Every year when I see Christmas trees up in October, lights up on houses in September, and hear Christmas songs played in August, I want to tear my eyelids off violently, so as to drown out the premature Christmas vibe with my screams.
Maybe that is a little extreme, but actually I am growing to despise Christmas. It just seems totally overdone. It angers me for many reasons, some religious, some social, some economic, and some just out of plain-old-irritation.
I’ll start with my religious take on it. This will flow directly into some of the other reasons as well.
In Christianity, there are two holidays which people find to be probably the most important: Christmas and Easter. Both holidays have seasons preceding them, which is Lent for Easter, and Advent for Christmas.
Lent is important because it reflects the time leading up to the resurrection and death of Jesus Christ, in which many important Christian events occurred. Advent has no important days within it, it is simply a time of preparing for the arrival of Jesus, which is celebrated as Christmas. Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas, and is celebrated over those four Sundays, through Christmas Eve.
That being said, one could argue that the first Sunday of Advent is the best time to begin preparing for Christmas. How we came to celebrating Christmas by randomly putting trees in our houses, singing songs about snow and eating a lot of mint, I suppose I will never truly know. But I guess that is acceptable starting November 29, the first Sunday of Advent.
This is not to say that people who begin celebrating Christmas earlier are bad people. But it seems to me that those who begin preparing for Christmas earlier and earlier are people who care less about the actual meaning of Christmas. They are people who only care about the songs, and the decorations, and the food. Basically just the fanfare.
I don’t want you, the reader, to think I am biased about this because of my religious beliefs. I am a Christian, sure, but with any religion I feel the need to emphasize that it’s practices should be taken seriously. And we as a nation, or even a world, make such a huge deal about Christmas, when there are other religious holidays around that time, as well as those who practice no religion at all. And somehow, everyone cares about Christmas. People seem to forget that Christmas and Advent are specific to Christianity. Which is why I can appreciate when people call it the “holiday season” as opposed to the Christmas season.
Now I think the last thing Christians should be attempting to do is “take back Christmas.” God only knows that people don’t like the idea of Christians being inclusive. But I definitely find it extremely peculiar that as a society, we glorify Christmas as a time of year, and other religious holidays are forgotten about by everyone except for those who practice that religion. And it bugs me when people get mad about a cup at Starbucks not being festive enough, because they think it means the company is trying to take the religion out of Christmas. The designs on the cup should be the least of your worries if you think that people are trying to kill the religious meaning behind Christmas.
This brings me to my next point, where I will loop socialization and commercialization of Christmas together, and talk about both.
In societies where people obviously make a big deal about Christmas, it only makes sense for companies to help them make a big deal about it. You see Christmas decorations on sale at Walmart right after Halloween, because that is what people want. Starbucks begins selling mint-flavored coffee in red cups at the beginning of November, again, because it is what the people want.
I technically cannot fault companies for doing this, because they are just making smart decisions based on customer data. And living in a country that is as much of a free-market economy as we can have, companies have the rights to do this.
Beyond morality, it is simply defying the true tradition, which doesn’t really make sense. The problem with commercialization, from a buyer and seller perspective, is that neither seems to have a problem with changing tradition. In some ways, such as using Advent calendars, people will act like the tradition still means something, but in other ways, such as decorations and lattes, they completely disregard it. And for a world that thrives on tradition, commercialization does a great job of changing it, or even creating it’s own. They have the right to do so, but realistically, it kind of sucks when that happens.
Now for the last, and probably most important reason for why I hate Christmas, is because it is simply overdone.
Honestly, if you can stand playing Christmas music for 3 months out of the year, you’re quite the trooper to me. After working at a grocery store, and hearing the exact same songs, three times a day for five weeks, I hope to never hear any of them again.
When Christmas time comes, people act like being as Christmas-y as possible is completely necessary. Just like some people act like they cannot live without coffee but only get Starbucks cappuccinos, and actually have no idea what coffee really tastes like. I may or may not have written about that already (shameless plug). It is literally everywhere, and incredibly important to those who have no idea where it came from or what it is about.
I find it peculiar that we blast “Holly Jolly Christmas” nonstop, even though it has no religious or even decoration related lyrical content. It basically just says, “Yay it is Christmas time, it is the best time of the year!” Yet, we have nothing like that for any other holiday or time. There is no song that says, “Yay, summer is the best time of the year,” or, “Yay, Easter is the best time of the year,” or even, “Yay, Holocaust Remembrance Day is the best time of the year!” We just give that title to Christmas, where every year there is an iconic song, telling everyone that it is actually the best time of the year.
I don’t want to get too deep into a philosophical mindset, questioning why we do what we do, or what we are. There will be no existential crisis talk from me. Yet.
But nothing else has the level of exposure that Christmas does, and it begins to lose its true meaning. I have no problem with people celebrating the holiday season, but people equating it with Christmas should really stop and think about what it means. The two terms are synonymous, but extremely different in reality. And in that regard, we should look at them as so.
I can’t lie that I find the holiday season to be over-exposed, to the point where it just gets really annoying. That being said, I do feel better about the whole thing when it is referred to as the holiday season, instead of the Christmas season.