Oh goodness, is this ever a fraught time of year. I was raised Jewish by half-and-half parents, so we also have a tree and presents and whatnot. And I love it — I love holidays and traditions, and specifically pretty white lights and gingerbread smells and Christmas carols and snow and all that jazz. I am an atheist, Jewish Christmas apologist.
Unfortunately, I have this Christmas Curse. Even if nothing bad has happened the rest of the year, the week or two before Christmas is 55% likely to feature the breakup of a serious relationship and/or a health crisis. This seems statistically implausible, but I assure you it is accurate (sample size: 11 post-college Decembers). I realized this year that Christmas is somewhat hopelessly tied to moping about for me, and 2011 sure wasn’t shaping up to buck this trend, so I’m skipping Christmas.
Whoa, what? Christmas is not a holiday one can just skip in this country. The pressure to Celebrate is so great that it’s not avoidable, even if the holiday itself has no real meaning for you or your family. Even people who really don’t observe Christmas at all are visiting their folks, because they get the time off. Restaurants and bars are closed. Volunteer gigs are few and fill up fast, because everybody wants to get a last bit of goodwill in.
But what’s the point of being Jewish if you can’t ignore Christmas with a movie and Chinese food? you ask, and you’re right, but I’ll be doing it alone.*
So I am reaching for the same solace I’ve used on many a lonely Valentine’s Day: gleeful bitterness. I am collecting Terrible Christmas Things. Picture me dressed as the Ghost of Christmas Future, carrying one of Your Neighborhood Librarian’s Advil Calendar cocktails (most of which are the opposite of terrible, but the Crystal Lake Surprise looks promising).
Or dressed as Krampus, which is pretty much the ultimate Terrible Christmas Thing and is therefore my new favorite thing in the world. Christmas should be much more like Halloween.
Cracked’s list of The 11 Most Unintentionally Creepy Christmas Ornaments is pretty quality. Should you be in a gift-giving mood, I’m particularly fond of the screaming larva baby.
And of course there’s Jonathan Coulton’s classic “Chiron Beta Prime,” performed by my favorite ASL singer Stephen Torrance (even if he does misspell “soylent”):
More Terrible Christmas Things tomorrow!
*This is where I feel compelled to add that my family and I love each other very much. My dad even offered to fly here for the day. So I am alone by choice, but given the situation, it’s really best for all concerned.