Happy Holidays?

We are now in that no-man’s land that is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The cheer and chaos that is the numerous family gatherings, shopping, traveling has given way to the insanity of Boxing Day and the lead up to the year end celebrations.

Every year we feel obliged to participate in these cultural traditions. We get wrapped up in the “meaning of christmas” that is being spouted on dozens of holiday specials. We are inundated by a cacophony of christmas music through the radio, concerts, and over the shopping center PA. It is sensory overload, and a claustrophobic nightmare all at the same time. This is the time of year when you are expected to give to charity, be kind to others, and scream bloody murder when the last (insert this year’s popular toy here) is grabbed just moments before you get to it.

Right wing pundits take this time of year to accuse secularists, humanists, atheists, and a litany of other groups of waging a “war on christmas”. Every year the battle is the same, the soundbites are reused, and the claim of victory in the end is the same.

Just to clarify, I’m not some curmudgeon who is all about the Bah Humbug. I do take joy in giving and receiving gifts, for example buying something that the receiver truly will enjoy is a great feeling. I also like receiving new stuff as much as the next guy. I also do like getting together with my friends and family (despite the stress of my recent posts which I’m still not sure how that went).

Maybe I’m just frustrated with how stressed the holidays make me, and many other people. The original “meaning” has been lost with the cultural mash of the biblical jesus myth with the pagan yule and solstice celebrations. I think I would be happy if we could have a holiday where people would just treat each other with respect and kindness and not feel the need to go bankrupt with a mad commercial rush. A holiday where “Peace on Earth” is truly a goal of those celebrating rather than one where sectarian divisions drive people apart. A holiday where the airing of grievances (sorry Seinfeld) isn’t needed by anybody.

Oh well I guess for the time being, I’ll just have to make do with the world as is and just try to change my little part with a wish of Happy Holidays (whatever they may be to you).


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