Christmas is supposed to be fun, right? I mean, the holiday is supposed to bring joy to people with gifts, family and joy. But not for me. Christmas has always been one of my least favorite holidays of the year. In fact, I just find the whole “holiday season” to be stressful.
I remember my friend once told me that the reason why I don’t like Christmas was because I was never rooted in a joy for the holiday because I never believed in Santa Claus. I was told that I missed out on enjoying Christmas to its fullness because I didn’t believe in Santa. Well, you tell me how I am supposed to be in Santa. I lived in a neighborhood that would shoot some guy creeping around at night into people’s houses. The house I lived in did not have a chimney. Those mall Santas all looked so different. I just didn’t believe in this guy named Santa.
Of course it didn’t help either that my parents don’t care about Santa either and never played that game. No new Christmas gifts under the tree. So yeah, Santa was fake and I had no other reason to care about this holiday.
Growing up in a Christian household the focus has always been about Jesus. And it should. But look around, where is Jesus? There is barely any Jesus in this holiday and it begins in August when the first sign of Christmas makes their way to stores. Yeah yeah, don’t give me that pagan holiday talk whatever. The name Christmas is Christ because it is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But what do I see? Everything but Jesus. Santa who doesn’t exist. Snow that I don’t see in California. And of course the commercials with rich people celebrating a rich Christmas with new cars and some fa-la-la-la cheer.
But one of the biggest issues I struggled with was that even in a Christian household, Christmas was stressful. We had to go to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Christmas Eve was filled with traveling to San Francisco (my home church city) and then driving out to different people’s houses where we would enter, sing Christmas songs and eat a little. Then we would get out and go to the next house. Every single Christmas Eve was filled with stress, constantly moving, and it was exhausting. It felt more like a chore than a celebration. By the time I got home, it was 12:30AM. I was too tired to even care about my gifts. Christmas lost its fun.
Oh, and the following morning I had to wake up and head to church again. I just spent 7+ hours the previous night doing Christmas stuff all over the streets of San Francisco I didn’t really enjoy and then the following morning I had to drive back out to the city for more church. I guess it was hard for me when the fun of it was taken away and was made stressful. The church didn’t really didn’t do a good job of making Christmas fun. The gifts I got, which I am grateful for, just seemed so bland. It fit with the mold of the environment I grew up in the church and the congregation. Christmas just didn’t have that excitement for me.
I suppose it had a chance to get better in college. But instead it was all about trying to figure out who to buy gifts for because society makes it a requirement. Who am I going to see in December? Will they get me a gift? That means I have to get one for them. It’s an awful feeling for a college student on a low budget. I hated this too. I tell people not to get me gifts and I do the same. It’s easier that way for everyone.
Of course, it still all comes down to how we view Christmas. Christmas is not a 4-month deal of music. It isn’t a place of PC drubbing of “Happy Holidays.” Or maybe it is and I just don’t get it. I wish there was more Jesus in the equation but even at that, my experience with Jesus and this holiday gives me flashbacks of a stressful, not so exciting time period.
Do I hate Christmas? No. I don’t hate it. I just don’t enjoy it for what it has become. I don’t enjoy it because of the way I was brought up.
It’s great for some and I will enjoy Christmas things. But because of my the way I have been raised with it, I just don’t get excited for it like other people do. I want to enjoy it. It will take some time. But it starts with having new memories and a lot less of the non-Jesus of it all.