Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of The War On Christmas

One word, if you would, that describes a certain feeling. Directed inward, the feeling of fighting off an icepick lobotomy that’s already half an inch in and scratching the bone, one sharp motion away from excising your ability to care about what you’ve just lost; outwards, the feeling that comes from watching an old girlfriend stagger out of a crack house and proposition a stranger, sad and helpless and seeing something you loved polluted and too far gone to help.

I don’t think it has a name, but bear with me here.

We’re well into December, so the radio stations of the world are taking their annual break from the nonstop rotation of crappy music about how great love is to spend a month playing even crappier music about how great Christmas is.

I hate Christmas.

I’m late to the game here, of course; the spirit of rabid, unfettered consumerism was let off the chain a month ago, to wander the psychological detritus of a week-long sugar binge and prey on the weak, unsuspecting or merely kind. Today, Halloween is frightening only for the mental onslaught that dawns the very next morning, remorseless economics declaring it cheaper to take the plastic bats out of the rafters and install the plastic elves all at once. The storefronts change colors before the last leaves and the spirit of Christmas is once again slapped around and sent out to the walk the street corners and make some money.

You grow up, and your parents stop putting change under your pillow for your old teeth or hiding Easter eggs, but for some reason Christmas never seems to go away. I don’t really wonder why that is, but I wish I did.

I can remember a time when Christmas made me happy, giddy even, but I can also remember why it made me happy, and it’s not something I’m proud of. Not because of family or friends, because (of extraordinary fortune, I know) I already had all that. Just because I was getting a bunch of stuff. Nowadays I have the luxury of not really needing stuff, and I’ll be the first to admit that this is no small luxury, but having the sense to know what I don’t need is something I’m even happier with.

The friends and family, though, that used to be background noise; excusable, I suppose, in a too-smart middle-class white kid who’d never gone without either, but what do you fit into the the gap between excusable and forgivable? Contrition, possibly? These days, all I want for Christmas is to sit around a table or three with friends and family, eat some good food and drink some good drink. Maybe get something small for the smaller members of the various clans, just ’cause. But what I’d really love is to be left the hell alone for the two-month run-up, to make my decisions in peace without the annual commerce-orgy harbinger-bells piped out of every speaker, flashing on every screen and plastered on every flat surface available, because all that does is bring back my feeling without a name.

What I want, I guess, is what Christmas is supposed to be; I just hate what it actually is.


  1. John
    Posted December 12, 2006 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I’m with you on this one – with the added caveat that I could happily go the rest of my life without ever hearing any Christmas music, ever again.

  2. Posted December 14, 2006 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Dear sleepless for Santa song,

    I understand the intensity of your feelings, but think of your heart slim shady, before you get all seasonally crazy.

    I dislike my own social inability around this time of the year. But to me it seems our common solution translates into a message that also says :

    “Hell-o jello bear, I, like you am mildly autistic. Please don’t touch me awkwardly. Instead, I will hold up my hand and display five fingers. In my other hand will be something shinny, I will throw it beside you. If you do the same, by common agreement, it means, we love, acknowledge, and wish each other a happy Christmas”

    If it helps, think of it as helping us, the mildly autistic, through a difficult time.

  3. Mike Hoye
    Posted December 14, 2006 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Londo: “If the Narns all stood together in one place and hated, all at the same time, that hatred could fly across dozens of light-years and reduce Centauri Prime to a ball of ash! That is how much they hate us.”

    Sinclair: “You don’t have to respond in kind.”

    Londo: “Of course we do. It is a natural law. Physics tells us that for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. They hate us, we hate them, they hate us back. And so, here we are. Victims of mathematics.”

  4. Posted December 17, 2006 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear sci-fi enthusiast,

    You made me cry.

    There is nothing false about Christmas as a social industry like: fashion, tourism, florists, music, prostitution, narcotics or cooking. As such, it offers a broader range of public appeal. Elite social purists, like you, often feel superior about your particular rituals, and you have reason to do so. But think, it’s Christmas, is this really a time to be focusing on these hateful urges you have? I think you need a hug.


  5. Mike Hoye
    Posted December 17, 2006 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Rather than taking the time to rebut your very-obviously wrongheaded assertion, I will merely take satisfaction in having made you cry. Thank you. My heart grew three sizes after hearing that.

  6. Posted December 18, 2006 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s been a week, and I’m still hearing Christopher Plummer read that title.

  7. Posted December 19, 2006 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I find that Santa Rampaging will, if not outright restore your holiday spirit, at least modify it into something else that you can then cherish in its own way.