I’m getting in the pre-holiday spirit already. I keep cruising Pinterest, staring at the holiday section. I want to DIY everything and set up the tree and start baking. And it’s August.
But the more I search, the more I realize there are a lot of things about Christmas that just don’t make sense to me or totally confuse me.
1.) Elf on the Shelf (and other forced traditions)
Elf on the Shelf is a little toy elf with some sort of clever little story that you’re supposed to read every year to give your children warm, fuzzy memories. There are all sorts of Elf on the Shelf activity ideas on Pinterest to ensure that your kids get maximum exposure to this weird little doll.
Rules of the Holiday: you can’t force a
meme tradition. You might be lucky with a tradition you want to start; it might just take off and go. But if you have to stick a doll in a sink full of shaving cream or fill your toilet with goldfish crackers to get someone to notice the “tradition”, it ain’t a tradition. It’s like a weird prank gift that keeps on giving.
2.) “Keep the Christ in Christmas”/”Jesus is the Reason for the Season”
Look, it’s called Christmas. You’re going to read excerpts from Luke all season long. There are carols. You’ve got a nativity in your living room, on your drive to work, at your church. There are Christmas plays, church services, birthday cakes for Jesus (one of our family traditions.) Christ is pretty IN Christmas. If you’re feeling a lack of Christ in your Christmas, I seriously suspect there’s a lack of Christ in your daily life, as well. If you’re feeling a lack of Christ in other people’s Christmases (or winter holidays,) you’re everything that’s wrong with your religion. Relax, and let it go.
PS? X-mas is actually a MORE Christian way to write it, not less.
3.) “Perfect” Christmas
You know the pictures. Christmas trees with perfectly-coordinated ornaments, each branch laden with some little sparkling treasure. The perfectly-frosted cookies, the perfect dinner spread, the perfect dusting of snow outside. It looks like something out of a magazine, modeled perfectly after a picture in a magazine. I’ve been in these houses, so heavily, flawlessly decorated that they feel like some sort of freakish museum. Seeking perfection in anything is ridiculous, but seeking perfection in a holiday strips it of any meaning or purpose in your life.
4.) The Friggin’ Cookies/The Santa Lie
Some things really just burn your ass in retrospect. Did my parents seriously get me to leave out cookies and milk every Christmas Eve so they could have a snack while they brought out the garbage bag full of presents? I mean, I guess being Santa shouldn’t be a thankless job. But seriously? Parents, man.
And when you finally figure out that Santa isn’t real, you’re just supposed to be okay with the fact that your parents lied to you. While still believing everything they say to you from then on.
5.) Holiday Anxiety/Apathy
Look, I get that the holidays can be stressful. But it’s not my problem that your in-laws are crazy or you’re “not a holiday person.” So don’t try to get me down with your Grinchface and don’t get weird on me because I want to celebrate. I’ll leave you to your misery if you’ll just ignore my glee.