This weekend my wife and I spent time with some friends and I was (pleasantly) surprised to learn that one of them was a Christmas curmudgeon. For years I’d always felt like I was alone in my sentiment towards the holiday, but lo and behold there was a comrade-in-curmudgeonliness in my own circle of friends.
The life of a Christmas curmudgeon is largely spent faking it. Pretending to enjoy all the trappings, like hanging lights, trimming the tree, hanging stockings, buying gifts, etc. When our kids were little I did truly enjoy watching their excitement build in the week before Christmas, the anticipation of Christmas Eve and their sheer joy on Christmas morning. Outside of that I’ve just never liked the rest of it. The stress of gift buying, of determining where you’re going to spend the holiday, of trying not to offend family or friends if you don’t spend the holiday with them and the accumulation of small annoyances like crappy music played endlessly and people getting their panties in a twist if you say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” all conspire to cause me to view Christmas the way most people view an audit.
So it was kind of refreshing to meet someone who generally feels the same way. When it’s just you it feels like you’re abnormal; everyone else seems to love Christmas so if you don’t you must be broken or emotionally warped. I do think almost everyone gets stressed during the Christmas season, but the vast majority seem to think that the rest of season’s trappings far outweigh the stress.
Not me. I’d love to see us return to the days when it was all about the religious ceremony, the quote-unquote true meaning of Christmas, and not about the trappings of the season. Actually that might be the biggest annoyance of all – the pure hypocrisy of the people who complain about the commercialization of Christmas and then proceed to hang 8 gazillion lights around their house and buy new cars for each other as stocking stuffers.
So let this curmudgeon end on a high note: I do love the lights and I do love seeing family for any reason, so it could be worse.