Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Things That Suck About Christmas

Ah the holidays. A wonderful topic with which I can use to cop out on writing yet another blog about my low self esteem with.

Yes, dear readers, today I shall not talk about what I hate about myself, but rather, what I hate about Christmas instead. Everyone raves about this holiday yet I'd like to take a moment, sit back, and appreciate what it is really all about: suckiness.

So without further ado, here is

The Things That Suck About Christmas
Sexless and Cynical Style

1. Having to buy gifts for people. 

It's one thing to buy gifts for kids, who, let's face it, are the only people who are really into this holiday anyway. But to try and figure out what another adult who is perfectly capable of supplying themselves with everything they need might actually not buy for themselves that isn't over your classy budget of $20 for each and every person you have a shred of care for in your life? Some people might think this is a fun game where if you win you get to see their face light up in ecstasy as they open their gift, but I do not. It's mostly just a game of obligation that I feel doomed to lose. And I literally pay the price. 

2. Having to react happily when you open gifts.

This is my best "happy smile grateful" face.
I hate when people watch me open gifts from them, because I get incredibly self conscious that they are probably waiting for the "face lighting up" action described above. It's not that I don't appreciate being given gifts, but seeing as I genuinely smile in with  delight about 3 times a year, I worry that I will always disappoint in my performance. Still, I know I have to try to do my best. "Wow. Thank you. It's great," I  hear myself say, sounding like a bad infomercial actor. Every time. 

3. Those people who need to get all the decorations "just right." 


One thing I learned while working on a stop motion animated film and in the art world in general is that I am not a "detail oriented person." I like to phrase this to potential employers as "I'm someone who can look at the big picture of things really well," but yea, no, I won't spend four hours trying to arrange the sprinkles on a gingerbread house to look like genuine icicles hanging off the edge of the roof. Watching people trim a tree or hang lights in perfectionist vain drives me nuts. Just throw those things up there so we can go inside and drink some vodka infused eggnog already. 

4. Forced family togetherness. 

I think this needs little explanation. We all love our families. But there comes a time in everyones life when you know you only came to the party because it would make other people happy. Sitting in a matching sweater and smiling for the camera on Christmas Day is definitely one of those times. 

5. Extra long to-do lists.

As if life weren't busy enough, Christmas adds about one thousand usually unnecessary items to do lists. These often also cost additional money. And stress. Just when you thought you were on vacation…

6. Gaining five pounds. 

WHY. WHY is it necessary to make a BAJILLION cookies and put out plate of chocolate on the counter. It's not even feigning being a delectable especially special one of a kind delight. It's just chocolate. Plain and simple. There to make you unhealthy. AND I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL. 

I've gained five pounds for the past 3 christmases in a row. I always have to work extra hard to get rid of it after. It's completely self induced and completely unnecessary. I hate it. But I CAN'T SAY NO. 

7. Putting life on hold. 

Everything has to pause for a week minimum while you make pilgrimage to see family and run around doing hundred of errands and spending all that time in front of a dead tree eating oranges out of socks. 

This holiday makes no sense when you really think about it. 

8. Generally, it is cold as fuck outside. 

Depending on where you live. Here in South Carolina it is surprisingly balmy and warm, actually. Unfortunately, it has done nothing but rain for the past two days. The point is, December never has nice weather. Which only takes away from the "fun." 

9. Receiving more stuff to add to your already too large collection of stuff.

This is what I have to come home to daily and I'm expect to live my life in there somewhere. I don't need more! 
After I've dragged all my crap across the country several times, in and out of dorm rooms and cheap college apartments, I've realized that I have way too much stuff. And every year, people try to give me more stuff. I appreciate when people try to be thoughtful and go off the designated list I send out to my family every year of things I actually do need and haven't caved in to buying for myself yet (usually workout gear), but it usually just means more stuff for me to lug around that I never even thought about previously in my life but I can't get rid of because they were so nice and thoughtful to give it to me. I'm at the point where everything I buy is carefully purchased and contemplated. Like for example, often I wonder, "Should I finally buy a pasta strainer?" The answer is no. No, I can just use the pan lid or a fork or a spatula just fine. One less thing to carry around, saves eight bucks. LIFE EFFICIENT-ed. I don't need all this sacrifice undone. 

10. The holiday not being as exciting as it was when you were a kid. 

When I was a kid, I'd get STOKED for Christmas. I'd set up a camp at the banister on the second floor of my house days in advance with a blanket, stuffed animals, books, and possibly even snacks so that on Christmas morning, I could camp out and wait just to come downstairs. You know, because I needed to be ten feet closer to the stairs than my bedroom was. But seriously, it was the best day of the year next to my birthday and I could hardly stand it. Now? Now I fall asleep on Christmas Eve and think "I guess that thing is tomorrow." and the only reason I know this is because someone just made me eat a big meal and go to church. Also note the already having too much stuff thing. 

11. Feeling guilty for not being able to be in two places at once. 

I'm not going to lie. I started disliking Christmas when my parents got divorced. Sitting through the rituals twice every year, particularly when I became and teenager and family things stopped being "cool" or fun and I started hating the world and all that, really took a drain on my affections for the holiday. It was like it made me dislike Christmas twice as fast a normal teenager should. By now I can get over it, for the most part, and sit with at least sparing the look of complete hatred on my face. But I still can't help but feel guilty that every year one of my parents is without their children on Christmas. As much as I love each of them, I can't put myself in two places at once and it always breaks my heart, even if we both know I'd be a pretty drab in the Christmas cheer department. I know they still want me there. It's so difficult when you have two parents tugging on each of your arms and you love them both. 

12. Feeling guilty for writing a blog titled "Things that Suck About Christmas" when your mom comes into the room and says she was getting so excited about having her children here for Christmas and oh by the way, you are kind of ruining it by being so blah and not super chatty with her new boyfriend. 


I'm really bad at the family thing, aren't I? 

So, weird story. Suspenders McGee lent me a couple of books when I forced the Hyperbole and Half book, Watchmen, and season 1 of Community into his hands (all of which, unfortunately, he didn't seem very impressed with, except maybe Watchmen which I am pretty sure he still hasn't touched because I have been eyeing it sit under his coffee table for two months). One of them was this book about an retired old woman who really only wanted one thing for Christmas and that was for her whole family to be together one last time before her husband died because he was basically losing it. I've spent the past week devouring the novel. The book was fantastic. Great writing. I really ate it up. It was, unfortunately, also really, really depressing and made me super sad and moody when I read it. Part of the reason I got through it so fast was simply so I get could done feeling that way. But in the end the mom gets what she wants and everyone comes (briefly) for Christmas and it turns out to be kind of shit, but oh well, right? 

As soon as I'm done reading it my mom comes in while I'm working on this blog and starts talking to me about how much I am sucking at family Christmas (in the nicest way possible, of course) and so on and so forth. Then she asks what I am writing so I show her and it is obviously very upsetting. So now I feel bad, especially after feeling so sorry for the characters in my book. I'm no better than them, which is probably why it upsets me so much. 

Anyway, I promise to make up for it. Even though Christmas really is one of my least favorite holidays to put up with, there are good things about it that even I find I enjoy. There are two sides to this story, so please refrain for your criticisms that I am selfish, ungrateful little child as you stick around for tomorrow, in which I shall write

The Things That Rock About Christmas...