This time of year you hear and read a lot of anti-Christmas rhetoric. Most years I just ignore it, let it wash over me like so much floating glitter. But this year has been an introspective one for me, so I’ve been thinking about it more. And here’s the thing:
Christmas hate bugs me. It bugs me because it’s become so ubiquitous that people don’t even realize what they are saying. Sometimes I feel like maybe there needs to be a campaign like that R-word campaign or the “That’s So Gay” campaign – a way of educating people about what they are really saying around Christmas time.
Well, you know me. I’ve never one to back down from taking on a campaign, so I thought I would start with a little dictionary, as it were. A translation of some of the most common Christmas-hate phrases.
I’m going to start with one I hear every year, one that is widely accepted and one to me anyway that is the most WTF. It goes something like this:
Me: Thanks for that and Merry Christmas!
Christmas Hater: I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m a _____ (note that I have heard this from various groups including Jews, atheists and Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as from a few undeclared. Never from a Buddhist, or any person of east Asian descent, nor from any Muslims. In fact it’s pretty safe to say I’ve mostly only heard white Westerners say this.)
Look, I didn’t ask you to put up a tree, fill your living room with presents, carve a Nativity set out of old growth cedar, worship a naked baby, drink mulled wine to the point of belligerence, watch A Christmas Carol and cry piteously into your eggnog, stagger hungover to Christmas mass, and pass out for so long that the turkey burns. I just said “Merry Christmas”. The correct response is “thank you, and you too.”
The wish of Merry Christmas is simply an expression from an observer that on December 25th, instead of being a self-important party pooper, you consider being merry for change. Christmas observers try to be merry on that day. We don’t wish misery on those who don’t observe. That would be stupid.
Still not convinced? Let’s switch it up and see how it flies.
Jewish Friend: Thanks for that and Happy Hanukkah!
Me: I don’t celebrate Hanukkah. I’m a lapsed Catholic atheist with a Jewish great-grandmother.
Jewish Friend: *backs slowly away*
Chinese Friend: Thanks and Gung Hai Fat Choy!
Me: WTF? Is that Klingon?
Chinese friend: *punches my ignorant white face*
Listen, I get that this is a false comparison due to Christmas being the majority and non-Christmas being the minority. So in a sense what you might really be saying is this:
I hate Christmas = I hate being a minority where I live.
Well, I get that too, I really do. But it’s still no excuse to be rude. Allow me to demonstrate:
Chinese friend to my sister who lives in China: Thanks and gong xi acai!
My sister who lives in China: I don’t believe your moronic superstitions about dragons and shit.
Chinese friend: *punches sister in her smarmy white face*
There’s probably an argument somewhere that Christmas-hate is acceptable hate because the Christmas observers are most often privileged white people. As much as the latter is probably true, to the former I say this: privileged white people are not punching bags. If you want to punch something, go to a martial arts gym.
So, to summarize so far, I promised a translation of Christmas hate speak and here is it is:
I don’t celebrate Christmas = I don’t accept, tolerate or condone your practices because they are inferior to my own elevated and enlightened existence. Nor am I interested in your goodwill, during your “holiday season”, because who needs the goodwill of someone of inferior intellectual and/or spiritual status.
In other words, if I wish someone Merry Christmas and they reply “I don’t celebrate Christmas” I will hit them in the face with a figgy pudding.
Another irritating Christmas hate cliché goes something like this:
I hate Christmas. It’s so commercial. All the mindless shopping etc etc.
This one pops up on Twitter and Facebook with extraordinary reliability every year. The thing is, it often pops up on very feeds of women who also post throughout the year things like:
I must have these shoes *insert link to Louboutin shoes priced at $500*
Look what just arrived! *insert picture of tweep brandishing brand new handbag*
I had a fabulous meal at *insert name-drop of uber expensive and trendy Manhattan bistro*
So, again, a simple translation:
I hate Christmas. It’s so commercial = I hate capitalism, although perhaps I am a hypocrite to say it.
Look, hate on capitalism all you want, lord knows I’m not going to stop you. But while you’re at it, check out of your overpriced apartment, step out of your designer shoes, drop out of your private university or school, and, oh yeah, log out of Twitter and Facebook. And if you happen to be of the true Christian inclination and you object to the commercialization of what should be a spiritual time – kudos to you and I hope to see your Christian self serving good will at the soup kitchen on Christmas morning.
Finally there’s this one:
I hate Christmas. So much pressure to socialize and be happy.
This one is an easy one to translate:
I hate Christmas. So much pressure to socialize and be happy = I hate my family, all my friends and myself. I probably should be medicated for depression but I don’t have health insurance because I spent all my money on my shoes.
I don’t ask that everyone celebrate Christmas. I don’t even ask that those who DO celebrate view the Christmas industrial complex as a good or even an acceptable thing. I only want people to stop and consider the truth underneath what they are really saying to people who DO celebrate this silliest of seasons.
Merry Freakin’ Christmas, haters.