Overheard on Christmas Eve

How are you holding up as the Christmas holidays engulf us?

I ran a few errands this afternoon and people were looking quite unhappy. For all the media messages that this should be a time of cheer, I didn't see much smiling. And, with the way folks were fighting in parking lots, I didn't see a whole lot of goodwill either.

At some point, the contrast between the idealized Christmas you see in advertisements and what I was hearing on the street, made me pull out my notebook. I began writing down some of the things I overheard. How about these gems:

"I f*#&ing hate Christmas."-said by a mom shopping with her kids.

"She's such a bitch. I wish I didn't have to get her a present."-said by a young woman on her cell phone.

"I'm not buying a present for your mother."-said by a middle-aged woman to the man I assume is her husband. He merely rolled his eyes and kept it moving.

"Your aunt's a horrible cook, so why is she making Christmas Dinner?"-said by a hipster guy to someone on the phone."

"I'll probably gain 20 pounds tomorrow. I'm not eating anything."-said by a teenager to her mother.

It struck me how for so many, this is such a stressful time of year.

There's the crushing weight of materialism-the feeling that the presents you're able to give are not adequate. There's family drama. Food drama. There's feeling ambivalence over whether Christmas is a religious holy day or a secular one. There's the horrible feeling of being alone-even if you're in a house full of people. And for too many people I know who've lost loved ones, the holidays are a time of loss and sadness.

No, I'm not trying to be a downer on Christmas Eve. I'm just saying, folks need to keep it real. There's no need to pretend that all is merry and bright. If you're not feeling it, you're not alone.

Christmas can be lovely if you let go of all the false expectations, but clearly, that's easier said than done. Sigh. Hang in there. Before you know it, it'll be December 26th and Valentines Day stuff will be in stores.

As for me, I can't believe its Christmas Eve and SHOCKER, my neighbors are not having a party. That means no one will barf on me tonight. (See, there are still small miracles in the world!)


nick said…
I agree, Christmas is too full of false expectations. It should just be a time to relax, unwind and have some good food and good conversations. All the rest is mere commercial nonsense, but if you tell people you want to keep it simple they look at you as if you're some kind of social misfit. We're all supposed to go into some hysterical festive mania. Phooey.
Paulette said…
I guess my family does it right. We only buy gifts for the kids, gather at my parents' house on Xmas Eve for wine and the traditional Puerto Rican fare, let the kids open all their gifts (Santa came early because he has a lot of houses to visit) and it's always filled with happiness and cheerful togetherness. That way everyone can have Xmas morning at their place and then my brother and I can watch basketball all day today in our pjs!

Merry Christmas and happiness and love to everyone!
Liz Dwyer said…
Yep, people have to make a concerted effort to leave the false expectations and weird traditions that they don't even like behind them. So many people hate celebrating Christmas in the way that they're celebrating it, so I don't understand why not change the way you observe it. Of course, I also think that part of the problem is that it's become more presents and santa instead of the birth of christ-which it's technically supposed to be about (pagan yule festivals aside!) Sigh. And just think after the holidays comes the "time to go on a diet" numnut thinking! ACK!

That sounds much more manageable than feeling obligated to buy a bunch of stuff for everybody under the sun. Basketball in PJs sounds fab, too! :)

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