My family’s artificial Christmas tree came out of hiding this past weekend, which means Christmas is just down the street, as opposed to being just around the corner. It has been just around the corner since November 1st, if you haven’t noticed.
As I look at our tree I’m reminded of how excited I used to get for Christmas when I was a kid. In fact, some of the ornaments on the tree are handmade by my 6-year-old self back when they let us get our hands dirty in Grade 1 Art.
That was the peak of my artistic abilities.
Also, if you search “Christmas Tree” on Google, a festive background appears.
The lead up to Christmas started at school with an Advent calendar. If you don’t know what that is, it’s like a Willy Wonka-approved countdown clock with 24 mini windows which are opened one day at a time leading up to Christmas.
Behind each window was a chocolate. Who ate the chocolate? Well, the teacher would start at the top of the attendance list and go from there. Unfortunately, I was always near the bottom of the list. As a result of such “fairness”, I never got to go up to the front of the class and receive a chocolate because it would be Christmas break before my name came up.
I’m actually still really bitter about it. Maybe this is why I don’t really care for chocolate?
Sorry, just doing some self-therapy.
But at the time, I didn’t let it get in the way of my excitement for Christmas. From watching Christmas movies on TV, to sucking on candy canes, to sitting on an old man’s lap at the mall (sounds creepy when I put it like that), nothing could bring me down.
Heck, I even loved watching the Santa Claus call-in show on TV. Mr. Claus would be live from the North Pole and kids would call him to let him know what they expected him to haul down their chimney.
Making a list of what I wanted for Christmas was my favourite pastime. I would get out the Toys ‘R Us catalog, flip through it, and write down every single item I wanted. There were a lot.
I was always envious of the kids who were pictured in the catalogue playing with the toys that I coveted. What can I say, marketing works.
I filled my list with toys, video games, sports jerseys, and anything else I could think of.
Then Christmas would arrive, I’d open my presents, and immediately start playing with them while an Iron Chef marathon ran on the TV. No, I didn’t make that last line up.
It was glorious. And I didn’t have to go back to school for another two weeks.
One year, I got a Formula 1 racetrack with miniature cars that were operated by a remote control! I could’ve watched those race cars go around the track for decades. I can still smell them overheating. It was a sad day when it broke.
Somewhere along the way, though, Christmas started to lose its excitement. The last four or five years just haven’t been like they used to be.
I can’t really pinpoint the moment when things started to change, oh wait, I can.
I was at a family Christmas party and one of my relatives suggested that I start paying rent to my parents to live in
my their house. Yup, that put a damper on things really quickly.
At the time, I was still in University and only lived at home for four months…why am I trying to justify myself here?
Who does that? At a Christmas “party”, no less.
Whether they were joking or not, it has put me in a foul mood for family gatherings around Christmas. They aren’t fun anymore. It’s just small talk for hours on end where everyone wants to know what you’ve been up to for the past 364 days so they can compare you to others.
I didn’t sign up for this. Why can’t we play Bingo for a $10 grand prize like we did when I was 8? I like Bingo. Everyone likes Bingo. LET’S PLAY BINGO.
I don’t need, nor do I want, people judging me in between bites of their fourth butter cookie with sprinkles.
Christmas Party Tip #37: Head nods and fake smiles normally bring painful conversations to an end, but when they don’t, spilling a little bit of your drink normally does the trick.
The other day I finally gave in to peer pressure and wrote my annual Christmas list after days of me saying, “It’s the same as last year and the year before that.”
My Christmas list has now turned into the same thing as my birthday list. It includes gift cards to restaurants, books, types of clothes I would accept, mint chocolate bars, and an “other” category which states, “Anything else you think I might like.”
I also printed out a big picture of a panini press and glued it to the back of the list, for reference, and dramatic effect.
I came to the sad realization that I don’t really care that much for gifts at Christmas anymore. I’m not someone who needs “stuff”. In fact, I probably need less stuff but hold on to things for “sentimental value”.
I’m not a hoarder. Back off, TLC.
I almost feel guilty asking for things. Maybe it’s because I know the value of money now. Back then, money was just plastic stuff we played with at school during some math lessons.
All this being said, I want to enjoy Christmas. I really do. I want to find a way to be that little kid again, without needing a million toys to play with.
I want to turn on the TV, watch Home Alone, and enjoy the scene where a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan is riding around a train set in the living room.
Essentially, I want my childhood back. I don’t want adult conversations about how I spend my days or who I plan to marry. I want food, bingo, and a hug from my grandmother. Is that too much to ask?
I’m just tired of what Christmas has turned into. And yes, I’m not so disillusioned to the point where I don’t know that Christmas is a time for family. I know it is.
But I can still whine about it.
I just deleted a four paragraph rant on the monotony and repetitiveness of holidays!
Honestly, I just want it to be Boxing Day already, so I can turn on the TV and watch a bunch of people trample over each another at 5AM as they pursue a discounted flat screen television that they don’t even need.
That’s what I want. And a panini press.