I hate Christmas.
Not because I hate the actual religious holiday itself, I have a great respect for the teachings of Jesus Christ and admire him as a prophet who favored love over hate and tried to teach the world lessons that stood the test of time till this very day.
Not entirely because of my version of the ‘holidays’ either, which since about 1988 or so, consisted of either working every holiday only to seethe with jealousy serving people who got to go home to family and friends while I got to go home to an empty space or sitting alone in said empty space nine times out of ten.
Those feelings might have indeed escalated my disdain for the day, it is never easy to be on an island when everyone else is on the main land, laughing and cheering and receiving kinship.
It is because in today’s world we have taken the date of the birth of a great prophet and turned it into a marketing ploy. Granted they have stuffed the free concept of love in six dollar ‘Hallmark’ cards on Valentine’s Day (which guys you better buy something or pay for it later-brilliant marketing I give you that) and turned almost every other major Western holiday into a candy makers wet dream, but for Christmas they turn the dials up to eleven.
Searching for the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’ is easy but difficult, as it is rightly a religious date of importance for those of that faith. If we were to break it down simply for the current generation with their love of quick and easy messages, it is essentially ungrudging love and the joy of man.
So please, tell me quickly, where is the love in this:
Or the joy in this:
God help us when the zombie apocalypse arrives and the food runs out if we do this for flat screen TVs and whatever the hot kids toy is this year.
Granted, prior to 1988 I too got to have the whole ball of wax: Presents, gatherings and a certain aura that gave you the sense as a child that the day was outside the norm and quite special.
However, like most things today Christmas is only a shadow of it’s former self. That is not to say that some people do not still get the real meanings but if we look at the above examples it seems most of us equate love and peace with plastic over expensive baubles made thousands of miles away in places most of us in America or other Western cultures have never even heard of.
(And don’t get me started on the poor souls who made your Christmas sweater for slave wages)
Somewhere every year there are men is suits crowding around those same Black Friday reports and laughing like fat pigs because we give them our very souls for the latest tawdry crap to prove our ‘love’ for those closest to us.
It’s gotten so bad that some major retail environments (I am looking at you Wal-Mart) force workers to work on the holidays or face the holiday terror of going home and telling their family that they are unemployed and may be homeless come New Years Eve.
And then they twist the original messages revolving around love and faith and blast them into the social conscious, using them to sell a product. This is the worst form of prostitution in our modern times.
Suicide rates go up as this message encompasses the masses, people with nothing are confronted almost every minute by the fact that these things are not for them, they do not have enough people or funds to feel this time of ‘joy and peace.’
Social media makes this even worse, with people replacing their fake selfies and artistic shots of their lunch with pictures that would make Norman Rockwell blush because it is just too perfect to be true.
I know, because I remove myself from social media every year from just before Thanksgiving till just after New Years.
Sadder still is the fact that some of these happy picture takers are not really happy at all. They are stressed by Uncle Jim who won’t stop talking about how Aunt Millie is a wretch who has owed him money since 1977, fighting through the war zones of retail shops or causing an ulcer trying to make the ‘perfect’ holiday that beats out the Jones’ next door.
Which is ironic…if they wanted to know how to make the perfect Christmas they should have enlisted the help of one of the poor souls who go without.
They (or rather we…damn writing voice) could tell you we would be happy with the simplest of things; A smile, a voice or just some Human warmth and compassion to combat the cold embrace of a Winter’s night.
Now, let’s back up here for a second and if you have your torches and pitch forks out, don’t lite em’ up yet (we can later if you want, I love a good chase).
There is much good done during the holiday season. Watch the news and you will see images of homeless shelters filling up with tired souls who get a free meal and a bed, sick children who get a little well deserved extra attention and certain proper charities collect funds to help those with less.
All that is what the hell Christmas is supposed to be all about.
Thing is, why do we need a holiday to do all that?
It’s like why I hate Valentine’s Day as well. Yes, there is a bitter pill for me there as well more often then not, and if I had a partner, I would show that person some extra affection because as said, who wants to be left out?
However, I am more likely to think a single rose given on an average rainy Tuesday in April when your lover has had a rough day is miles above giving out a gold necklace on some pre-planned day in February.
But that’s just it.
WHY are we only drinking the Kool-Aid of love and peace when the calendar says we have to do so? Shouldn’t we be practicing the teachings of Jesus, (especially if he resides in your heart and your faith) three-hundred and Sixty-five days a year?
I’m writing this in early November and while people still have pumpkins on their steps and Halloween candy in their kitchen, the marketing beast has already begun it’s onslaught.
It’s coming for you..and you thought October was scary.
Why am I a Grinch each year? Because it increasingly seems you really do need your tags, packages, boxes, bags and Roast Beast.
Time for peace, love and joy, brought to you by Pepsi.
NOTE: Some of you wonderful people probably already do follow these principles and have actual faith in your religious beliefs.
To you I apologize and thank you for being real in a world of fakery that would have made Houdini blush.