In Defence of Bah Humbug

I don’t hate Christmas. It just seems that way sometimes.

I scowl when people talk about tree decorating, about hanging the lights, or about going shopping (actually, when it comes to shopping, I tend to gain a panicked look, since I’m still wandering the mall at the last minute). When someone asks about my holiday plans, I usually become nervous and forgetful. People often interpret these negative reactions as a Scrooge-like dislike for all things merry and bright.

Christmas as a holiday, as a social tradition and event, is something I truly have no problems with. The goodwill that gets spread around is infectious, and the sense of celebration really does make you think that somehow, everything is going to be okay. Getting to Christmas Day, with everything that needs doing, is what sources the scowl.

As a kid, you never had to make plans about where Christmas was going to be; you probably went with your parents or family. You didn’t need to make the decisions about who was going to make the dinner, or if some distant relatives needed to be included on the Christmas card list. The Christmas season meant time off from school, maybe some sledding or skiing, and the day itself, with presents, food, and family.

As an adult, all of those plans are now your responsibility. You’ve got to find the time to make them all happen. Having chosen a career in the arts doesn’t help; there’s no such thing as holidays when you’re trying to apply for a grant or fill out paperwork, let alone finishing a script or story for a deadline. The daily responsibilities that we choose to take on become so much more imposing when red caps and mistletoe are added into the mix. I can’t help but see December as a long stretch of things to do, capped off with a nice party on New Year’s Eve.

So if you see someone not infected with Christmas cheer, whose eggnog seems just slightly bitter, they don’t need visits from three supernatural plot devices to educate them as to the true meaning of Christmas. They already know. They just don’t have time for it in their schedule…

(Merry Christmas!)


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