Five reasons why I boycott Christmas and you should, too
It's not so much that I hate Christmas. I like what Dickens was about in A Christmas Carol, putting forth the idea that charity, celebration and sincere human connection are more important than wealth and ritual. But while we've (bizarrely) kept the aesthetics and catch-phrases from this nineteenth-century novel alive today, most of those who celebrate Christmas have ironically come to embody the Scrooge character, clinging to tradition and existential security without any thought for their neighbors (unless it's to show off the expense of their toys -- both adult and child -- over another's).
Christmas became a drag for me a long time ago, and every year I spend December 25 working at my desk in protest. I am no Scrooge, though; I am not a traditionalist and certainly am not hoarding any money away. No doubt there are plenty of people who will disagree with me on this -- but before you dismiss me as a cold-hearted grinch, reserve judgment for a few minutes while you scroll through my five reasons to boycott Christmas.
Every year we all sift through a mountain of click-bait stories on how conservatives hate the term "happy holidays" and liberals want a constitutional amendment banning manger scenes. Both sides are equally guilty of manufacturing outrage, using the same cable-news tactics of pitting one group against another -- the ominous subtext being "which side are you on?"
Where does this fit with the "good will toward men" or "peace on earth" taglines of the season? Here's a hypothetical to test the Christmas spirit of your heart: Would you rather have your local courthouse decorated with a theme you find offensive (Christian, humanist, radical Muslim Nazi death metal, whatever) while seeing your community come together under a spirit of love and charity; or would you prefer to have your baby Jesus or Festivus pole on display while families are barricaded in their homes, filled with hatred and suspicion of others? Actually, that's not even a hypothetical -- just the reality of our time.
I am not an Occupy revolutionary or a beret-wearing socialist -- most of the time, I think capitalism is a preferable economic model for our country. Except on Christmas. In addition to the War on Christmas stories, we are also overwhelmed each year with economists and pundits practically shoving a rifle up our noses, demanding that we spend-spend-spend for the good of the nation. Our entire financial system is dependent on the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we fight like rabid badgers over toys, video games and appliances we're convinced our loved ones need.
As with wedding presents, Christmas gifts are an excellent way to show love and appreciation -- but we've turned the holidays into a speedball of stress that constantly demands more of us than we have to give. Parents beat themselves up about not being able to afford the latest gadget (yet slip it on the Visa card to deal with in January, anyway) and children are pressured to flip out YouTube-style over each gift, lest their parents see themselves as failures.