I don’t know what it is about holidays but I find them a big turn-off. To me, they feel like fake traditions that have been over-commercialized and are full of obligations most people rather avoid. Maybe I am just a total holiday Scrooge. I just can’t get excited about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, which is completely meaningless to me as an atheist. The only thing it means to me is that there’ll be crowds everywhere and I’ll be exposed to Christmas music and decorations wherever I go. The thinly veiled “Happy Holidays” is just as non-inclusive as “Merry Christmas,” yet it feels dishonest because fact is that there just aren’t any other important holidays around this time other than Christmas (no, Chanukah is not the most important Jewish holiday; it has simply been commercialized to help Christians feel less guilty about imposing Christmas on the rest of us). Okay, so maybe it is Christmas that’s making me feel grouchy around this time of year. It is everywhere and everyone assumes that I should be celebrating it, too. In fact, I even feel that way. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t feel like I should be feeling festive today because someone I don’t know decided at some point that this day should be a big feast to celebrate something (most people don’t even know what Thanksgiving is about, which becomes obvious when they ask me if people in Germany celebrate it. Well, no, not really since Thanksgiving is a USAmerican tradition… There are harvest festivals around this time but that’s not the same.). So, maybe it’s that remaining feeling of obligation that makes me feel grouchy: I should celebrate it; I should do something special; or, at minimum, I should have a good reason for not celebrating it. “Everybody else does it” is just not good enough a reason for me. Actually, that’s part of the turn off. I’d rather ignore the holidays and just enjoy life every day!
(Here’s a book review of Tom Flynn’s “The Trouble with Christmas,” a rather timely discovery…)