I used to hate Christmas. No, hate is too weak a word. I LOATHED Christmas. When I was working the front desk at my old job, I remember well meaning folks jauntily asking me, “So, are ya READY for CHRISTMAS?”
Me (big grin): ABSOLUTELY!
Then I’d wait a beat, and say dourly, “Ready for it to be OVER.”
And their face would fall and they’d change the subject. I suspect those folks felt sorry for me, because WHO after all, hates CHRISTMAS? It’s the most WONDERFUL TIME of the YEAR! Hating Christmas is on a par with, oh, I’d say hating puppies. And often I’d wonder, God, what is WRONG with me? How do I stop LOATHING Christmas and get with the joy of the season? Who the hell hates Christmas, really?
Me. I hated Christmas. And not just any old hate. I LOATHED Christmas with the intensity of a thousand Christmas-stealing Grinches.
And yet, as I sit drinking cocoa out of my my Santa Claus mug, this former Grinch is here to tell you exactly how to stop loathing Christmas and actually enjoy this time of year rather than wish you could skip from Halloween to New Year’s Day in one fell swoop.
And you’ll never believe how I did it.
I’d like to mention here that I did ask The Google for a way to stop being so depressed and hateful over the Christmas season. And you know what? There are some articles on the subject but nothing that concretely told me “HERE’S EXACTLY HOW TO STOP LOATHING CHRISTMAS, MY LITTLE GRINCH” and go from step 1, to 2, to 3. I mean, there was stuff like “volunteer at a soup kitchen” or “do Christmas however you want” and some personal accounts but nothing that really resonated with me.
No, I had to flounder around on my own and figure it the hell out.
How to stop loathing Christmas and go from Grinchy Grinch to Buddy Elf, Step One: Don’t Fight Your Feelings
First of all, I had to stop fighting my feelings about Christmas. So some years ago, I sat quietly with my feelings. Instead of wallowing in my despair at the idea I was single, back living with my mom, with very little family OTHER than her, and almost broke at Christmas, I realized I was single, living back with my mom, nearly an orphan and almost broke ANYWAY, so why did Christmas magnify that?
Well, I realized I was SO jealous of what everyone ELSE had and how much THEY loved Christmas, that I was internalizing that envy rather than being grateful for what I DID have. Which was magnified by about a BILLION at Christmas. And of course, it didn’t help every sappy Christmas movie on the planet capitalizes on what? Family. Friends. Relationships. Gifts. Holiday cheer out the ass. Every jewelry commercial was MOCKING me! Every kiss begins with Kay? UGH. Know what else begins with K? A phrase that would get me on the naughty list for sure. It was NAUSEATING.
But, I had to look at that. It was, in part, good old fashioned envy that had me as green as the Grinch and kept me from enjoying what I DID have. So once I swallowed my own pride and ADMITTED to myself I was burning with jealousy over everyone I knew and even people I DIDN’T know thanks to every sickly-sweet holiday movie my mom and I would watch, I was able to stop fighting those feelings and let them go.
After all, like the old Zen saying goes, “what you resist, persists; what you allow to be, disappears.” In other words, I had to get over myself with a quickness by doing just that.
But that was only step one in Operation How to Stop Loathing Christmas.
Fake it Til You Make It – How To Stop Loathing Christmas, Step Two:
Once I was able to get over my burning jealousy at every person in the known world who seemed to have what I wanted AND LOVED Christmas to boot, I thought, dammit, there must be something else I can do so I can enjoy Christmas again and stop being such an asshole during this time of year.
So here’s what I did; I thought about someone other than myself.
Given that my mom LOVES Christmas, and once my then boyfriend (now husband) who didn’t have any family on this coast came into the picture last year, I didn’t want to bring THEM down during a time when we all were missing loved ones. At that point, I decided wanted to try to inject some joy into the season, and maybe absorb some of that seasonal joy in the process. So, I went all out decorating and made our house look like Christmas threw up all over it. And I LIKED it. Plus, I did enjoy seeing how much my mom & my sweetheart enjoyed my holiday handiwork.
