With my youngest child turning 26 next April, I decided last year that giving away Christmas was long overdue. We all know it's "for the kids". And perhaps grand kids. But I'm spent, money-wise and energy-wise. I felt the end coming on a couple of years ago, but it wasn't until last year that I summoned the courage to say those immortal relationship-ending words - "It's over".
The worst part was telling my adult children that Santa Claus was now not only a myth, but also a menace. The once charming character, a fictionalised version of myths built upon myths about Saint Nicholas himself, was eating away not only at my pocket, but my time, patience and expendable energy. Imposter was written all over his fake, money-sucking "festival", and it was time to expose it by ignoring it. My growing apostasy from Christmas became more evident last year with This post.
And not even Virginia O'Hanlon could save it.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of "giving", but what it turns out to be is "you spend $40 on me, and I'll spend $40 on you" (if the ratio is uneven, suspicion may arise). The real surprise is if someone actually buys something you want or need. But "it's the thought that counts", with the big retailers being the real winners. It's a time when we expend energy and money we don't have, to celebrate the birth of a man who wasn't even born on December 25th, with pagan symbols anathema to the religion he founded. It's a special kind of schizophrenia reserved for what's more commonly known as "the silly season", and it doesn't get any sillier than this.
Should Christmas cease? I'm not suggesting that at all. As long as it brings joy to children who will later discover that it was all a fraud, and credit card debt to the shopping-exhausted but well-intentioned, and an excuse to party and piss up, there has to be some good in it. Never mind the increased violence and suicide rates at this "special time of the year", holding on to tradition is more important. So I don't want to spoil the party, I've only announced my departure from it. If it makes you happy, then "party on".
See you in the (hopefully more realistic) New Year.