My feelings about the holidays are ridiculously conflicted. On the one hand I do enjoy seeing my family and doing all of the holiday traditions. I like seeing everyone happy and excited to see each other. I enjoy everyone being in a generally good mood and feeling the “holiday cheer”. However, I dislike almost everything else about the holidays.
I hate that I am expected to buy everyone else gifts and I hate just as much that everyone feels it necessary to give me gifts. (Just get me a damn gift card already!) First of all, most of my family probably shouldn’t be spending the extra money on all of these gifts, second of all I probably don’t want all of the extra stuff in my house. Frankly, if I wanted a new shirt to further clutter my closet until I finally decide to donate it to goodwill, I would go buy one myself. I really wish we could make a new rule that only children under 15 can get gifts and adults just celebrate the old fashioned way – with food and beer. The next set of parents who take out a 2k loan for Christmas gets a crisp left hook t0 the face from yours truly.
The entire holiday season has become consumerism, period. Religious or national ideals of the celebration have gone, forever. Kids think of some fat-ass at the mall they call Santa Clause and presents under their artificial Christmas tree – not Jesus. Even many of my Jewish friends have blown up their Hanuka celebration so their children don’t feel left out when all their friends come to school talking about all the cool toys they got from Santa. Thanksgiving isn’t as bad, but it hasn’t stopped the grocery stores and retailers from capitalizing. It has even become a national holiday for my family to go shopping on black friday (the day after Thanksgiving). Kids starve in Africa, we celebrate a day for shopping – something isn’t right here.
My wife has already asked me for my good graces about her spending cash on black Friday. We settled on a budget of $150 just so she could participate, but I have to say even that didn’t sit well with me. I basically gave in to avoid an argument – I also made her promise to donate a portion of it to an infant at one of those “sponsor my child for Christmas” places. It’s not that I don’t want to give people gifts and sit around with my loved ones – rather its just the whole idea people have developed. Christmas feels more like greed-day and teaching your children consumerism is somehow consciously connected to happiness.
Personally, I would be content sitting around a fire with a glass of hard cider and a big plate of food enjoying the company of family. Instead everyone seems stressed about “how they are going to afford Christmas” this year. When did buying your kid an iPad become something you have to afford? This is a form of psychosis that is only deemed normal during the month of December! It’s simple, just don’t buy the shit! Although I understand the pressure society puts on parents is enormous, we have to set a limit somewhere.
I think if I have kids one day, I’m just going to establish the idea early on that the holidays are NOT about presents, but rather about family and appreciation. Maybe I get each of them a gift or two, but make them choose a charity or something to sponsor – or maybe help feed the homeless or something. I don’t know, but I do know that I cannot tolerate the idea of spreading these consumerist ideas anymore. Sorry Santa, your fat ass in that coca-cola inspired uniform won’t work on me!