomit and also possibly slap them.
This post is meant for these people.
*While Dave does insist on playing Christmas music, the other night he admitted he’s just not in the spirit this year — he doesn’t even want a tree, but it would be my first year without one which makes me inexplicably sad. But it’s nice to see the non-cheery Dave I fell in love with two years ago (and consequently fell out of love with); I know that “being in the spirit” bit wouldn’t last.
14. People (Again)
On the flip side, people also become incredibly grouchy during the holidays. Scrooges, Grinches, whatever you want to call them — they’re the people who are horrible to customer service.
And then there’s the type of miserable person who’s selfish and will run you over to beat you to a Black Friday sale.
Me, I’m consistently misanthropic, always a delightful curmudgeon.
But for many people, holidays either bring out the painfully forced best or the absolute worst in people.
This may be a bit redundant, but the holidays come with stress. Cooking, shopping, dealing with people and family (not that family aren’t people), hideous music, and so on…the holidays just make life more stressful than it has to be. I know you all know what I mean. Nobody freaks out over Independence Day or Easter. It’s the holidays that make people crazy.
And this list is why I want none of it.