I then made it my mission to at least PRETEND to enjoy the goofy Christmas movies Ma loved so much and TRY to at least PRETEND to find the beauty in the nostalgia of the Christmas music they started playing on the radio in NOVEMBER. I even tried my hand at a little Christmas baking.
And believe it or not, once I opened my mind to the POSSIBILITY of enjoying all these Christmas things like Christmas movies, which, lets face it, are DESIGNED to be as sweet as can be, I let myself relax. Believe it or not, I actually started ENJOYING those Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies that I used to absolutely TRASH.
I started really LOOKING at each Christmas decoration I put up. And as I unpacked each decoration, I let myself remember the happy Christmases I had when I was a child. I indulged myself in the nostalgia that came with the season, for a change.
And somehow for me, Christmas stopped being about commercialism, and started being about the actual JOY of the season. Starting about…oh…two years ago, I was able to actually look FORWARD to Christmas movies. Not only that, I didn’t shriek to the heavens when Hallmark’s Christmas in July rolled around this year. PROGRESS!
Then last year after doing all of this I realized, HOLY COW, I DON’T COMPLETELY HATE CHRISTMAS ANYMORE! I’m…AMBIVALENT towards Christmas. But that’s a whole lot better than loathing Christmas, I’d say!
From Christmas Curmudgeon to Crazy About Christmas Step Three: Let the Magic Happen
Recently I was on Twitter marveling at the idea of how much I am actually ENJOYING the Christmas season so far this year. Mind you all, this was after a whirlwind of joyful decorating and baking and Christmas movie-watching. And I wondered, how is that POSSIBLE? This isn’t ME! I HATE Christmas! I’m the biggest Grinch I know! And then I remembered, hey, wait just a second here! I DON’T HATE CHRISTMAS ANYMORE! And then the following thought crept in…
I…I think I…LOVE CHRISTMAS!!
And like the Grinch, my small heart grew three sizes that day.
“It’s the magic of the season,” a friend of mine replied to my tweet about outgrowing my Grinchy ways. And that set me on my ear since to be honest I haven’t believed in the magic of Christmas since I was a little girl.
See here’s the thing, folks. We never really LOSE the magic of Christmas. We just stop believing, our hearts harden, and that magic only SEEMS to vanish. We’re told we’re supposed to be ADULTS. To put AWAY those childish things. Get with the program. Toe the line! We don’t have TIME to be jolly!
We’re supposed to be too busy for that while working our asses off. Christmas is for children anyway, right? Then we can impress others with how much money we can spend while we’re worrying more about keeping up with who we follow on Instagram than our own enjoyment of life! Well except me. I’m not on Instagram. But you get the idea.
Well, fuck all that.
I’m here to tell you that I’m forty-seven years old – a GROWN ASS ADULT and I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS and I BELIEVE IN THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS. It’s been there this whole time; I just had to look for it. Matter of fact, I’ll be following Santa’s travels on NORAD as I have for the past few years. And THIS year so far, I have joyfully watched every Christmas movie my mom has thrown at me. Even my husband can see the difference in me. I’ve been listening to Christmas music without being prodded, and my house looks like Christmas exploded in it. And would you believe it’s only the 3rd of December?
Have I been baking Christmas cookies? Just finished 3 batches yesterday. Full of Christmas cheer? Shockingly, I AM. Admittedly, it has taken some pretty heavy introspection on my part, but it’s not like I didn’t have the time with the pandemic and all. So not only have I rediscovered the magic of Christmas, I have actually learned to experience it as an adult. It looks a little different then when I was a child, but that’s okay.
Magic is magic, after all.
You see, what I’ve learned through this whole process is that I can actually enjoy Christmas again by believing in the magic of Christmas, regardless of what it looks like. I realized that just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I have to stop believing in Santa Claus OR the magic of Christmas. And no matter how old I get, I will NOT let myself slip back into Grinch mode, because to be honest, being a Grinch SUCKS. And just like my Krampus Bell reminds me, never again will I let the spirit of Christmas die, nor shall I let the magic of Christmas vanish from my heart.
But best of all, if someone should ask me if I’m ready for Christmas, I can joyfully (and truthfully) reply with the greatest of glee, “I SURE AM!”
Oh and by the way?