Christmas is crazy.

Don’t get me wrong—I love spending time with my family, decorating my entire house so that it looks like Buddy the Elf exploded all over it, and celebrating the holidays with a bunch of parties and get-togethers, but boy oh boy. I’m sick of the madness of Christmastime.

I went to my local mall on Friday the 23rd with my brother. He’s seventeen, a little gangly, and always wears a punny t-shirt whenever we have to go out in public so that “people will know what I’m about, McKenna.”

Yeah, believe me, I roll my eyes at that too.

But he hadn’t shopped for any Christmas gifts yet, so I thought I’d help. I’m a decent gift-giver, but my brother is just awful. He could know someone for a billion years and would NEVER be able to come up with a gift. Help was definitely needed.

So, picture this: a tall, frazzled teenage boy wearing a “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!” t-shirt and me, a short, almost-twenty year old attempting to follow her sibling and simultaneously not get lost amidst the hundreds of people walking around her.

I was furiously trying to keep up with The Bro when a lady cut in front of me. “Watch where you’re going!” She snapped when I nearly crashed into her and then tried to swerve. “Show some Christmassy courtesy!”

I stared dumbly at her as she proceeded to flip me off and walk away.

When my brother was done, we spent an extra hour waiting in traffic just to get back home. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even Rush Hour. It wasn’t even near Rush Hour. But there were all kinds of people driving recklessly and cheating and darting in front of us, very few people letting others out, and I couldn’t help but think: Where has the Christmas spirit gone?

I think there’s a lot more to Christmas now than before. It feels a little bit more like Valentine’s Day, which I feel is a very commercial holiday. Christmas isn’t just a holiday anymore, it’s a solid two months out of the year. On Thanksgiving, stores open earlier and earlier to allow for more customers to come in and shop, and it’s not even Black Friday anymore. If you’re subscribed to any sort of store that offers coupons, they’re sending you daily emails with offers. Everything is so commercial. It feels as though we’re losing the idea of what Christmas really means.

I don’t mean it from a Christian point of view. You can take it that way if you’d like. But to me, Christmas is about family and reconnecting with others, and it feels that, with every single gift sold, it gets farther and farther away from that. It almost feels as though we’re trying to buy love with quantity, not quality.

But I also understand that stores need to make money. I do.

I just wish that the spirit of Christmas was truly the “most wonderful time of the year.” It doesn’t feel that way anymore.

When I was younger (not necessarily little, but younger) Christmas was so exciting. But now, I can barely get excited when I hear “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” on the radio because I’ve learned to associate Christmastime with stress.

Hopefully one day, that will change. But until then, I think I’m going to jingle-bell rock a little less. Just remember— we all need a little peace on this Earth.