Christmas Traditions

Something about Christmas makes me feel icky. Or is it something in me that makes me feel icky about Christmas?

Mixed feelings make their way through my psyche in the days leading up to the holiday. I haven’t bought my loved ones enough gifts. What gifts could I give them to show how much I care? Am I a jerk for accepting their gift in the first place, when I know they could spend this money better elsewhere? Does that make me ungrateful? There’s a part also that sees the Black Friday crazies who shove and claw at each other to get the best deals and cringes. The whole thing just doesn’t sit well.

I’m wondering whether I’ll do Christmas when I’m older. My answer is currently yes. But I might put a cool spin on it. If I have children, maybe I’ll let them open a gift each day of December or something. I’ll be creative. Why not?

You may think I’m missing the “true meaning” of Christmas, which is, in your mind, spending time with loved ones. I don’t need a holiday to remind me to do that. It seems stupid that anyone should need a holiday to remind them to do that. And is one day a year really enough?

Maybe you think the “true meaning” of Christmas has something to do with Jesus Christ. I will not waste time commenting on that.

The sentiments underlying the holiday seem genuine and pure and good enough, but the way they’re packaged is what bothers me. Love and giving and togetherness—those are three really cool things, whether you do them at the end of the year or at any other time.

It would hurt me financially to move Christmas to July, but it seems like it would be a lot of fun. No one would be expecting a present from me and then boom! a package shows up at their house in the middle of summer.

I know of a few examples in popular culture where characters meddle with the traditions of the holiday season. They are always portrayed as being at least slightly insane. Like George’s dad on Seinfeld with Festivus, or the mother from Almost Famous.

To me, it doesn’t seem that insane. Updating our traditions can make them better. I’m not exactly sure what I’m proposing by writing this. I just think rigidity, especially where tradition is concerned, leads to much more harm than good.

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