Before I get started on my rant (the first of many on this blog, hopefully), I should mention that the title (and indeed the Facebook group I recently joined which promotes the same negative message) is a bit misleading.
I don't hate Christmas. There are a number of things I like a lot about it, but the depressing thing is that most of those things are really, really shallow and vacuous. I can honestly say that being able to request things that are usually out of my range of attainability (games consoles and DVD sets) and being able to watch obscure movies that are never on during the year (Flash Gordon, Japanese Godzilla films) are the two things I like the most about Christmas.
I have a lot to say about this, so I'll split it up a bit. Stick around, you might learn something.
Usually when I say something like this, I am given the stock response of "But what about getting to see your family who you don't usually see?" (usually in a really sugary, simple voice). I have a number of responses to this. First and foremost, I am lucky in that I see most of my favourite members of my extended family all the time (namely my two grandmothers, my godmother and her family) and rarely a year goes by when I don't see at least one of my father or mother's international siblings. They usually come in the Summer, a far better, less stressful time for me to enjoy their company. So, you know, there's that.
Secondly, any of you who know me (in most regards) will know how much of a stressed-out, obnoxious drama queen I can be when I want to be. Well, imagine this side of my personality times two and you basically have the ticking time bomb of manic stressfulness that is my beloved mother and her relationship with this wonderful holiday season. Add in the fact that my father and my two brothers are the complete and utter polar opposites of my mother and I when it comes to getting things done quickly and being enthusiastic in any way whatsoever, and you have a pretty good idea why Christmas (specifically the preparation end of it) isn't ever really any fun.
Also, I see my immediate family every single day. When I go on holiday, I don't go with them anymore, I go with my best friends. They're the people I want to see at Christmas.
My mother is a wonderful cook and traditional, roast Sunday dinners with "all of the trimmings" or whatever are her speciality. So in essence, Christmas dinner is just another great Sunday dinner, for me. It's not really that much of a big deal. It's even a bit depressing, thinking of how many people around the world don't get to enjoy this basic luxury that I do.
I have literally just spent over half an hour trying to reinvent the wheel with my parents as we tried getting the cursed piece of contradictory foliage to stand upright. If you use the wire-frame, you can't water it. If you put it in a bucket, it falls over. Pointless.
Christmas Trees are an ancient Pagan celebration and are inherently un-Christian and yet every year, Bible-Bashing Catholics set them up proudly and pompously.
Granted, this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but Christmas Songs; each and every God-damn one of them, are vacuous, tortuous spells of pure evil and commercialism and I cannot stand any of them. Maybe Bing Crosby really was dreaming of a White Christmas and I'm willing to accept that on some level, Mariah Carey probably was writing her ballad for someone...but can you honestly tell me that Slade, The Darkness, Paul McCartney, Cliff "Why Won't Someone just Shoot Me, Already?" Richard or the 270 billion artists who have covered "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" care about anything other than the guaranteed extra-zeroes that are going to appear at the end of their bank balances, every year? Not to mention the damn things are played earlier and earlier every fucking year. In About a Boy (which is, by and large, my favourite film ever) Hugh Grant complains that "November the sodding 19th" was a new record for him to first hear his father's Christmas song.
This year, at work, I was sick to the back of my bottom teeth of hearing "It's Christmas Time Again," by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on November the 11th. November the 11th!
Everyone goes on about how 'Christmas is a time for giving'. Why? Shouldn't we just be giving all the time? Shouldn't we give based on a real, honest desire to treat someone rather than just to fulfill some stupid tradition?
I can honestly say that if someone bought me a Yorkie because it's 2-for-€1 in Spar and they remembered that I like Yorkies, I would be happier and more appreciative of this simple gesture than someone buying me a €20 voucher for HMV, simply because they had to get me something (not that I don't fucking love getting vouchers for HMV; the best and most guilt-free way to spend money on DVDs you don't need).
Not to mention the fact that Christmas shopping eats up money like an obese child in a chocolate factory. Can anyone honestly tell me they get a wonderful rush of happiness watching saddened, stressed people rushing hurriedly around Dundrum Town Centre, trying to find something, anything, with barely any money, because they have to? It's such a load of silly.
This also brings up the point of "Giving". Everyone has it in their mind that they should be extra charitable at Christmas time. So much so, that they focus all of their charity on Christmas and feck off, the rest of the year. Last year, I was supposed to work at a soup kitchen on Christmas day, but I was told not to, because there was so many people helping that the help practically outweighed the poor people availing of it. The sad fact is that people weren't nearly as enthusiastic throughout the rest of the year. The homeless and the hungry don't just feel the cold at Christmas.
No-brainer time. Anyone who enjoys the run up to Christmas must be some sort of study-fiend with super-memory and tablets that stop you from writing blog-entries instead of writing Media Law essays (ahem).
Granted I'm not the unluckiest person I know in this regard, but my birthday is awfully close to Christmas, which means that no one is bothered (or available) to do anything, because they're so busy, so broke or so tired from all of the other Christmas-related parties they've attended already. Birthdays should really be closed-off, self-contained affairs.
Sharing them with Jesus isn't any fun.
The Actual Day
I mentioned my own immediate family earlier and how our general tendency not to function as a whole is particularly evident on Christmas Day. It starts out of my mother and with the inevitable chore of the excited duo of my mother and my youngest brother getting everyone out of bed to open presents (getting my father and my second youngest brother to get out of bed to do anything is akin to stabbing yourself in the eye with an active chainsaw). Naturally, there is some initial curious lightheartedness as we examine 'the haul'. At that point, my brothers and I consume the various sugary treats buried among the other treasures and it all goes downhill from there. Poor diets and dwindling energy levels lead to hostility and chaos.
All I want for Christmas is for it to end quickly, so I can relax and start looking forward to New Year's Eve (aka, the coolest holiday ever besides Halloween).