Yesterday on ATV’s suppertime news/lifestyle magazine Live at 5, the lead segment was all about those who were either unable to go home for Christmas or without family and friends to celebrate. One kernel of so-called wisdom that was offered was that no matter what, don’t spend the day alone. The underlying assumption is that it’s impossible not to feel sorry for yourself if you find yourself alone on December 25, and that it is a day you simply cannot choose to be anti-social unless there’s something terribly wrong in your head. You have to have a good time on that day. You can’t just spend that day like any other. But to me it begs the question, “Why the hell not?”
People go on and on about how horrible peer pressure is among teenagers. But when it comes to Christmas, societal pressure to conform is many times worse and, moreover, not called out for what it is. This year I’ll be calling family because Christmas still matters to them, but I’ve already assured them that I’ve chosen to have a super-low-key Christmas this year and no one is to feel sorry for me because I’m actually looking forward to it.
It sure beats the crap out of the year when my brother tried to calm his kids anxious to open their gifts by leading them into singing “Happy birthday, Jesus.” At that point I just didn’t know if I should shoot myself or go bowling.
Am I cranky? bitter? the new Schrooge? Not at all! What bugs me is how systemic the hype is.
Mind you, I do recall how horrified I was as a kid when a friend of the family declared that, to him, “Christmas is just another day on the calendar.” The kid that I was simply couldn’t comprehend holding such an attitude. But the adult in me does.