Holidays are annoying. We stress out over them for weeks (if not months).
- What do you get for your parents and grandparents, who can buy whatever they like? And as far as I'm concerned, gift cards and certificates should be a last resort. They're rather thoughtless and impersonal.
- How do avoid feeling guilty for giving far less than you receive?
- Are we absolutely SURE we can't just skip the holidays this year?
- For a time of such "togetherness," why do we feel so alone?
So then the holiday of choice (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, whatever) comes and goes, and...well, that's about it. It comes with a bang and leaves with a whimper. Now it's time to put away the decorations, the wrapping paper, and the gifts you've received. Well, that and exchange gifts in case you got duplicates or things you'll just never use. (One year I got four waffle irons. Seriously.) Oh, and you now have cash and gift cards. If you're a young adult, there's a good chance that any money you receive gets put into bills, which is mildly depressing.
In all likelihood, you didn't actually get what you really wanted anyway...which then leads into the whole issue of materialism. Just about every holiday story and TV special revolves around the True Meaning of Christmas™, which is basically about "being together" and "family" and "friends" and gag me with a spoon already. (Don't even get me started on O. Henry's "classic" tale, The Gift of the Magi, which I maintain is one of the most depressing and annoying stories in all of English literature.) Every year we indoctrinate children (and ourselves) with all this heroic nonsense about the True Meaning of Christmas™ while simultaneously falling into the same pattern of dashing off to the mall trying to find that perfect gift. If that isn't a mixed message, I don't know what is.
Some of you may be saying, "Well, why don't you break the cycle?" I've tried. I really have. But my family made it abundantly clear that - even if I requested that money be given to charity in lieu of gifts for me - I would still end up with presents. And I'm pretty sure if I tried to opt-out I would get packages in the mail. And if I tried to send them back, I would hurt their feelings. So I gave up...my feelings about the Holidays™ are never going to be acknowledged or respected.
And by the way, every year TBS runs A Christmas Story in a loop for 24 hours or so...24 hours of Red Rider BB guns and "you'll shoot your eye out!" I have a gift idea for next holiday season...someone please collect all the copies of that insipid movie and destroy them. That would be the best gift I could ever receive.