Thursday, December 02, 2004

Call me a grinch, but I really don't like the holidays.

For one, the music is terrible. At most, there's about 50 Christmas songs that they play over and over and over and over and over again. And most of them are badly written, and badly performed. And no matter where you go, they're playing there. I thought I could at least escape it at work, but my coworkers all seem to love Christmas songs, and keep asking the audience to request their favorites. And vomiting onstage is frowned upon, for some reason.

Second of all, I don't like being in crowds. Well, that means I can't go anywhere from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Everybody's shopping, and eating out, and in a really big hurry, and usually in a surly mood. Rudeness abounds while they tell you about holiday cheer.

Third, it's just so commercial. What do I buy this person? How much into debt can I go to pay for all the gifts? Have I included a card for every single person I've ever met? My dad once told me that your family is the people you're related to by love, not blood. But that certainly doesn't seem to be the case during the holiday. You're expected to treat total strangers like they're you're best friends, simply because you share some genetic material.

For that matter, the holidays are way too secular. And those that participate in the religious aspect often do so because they ignore their "beliefs" the rest of the year. As a former church musician, I always knew we'd have a packed house at Christmas and Easter. The rest of the time, the front rows were always empty.

But Santa Claus, and Rudolf, and Jingle Bells, and all that bull - that's what's more prevalent. And I'll tell you why; it's easier to sell stuff with them. When people feel guilty about God and Jesus, they give money to the church to soothe their conscience. When they feel guilty about other people, they buy them gifts. Well, your average business owner is more concerned with turning a profit than seeing how the Sunday Contributions are going.

But the worst part? You're expected to have a lover during the holidays. If you're single, people spend so much time telling you how bad they feel for you that even if you felt great before, you sure won't afterwards! Every activity is geared towards couples and families. Every movie and song is about couples and families. There's no time that you'll feel more alone than during the holidays.

No wonder depression and alcohol abuse are so rampant at this time of year!

When I was a kid, there was one good thing about the holidays. My grandmother would have a feast (usually Mexican food), and my extended family would get together. And though there were some people I didn't really know in that mix, it was usually a fun time, with lots of food, and laughter... I'd often end up playing her Steinway, and we'd just have a good time. She'd buy a lot of crap gifts, and we'd end up with bags of junk to take home... But it wasn't about the gifts.

She passed away a few years ago. Various members of the family have tried to revive the tradition, but it just hasn't worked. And that's okay - times change. But I hate the artificial nature of how the holidays are celebrated.

So yeah, I'm a grinch. But you know what? I'm okay with that. Even if I didn't like the movie with Jim Carrey.

Talk to ya later!


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