I Couldn’t Handle That
I truly dislike the so-called “Holiday Season.” It’s not that I have some horrible memories of seasons past; it’s just that I can’t get into it. For me, it’s as if someone picked a date on the calendar and declared we all had to gush about how we love each other and how wonderful we think everyone else is.
Today’s American Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, it’s just another weekday. Our Thanksgiving is long behind us, and it’s not nearly as big a deal as Thanksgiving in the U.S. seems to have become. In fact, as I was thinking a few minutes ago about how I can’t stand the “Holidays,” I found some comfort: if I were American or living in the States, the horror of widespread “phonyism” would have begun. I really couldn’t handle having TWO Christmas-like events within a month of each other! And as if Christmas hasn’t already become a farce of unbridled consumerism, its duration seems to have crept backwards in the U.S. to include the last days of November, the entire month of December, and the first few days of January.
I will be going to Moncton for a few days over Christmas. While I’m not looking forward to it, I think I finally put my finger on why I’m dreading it so. For I really am divided: It’s not that I dislike spending time with my parents. In fact, as they’re getting older, I want to spend MORE time with them.
The “thing” about Christmas within my family is that it’s a kind of obligation. We have no problem with getting together to celebrate milestones in our family’s life, or just for the sake of getting together for no particular occasion or crisis. But, precisely, Christmas is not a milestone for our family; it’s an occasion everybody else observes and that we observe just to be like everyone else. We also tend to be doers, even if that means “doing” something trivial just to pass the time as long as we’re doing it together. But from 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 to the morning of Dec. 27, there’s not a heck of a lot for us to do. So it’s not that we get on each others’ nerves over Christmas as much as we’re forced to do things we don’t consider particularly constructive.
I remember how horrified I was as a kid when a friend of the family used to call Christmas “just another day.” But now that I’m in my late 30s, I’d desperately love to have a just-another-day Christmas. I’d probably take the day off work, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to fill every minute of the day with something “exciting,” or “loving” or “heart-warming.”