There was a time when the holidays, any holiday, had a certain time period that it existed. Halloween started gearing up about a week before the event. Kids got out of school the week of Thanksgiving, and that’s when everything really started feeling festive. Christmas trees went up after Thanksgiving, but shopping didn’t start until the kids were out of school again, about a week before December the 25th.
There was a sense of ease and timelessness around the end of every year. People visited other people, ate too much, but there wasn’t the frenetic activity that is experienced today. There was always more food than we could eat, but now, in some ways there seems to be excess in the name of excess. People buy more food than they cook, and who can blame them? There isn’t enough time anymore. Instead of that feeling of drifting towards Christmas and New Year’s, now there’s a race, a competition of sorts, and may the odds be forever in your favor.
Christmas stuff starts appearing in stores right after the 4th of July now. Stores that you’d normally not think of getting seriously involved in Christmas, like the big box hardware stores, devote a lot of floor space to decorations and blow up Christmas displays. All of this stuff is made in China, all of it is cheap plastic sh!t with a short life span, and none of it really means anything except some sense of excess.
Christmas used to be about decorating in a manner in which might be finished in a few hours, mostly people had wreaths or some sort of manger scene on a table, and it wasn’t unusual for the decorations to be handmade, passed down from family to family. Children were encouraged to make tree ornaments. Simple pine cones were painted and glitter might be added. Some people made crocheted items for trees. It was a time for people to come together without an agenda or something driving them to do something. Parties were casual and people drank too much, but there was never the need for anesthesia the way it’s needed now.
As kids, we knew what we wanted, and we knew what was likely, and we never really considered the idea someone else had more, or would get more, or that we were getting less. Christmas morning was fun, the gifts we received were solidly built, and rarely needed batteries. Books were great gifts, incredible and magical, as were gifts that ran off of imagination. There was a time when the wonder of a gift came from the mind of a child, not the processor inside a machine.
I cannot convey in words language strong enough to tell you how much I hate Christmas. It enrages me that China makes billions of dollars off Americans who are blindly addicted to going to Mal Wart and getting screwed out of their money in the name of predatory commercialism. I hate that children are being raised by television commercials and they’ll spend the day after Christmas on social media, immersed in a world that kills their creativity.
I hate Christmas. I hate the holidays. I grieve for the times when there was time, simply to be.