The constructs of December
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
I don't celebrate christmas; haven't done in some 20 years. Seriously, I don't send cards, decorate, shop, exchange gifts, go to holiday gatherings, go to church, donate more than the rest of the year, observe "alternative" December holidays... nothing. Yet, I am pretty well universally expected to do at least some of that, even by folks who know that I don't. After removing myself from the holiday, it became abundantly clear that there is a LOT of pressure on people to conform to the belief in, and the pursuit of, that ideal "magical" time when everything is sparkly and beautiful, everyone loves everyone else, and we all obtain the most magnificent of our material desires. Of course we all know that believing any of this leads to bitter disappointment, but it's propagated year after year anyway.
It is interesting how people react when I tell them I don't "do" christmas. Almost everyone tells me how they don't participate in the commercialism of it, and then go on to describe the limits they've put on all the decorating, gift buying, and family gatherings they have planned, never seeing that having a spending limit most certainly implies participating in at least a little consumerism. A very few people ask me why I don't celebrate the holiday. Over the years, I've condensed my response to this question from a lengthy diatribe to the simple statement, "I don't have to." I have never heard anyone suggest that they had ever before entertained the notion that participation in christmas is not mandatory (even non-christians), although most say they envy my freedom from the expectations and stresses of the season.
So, I guess it's each individual's choice to what extent they will be burdened with the mental, emotional, and financial stresses foisted upon us every December by TV, movies, advertising, and society in general. And, because we are indoctrinated into the christmas mythos so thoroughly, perhaps it's only natural for people to assume that everyone "does" christmas or at least some December holiday.