Christmas is here. And it has never sucked so hard.
My hatred for Christmas is coming on quite strong this year. There are just a few more days before the day itself arrives. In the meantime, painful visits with family occur, along with spending way too much money on gifts for people you don’t like.
I can’t pinpoint when Christmas was ruined for me, or how it was, but I think it has something to do with the myth of Santa being dispelled, and the mounting number of dollars I was spending each year on my parents, my sisters, my friends, and any small children my parent’s pressured me into “gifting.”
But at that age, I suppose Christmas was awesome. Christmas kicked ass. Breakfast was chocolates that came out of a stocking, and you got to play with a stockpile of brand new toys all day long – Not to mention the excitement of a fat man in a red suit jumping down your chimney.
You know what magic is and what it can do, but as a child, Santa Clause is the only person in the world you know of, that can use it. You have witnessed the magical act of Christmas morning suddenly appearing before you. It is more than just presents under the tree. Their appearance is magical, and the aura of the living room, with it’s Christmas lights left on from the night before, is beautiful. It’s no wonder why kids get so excited; at that age, magic is real.
I remember when I was told the truth about Santa Clause. The look on my Mom’s face, and the tone in my Dad’s voice told me everything I didn’t want to know. Magic was not real. I would never become an astronaut or slay a dragon; Santa Clause did not exist and magic was stuff for little kids. My childhood grew a cancer then, and over the years, it slowly died.
Christmas was still a good thing even after I KNEW. Santa was a load of shit, and I gave my parents knowing winks during the ceremonial unwrapping of presents. It wasn’t until I actually had to pay for other people’s presents that I started to realize the brutality of the holiday season. The simple letter to Mom or Dad wouldn’t suffice. Nor would the “FREE COUPON FOR A BACK RUB.” I had to buy things now. With real money. And my parent’s weren’t going to give me that money.
At first the presents I bought were cheap: necklaces, stuffed animals, a hat, etc. But after a while, they became more and more expensive, and I became more and more broke.
There is no joy in Christmas shopping. Most guys will tell you that they try and accomplish all of it within a 24 hour time frame. My general idea of a mall trip is similar to a tactical military insertion: Snatch and Grab. Any loose ends can be tied up along the way, ie a pair of ear rings for your girlfriend and the damn batteries for whichever useless electronic you bought at Radio Shack.
This is not how things get done though. At least not for me. I may own a Kindle, I may enjoy my vanilla soy lattes and even wear a sporty looking Columbia all weather jacket, but I am by no means a modern mall-going man. The mall does something to my brain that causes massive panic. It is an overstimulation of all my senses. To put it lightly, the moment I enter a mall, I feel like vomiting rainbows.
My idea of a Snatch and Grab is destroyed by the overpowering mind fuck of the mall. It has an extraordinary smell to it. This isn’t just during Christmas, but all times of the year. The thick smells of fried things drenched in sugar, body odor, cologne wafting out of Aeropostale, rubber and plastic MADE IN CHINA, chemical fragrances of janitorial cleaning supplies. It all swirls into the nostrils in one smell known as shopping smell.
To the ears and eyes, the mall is no less overwhelming, though it is less pleasant. It’s constant loop of Christmas music is a terrible thing to have to listen to again and again, but when it is combined with a plethora of screaming children, angry parents, annoying teenagers, and a disgruntled Santa Clause, the sound is unbearable. One thing I cannot stand is all the noise, noise, noise, nosie! Just like a little speck of Las Vegas landed on your hometown from outer space; it is just a giant neon sparkle, blinding in every direction and labeled with the very worst of consumerism.
So, with sweat rolling down my forehead and an expression of utter terror on m face, I leave the mall with less than my very soul I walked in with. The mission a complete failure. My dignity and faith in humanity stripped.
This is adulthood, I suppose. The days when your physical prowess defined adulthood are long gone. Hell, the days when toil and labor defined adulthood are gone. Adulthood has become a commercial thing now.
I long for the day, when I can safely exile myself from my family (with diplomatic immunity), and pretend like Christmas no longer exists. Or at the very least, keep my money in my bank account and enjoy the holiday in other ways. Being secular doesn’t leave much room for me to be a good Christian, but I appreciate it still, and it is possible to celebrate love, good will, and happiness without losing your mind or all of your money.
Until then, Bah Humbug.