I know what you're thinking: "here's another article from an aggravated young adult about why the holidays suck and how there are more important things in life than monotonous festivities," well you're in luck because that's exactly what this is.
Growing up, I absolutely loved Christmas and the Christmas season. The feeling I would have around this time is something I wish I could relive. When you're a child and firmly believe in Santa Claus and all the magic surrounding the holiday, not to mention having no financial responsibilities and partaking in fun holiday activities in school, Christmas is a dream come true.
Don't get me wrong, Christmas is a beautiful time of the year to focus on the ones you love and count the blessings in your life. However, it has become so commercialized and so "in-your-face" that the true meaning is pushed to the back.
Christmas, to me, is about being grateful for all the fortune in your life and spending time with loved ones. It's about reflecting on the past year and taking a moment to appreciate all you have.
Unfortunately, Christmas has become a commercialized holiday for big businesses to shove deals down our throats and snatch the money from our pockets, and make us feel bad for not spending $100's on others-brainwashing us into believing one's worth can be bought. People feel pressured to buy "the perfect gift" for their friends/family/spouse because it's been so ingrained into our heads that the more lavish the gift, the more love you have for someone.
I suck at buying gifts. I flat out admit it. I love seeing my loved ones happy and of course, I want to show them how much I appreciate them by getting them something nice, but I literally have a nervous breakdown doing Christmas shopping because I can never tell if they'll really like their gifts. Adding to this pressure is the fear that they'll get me something that seems nicer than what I give them, making me feel like they'll think I don't care about them as much as they care about me.
See how horrible gift-giving is? Giving gifts on Christmas should be something you want to do, not something you feel like you have to do. Here's an idea, instead of a material gift, why not buy your loved ones an experience? For instance, get tickets to a concert, Broadway show, a cruise. Take them out to dinner, or pay for them to have a spa day. Or even better, make them something. Home-made gifts are invaluable.
I think the part about Christmas that I loathe more than the stresses of gift-giving is the pressure to have the "perfect Hallmark family Christmas." For those of us, like myself, whose families aren't close, this feels like a knife to the gut, and we're reminded of our "broken family" everywhere we look, especially via social media, movies, commercials, ads, etc. It's downright painful scrolling through social media and seeing posts from your peers all dressed up and celebrating a lavish Christmas dinner with their numerous, close-knit family members. It hurts to see tv shows and movies depicting the "perfect family" during the holidays. It pains me to know that I won't ever have that unless I marry into such a family, but even then it won't be my blood-related family.
I would give anything to go back in time to when my family was actually close, to when my grandparents were still alive, to when everyone got along and no one shut each other out. I miss those days. At least I have the memories of my grandma's amazing Italian cooking on Christmas Eve and the pumpkin pies at my Nana's house on Christmas. For me, the Christmas season means jack-crap without loved ones. Yes, my parents and I have our own Christmas celebration, but it's always just the three of us and it doesn't feel as special as it would if the rest of the family would come.
So yes, while a majority of people are obsessed with this holiday, there are plenty of us out there who are just trying to get through it the best we can. We tolerate the music, we half-heartedly smile when others brag about their shopping woes, we even fight back tears when listening to others discuss their family plans. And another thing I need to address: for those of us going through tough times, be it emotional, financial, physical, etc, this time of "comfort and joy" just becomes overwhelming. Everyone is so joyful and positive around Christmas and it makes us feel like horrible people for feeling the exact opposite. We feel like we're being forced to be happy. We feel like we have to push our worries aside to feign "holiday joy." Christmas doesn't make finding our happiness again any easier.
But you know what the absolute best part is about Christmas? New Years is just a few days away! A time to get all festive without the hassle, and take part in the festivities of ringing in a new year and a new beginning, as corny as that sounds.
So please, just give us "Grinches" a break.