I’ve decided next year, when Christmas comes around, I am unplugging the television, locking it in a cupboard and swallowing the key.
As I’ve grown up over the years and very much discovered myself to be a firm atheist, Christmas has become one of those tricky areas to navigate. I generally don’t have a problem acknowledging that I, like most of the worlds population, and without a doubt a massive hypocrite, and do hold beliefs that when examined closely tend to contradict each other. However, when it comes to christmas, I take the ground that I like the time with my family and friends, I like getting some pretty new things and I like giving them just as much, I like the way the holiday makes people think that they ought to put aside their douchey differences and actually tolerate each other, I like the yummy food and the gradual demise into inebriation over the course of the day, and I like how everyone feels the need to consume vast quantities of chocolate. A 2011 year old zombie jew has nothing to do with it (Thank Tim Minchin for that call.)
What I despise is the songs, the religious bigots, and the shitty as fuck smarmy cheesiness that gets coated over EVERYTHING.
What I hate more is how this shitty as fuck cheesiness somehow embodies “what christmas is all about” and somehow people feel the need to get actively involved in this shit in order to have a decent christmas. It pisses me off something proper.
Like, for example, my mother insisting that we all sit down and watch the carols together. There are several issues with this. Number one, my aforementioned hatred of all tunes christmassy. Number two, the fact that on any given day of the year, we don’t watch television. So one by one, out come laptops, books, phones, and cynicism, as the ‘family bonding time’ becomes a sit-in-the-same-room-and-ignore-each-other effort.
Number three. The televised carols are… ugh. Why why why can no popular singer just sing the fucking melody? Why does every freaking charts topper feel the need to cram as many notes into a single line as they can? Just sing the damn song! I don’t care if you feel like getting fancy here or there, but every single fucking line doesn’t need to show off every single fucking note of your fucking vocal range!
I hate the televised carols, I hate the commercials with smiling plastic TV personalities giving a deep and heartfelt merry christmas to all their loyal viewers, I hate the shitty cash cow christmas specials and I hate the surplus of shitty christmas films. You can call it grinchyness, or being a dumb cynic, but there is one more very good reason for having an extreme dislike for all of these things and wishing I could get rid of the television and the crappy songs and the cheesiness.
Because, as someone who already has difficulty getting into a christmassy mood, these things make me want to avoid it altogether. I feel dirty, letting in the cheese and oh-so-sentimental tripe. It’s like taking everything I like about christmas and making it cheap and meaningless. Like none of this is genuine, it’s all just what is expected.
That’s the word I’m looking for. I want to be happy at christmas because I’m genuinely happy, not because I’m expected to be so. All this cheese and nostalgia, whether it’s authentic or not in carols and television land, all of it translates into my lounge room as false. And yet somehow, for some reason, all this false sentiment becomes the expectation, whether you want to or not. As a result, I can’t, for example, draw a picture of a goat on my stocking with the words “Baaaaaa-Humbug!” written on it without getting that disappointed look from my displeased family members. Despite the fact that’s the exact kind of un-funny joke I make on any given day of the year. The kind of joke that can be expected from someone who’s sense of humor is far fetches at the least and adores a good pun.
But with all this fake sentiment and ‘christmas-spirit’ I’m supposed to be feeling, all that stuff about personality and authenticity goes out the window. I want to spend christmas with my family, not a bunch of happy smiling people who are infected with the christmas bug for not reason then it’s expected.
In a family of sarcastic smart-asses none of whom believe in god and for every other holiday are able to not take it so seriously and just have a good time, Christmas is the one occasion where for some reason, we’re suddenly all expected to bring out the cheer and merriment whether we’re feeling it or not. Just stick a smile on your face and shut up. If you can’t take the cheese and sentiment seriously, just keep your mouth closed.
So on behalf of next Christmas, I say a big fat FUCK YOU to this cheesy cliché shit that we’re expected to smile about and accept as being normal because that’s what the Christmas-Fucking-Spirit dictates. I don’t buy it anymore.
So, tomorrow I’ll wear the stupid hat and put on the stupid grin and argue with my mother because I won’t sing the damn fucking carols. But next year, when the silly fucking season comes around, the cheese is out the window.