I don’t really like the Christmas season: I used to love it as a child of course, with my parents fueling the excitement artfully (and mind you, in communist Poland that was no small task): hunt for the Christmas tree, the ornaments, the food and other traditions – and the presents, of course.
But as I grew older and more observant, the season became less pure and more strained. The wonderful Christmas feast of twelve (12, yes, literally) dishes meant my Mom spent days in the kitchen making all that delicious food, yet I was not allowed to eat any of it because “it was meant for Christmas”. Then on the date I had to stuff myself silly and “try everything” while trying to wish all the best to extended family I barely knew or, which is worse, knew well enough; no, I do not want to wish you all the best, you’re an alcoholic and you beat your wife, I hope you drop dead… And then my Mom would continue stuffing me with food for the next 3 or four days because “there is so much food and you should not let it grow to waste”.
At least when I was little, Christmas was not so commercialized in Poland. I mean, it would be hard to insist the populace is to celebrate the season with unlimited consumption if there was nothing to buy… But of course that changed and nowadays we are meant to switch directly from buying witches costumes and fake spiderwebs for Halloween (not a native polish tradition by the way, we celebrate All Hollows Eve as a time of contemplation and remembering our deceased family and loved ones) to preparations for Christmas. And then there’s the pressure to “buy the perfect gift”, because of course you can only prove your feelings by buying stuff.
Well, how about no. I refuse to live by a calendar, especially by a consumption calendar. I will not run around like a headless chicken trying to find presents because the Earth made another circle around the Sun, as measured from an (almost) completely arbitrary point in space. If I know someone I care for could use a gift, I will gift them regardless of what combination of numbers is displayed on the calendar.
Same goes for Valentines, by the way. “The day you have to show your love”, good grief. If I love someone, I love them every day of the year and definitely not by buying useless trash decorated with red depictions of buttocks…
Thus, there it is. I don’t like Christmas though I do appreciate the days off and the fireworks at the end (and no, I do not yield to pressure to have the best party either).