Besides the fact that I am a humanist and an atheist and that I find the omnipresent, in-your-face, tacky trappings of this time of year insulting to my senses and to my mind. Traditionally Christmas is a Christian holiday and I don't believe in any form of religion. I don’t believe that Jesus existed, and I don’t regard him as having been anyone special. There are a few big reasons why I really, really don’t like Christmas. Here they are:
It’s about caring and sharing and family and peace and goodwill…once a year. Why not prolong this charitable attitude throughout the year? (And even then, as much as people try, they’re never really as festive as they imagine they are around Christmas time.)
Even the most enthusiastic person cannot disagree that Christmas has become a consumerist feeding frenzy. It’s all about the money. All retail stores have to do is to drop a little discount or a shiny new gadget into the water as bait. You certainly don’t see adverts reminding us that it is, after all, the thought that matters.
Christmas really does bring about the worst in people. Jingle-bellers in shops wrestling over things they wanted to buy as gifts for someone else…which really defeats the whole purpose of giving gifts and the whole spirit of the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Not to mention the sulkiness caused by disappointing gifts, the drunken slobbery of the office parties that get out of hand and the skirmishes between clans that only see each other on the Yuletide.
This is the worst thing about Christmas: It makes people feel bad. Even in the midst of a large celebration, people often become depressed. Not all of us have large loving families, not all of us have that special someone in our lives, and not all of us can afford to lavish gifts and food on the people we do love. Christmas makes people miss the things they don’t have, instead of celebrating the things they do.
And what about the mass waste produced during Christmas, discarded gift-wrapping, wasted food, unwanted gifts, redundant cards, and all the packaging that comes with them. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of power needed to keep Christmas lights burning through the night.
Christmas rituals subject children to a great deal of silly mumbo-jumbo: People hang ornaments on a tree and wait for a fat white man in a red suit to come slidding down the chimney to drop off presents. He is transported to every house in the world by a team of flying reindeer with admirable bowel-control on one single night. Hopefully, once he gets down, he will not upset the nativity scene displayed on the sock-draped mantelpiece. There is nothing about any of this that is even biblically correct. Most adults know this, and go with it for ‘the sake of the children’. And we expect kids to swallow this, while for the rest of the year, their teachers are trying to get them to think critically. It’s creepy having an obese Coca-Cola inspired elf-man end up in your house somehow, especially if you don’t have a chimney. It’s traumatising to many children when they are made to sit on a strange man’s knee and asked to whisper what they want into his fake beard. It’s all a little disturbing, really. I wish people would do their kids a real favour and stop filling their heads with nonsense. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean they’re stupid. But perhaps people realize that this is a slippery slope, and once they begin talking about what it really all means, they will end up with nothing.
I hate forced fun. Come Christmas time everyone wants to insist that everyone else has a great time. And if you’re too cranky, you need to eat more, and drink more and be merry more. As if by faking it for long enough, you’ll make it real.
I will not, because it isn't real.