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A Strange Request [or] Wake Me Up When Dinner Ends

I know millions of people have the same problem. Nobody seems to enjoy the holidays- everyone complains about how hard they are. But really most people are only playfully bummed out about the holidays, not really facing sheer and total anxiety. They claim they are very stressed during it, but I suspect most look forward to them.

For me, not so much.

Which is to say for the single guy in his 20's who has absolutely no family around where he lives and doesn't like traveling to see people. This past Thanksgiving I told everyone I was making tofurkey, mashed potatoes and stuff, which was a lie. It was ok thawed.

People always ask me if I want to visit their families. Aside from an akward offer from a casual acquaitance, I always am creeped out by this suggestion. Why the hell would I want to come to your house, where I know no one but you, and feel awkward? I'd rather put party hats on my potbellied pigs and sing the theme songs to my favorite sitcoms, which is weird since I'm vegetarian. I think I might actually spend the time this year teaching them how to spin webs.

Being vegetarian adds an entirely different level of anxiety to the holidays. Like many carnivorous cultures, we vegetarians are frustratingly forced into flesh-gobbling celebrations.

Recently I read a blog discussing the sour points of holiday gift giving, and in that blog Brett was willing to concede that this gift giving season is necessary for the economy. As it turns out, my concession was unnecessary. Just yesterday I read a bunch of interesting stuff on Adbusters. So therefore the holidays are messing up the economy by forcing this one time only spending spree where it's make or break for retailers. If we spread out our spending, retailers would probably be doing a heck of a lot better. There would also be a lot less panicking and anxiety.

It's feckin' cold, my skin has become pale and splotchy, resembling a poorly constructed candy cane, and the lack of sun makes me sad. So why exactly is this "the most wonderful time of the year?"

3 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous jenn 

    Since my earlier comment has vanished into the ether, i'll try to recreate what i can. (not because i have anything important to say, but purely for the satisfaction of my oversized ego.)

    The answer to your question is, it's not. I don't think you need anyone to tell you that though. Perhaps sometime in the past Christmas was a wonderful time-- before commercialism, and then only if you were a Christian(obviously). Because at some point, Christmas was actually about something spiritual, not something concocted and hyped to elicit the spending of money. (Arguably the best christmas tv special ever is "A Charlie Brown Christmas", which deals with the idea of spiritual vs. commercial aspects of the holiday quite well, despite being sandwiched between commercials for Hallmark that try to convince us that our holidays will be full of joy and fond family memories if only we buy their latest schlock designed to induce the nostalgic-lump-in-the-throat syndrome.)

    (Something to ponder: How would you feel if Janmastami (in America) became like Christmas (in America)? How would you feel if Christmas in America became like Janmastami in America?)

    i don't think it's true that most people are only "playfully bummed out", i think in reality most people are truly not looking forward to anything but a couple days off work and maybe a gift or two as payoff for all the anxiety and post-holiday letdown.(i actually thought you didn't mind holidays so much (at least not as much as me and other people i know) because at least you seem to like your family, and your hometown, and spending time there with them doesn't seem to be so horrible (aside from the carnivorous aspects), so this is interesting to see you talk about).

    i think we are being sold a bill of goods, and have been for quite some time now, that the Christmas holidays are about family, togetherness, yadda yadda yadda, and when our own holiday experience doesn't live up to the hype, we feel like there's something wrong with us. and i think anyone who is excited about the holidays is probably in denial. (or very rarely, actually has captured the correct mood?) My boss has been running around in candy-cane socks and gingerbread-man earrings since thanksgiving, and seems genuinely excited about the holiday, but i think she will experience the disappointment most people do when the day comes and goes and isn't what they expected. (she also may have some sort of unnatural enjoyment of strange clothing and having weird things hanging from her ears.). My mother thinks she's excited about Christmas every year, in her own way-- decorates like crazy, cooks (mostly stuff with meat and eggs and chocolate) plays (horrible-- truly horrible) christmas music 24/7, but even she admits to feeling let down when it's all over.

    We spend money on people (though, admittedly, i like a good excuse to give people gifts, but "obligatory" gifts cancel out that pleasure somewhat), travel long distances to see people we may not even like, (in places we'd rather not be, in situations we'd rather not be in) spend awkward hours in situations we'd normally do anything to avoid, and watch the people around us (who are being fake nice to people they spew venom about in private) doing the same. Why? Because we are given images (TV, movies, etc.) of "ideal" or "perfect" holidays and we think other people actually have them, and we want that for ourselves too, and we think that maybe we're not trying hard enough, or maybe that if someone finds out we don't have those kind of holidays, then they'll know there's Something Wrong With Us.

    Of course this is colored by the kind of holiday you know i'll be having in the Very Cold Place with the Psychotic Carnivores. I used to have (as you know) pretty extreme anxiety about the holidays, but this year i'm trying the denial approach. (it's not really going to happen, and even when it does everything will just be annoying but ok) i'll let you know if it's successful.

  2. Anonymous Brett 

    I'm not sure if I should be flattered or what. I guess I'll take this as a compliment.

  3. Anonymous ericdbernasek 

    Maybe this was a little too sub-til. I should have picked a drastically different font for the changes.

    But it just goes to show you (something or other). I go and steal something from Brett's blog (at his request) and I get this long rambling comment.

    Maybe I need more than a layout change ;)

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