MGP on Christmas
Yes, that’s what some quasi-anonymous person wrote on my food delivery carton Thursday night before I got it. Thanks! I take it a few of you in Burlington might know of me or something. Anyhoo…
I’m not what you call a Christmas person. Though, I think when some people read that sentence, they immediately and hastily jump to the idea that I hold some rabidly anti-Christian position — that, somehow, I’m going to work myself into some pointless and knee-jerk diatribe against the Great Oppressor. If I’d implied or stated anything of the sort when I was a young lad, I apologize for that well-intended but slightly misguided whippersnapper. Not because he was offensive, but because he was over-reactive.
Over the years, I’ve seen not only the herdlike behavior associated with this time of year, but more of the reasons for it. It’s clear that the crass commercialization is there and that it plays upon childhood nostalgia intertwined with greed. Unparadoxically, I both applaud and stay clear of all that. As a result of complicit social engineering, the economy is strengthened in some ways and the secular manipulation of the holiday away from its religious “roots” has never been more apparent. Whether you want to assume it as a time of giving or a time of taking, or some confused mish-mash of the two, is irrelevant. Clearly, we materialists win this one over the spiritual types.
I enjoy seeing the lines of corralled sheep, shambling into their temples of consumption, pouring their dollars into the coffers of their masters (their betters?), obeying the tenets of familial expectation and social pressure. That’s quite a commitment there. Such devotion. Such faith. Such entertainment! That most of these frail citizens are compelled by outside forces to participate in these Yuletide shenanigans — and will make any drug-addict type justification to save face — fills me with a hearty ho-ho-ho. Believe me, I share Santa’s smile.
My primary reason for not celebrating Christmas, in either its religious or secular forms, is that I feel no personal connection to it. Certainly, I recognize its practical aspects, as mentioned above. But I don’t feel it. As I shouldn’t. Christmas spirit is a thinly-veiled representation of religious faith — made acceptable in secular circles through a sort of terminological shell game. Note the same glassy-eyed fervor from those celebrants who simply can’t imagine that there are people in the world whose disinterest in Christmas celebration is absolute. You might even experience some rather manipulative browbeating from them as well. Whether it’s vocalized or merely transmitted by disapproving looks, you’ll forgive me if I don’t drink the egg nog on this one.
When I was a child in the 1970s, I would wake up early on Christmas morning and run down the stairs with a single objective: to get to the presents and the candy. Perhaps the only honesty in this holiday can be viewed from this not entirely unique occurrence. Kids know the score on this one, and the game is material acquisition. It’s ALL about getting the goods. The problem with the direct or oblique bribing of children via gifts to embrace Christian concepts later in life is that it doesn’t always work as planned, particularly in this increasingly secular 21st century. So, the kids win! The parents, duped.
Given people’s penchant for generalization, let me give you a nicely wrapped present of my own here. I don’t get my dress slacks all in a bunch when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. If that shocks you, then you don’t know me too terribly well. Obligations aside, when most people say it, I know that they are being nice and it’s a rather archaic way of saying, “I hope you have a nice time” — a sentiment increasingly devoid of any Christ nonsense. When I respond with “thanks, and same to you,” I am sincere in returning sentiment and, again, not concerned with any religious this-or-that. Of course, there will also be some bozo who, knowing my most notable affiliation, will try to playfully and passive-aggressively push the Christmas references my way. Not only is such a display of no consequence to me, it makes you look like a moron. And I know you care about both.
Last night, I feasted heartily, drank well, and shared company with intelligent and passionate individuals. Today, I will relax, enjoy the many technical splendors I’ve acquired for myself, and selfishly avoid the drama and compulsory attachment many of you have to this day. Tomorrow, J and I will imbibe and then produce another wonderful episode of Terror Transmission, and that will end a glorious and fun-filled three-day weekend.
On Monday, a few of you might tell me how broke you are now, how your presents shipped or arrived too late, how miserable your families made you, how boring and mind-numbing the church services had been, how long the drive or plane flights or layovers were, and how you’re oh-so-glad that it’s finally over. Until next year, when you follow the same pre-scripted plan all over again, and on and on it goes. Forever and ever, amen.
Yeah. I win.