Growing up I adored the holidays. We sang carols in school, followed by vacation and festive parties thrown by my parents’ European friends. The highlight of the season, and our key family tradition, was to walk down 5th Avenue and look at the various Christmas displays in the shop windows.
For me, my favorite parts were the rampant commercialism and the massive displays of conspicuous consumption. Christmas was never a family holiday, we never kept a tree in our Manhattan apartment and in my Jewish neighborhood nobody believed in Santa, a custom my neighbors explained was a bit of gentile foolishness for children who were too slow to notice that apartments had no chimneys.
For these reasons I never developed a deep abiding affection for the holidays. Many of my brown friends are thrilled that the season is upon us, talking about how they plan to make the holiday their own, putting a Khanda on top of a “Christmas Tree”, etc. And why not? The tree is an old pagan tradition that was only grudgingly accepted by the Catholic Church, all the best Christmas songs were written by Jews, and Santa Claus is Punjabi .
Personally, I’m more of a bah humbug kind of guy. Where I live in the Midwest, strangers answer your Happy Holidays with a Merry Christmas in such a way to make me want to declare war against it, or explain to them in a pedantic fashion that the early Christians didn’t celebrate Christmas because birthday celebrations were seen as pagan, and that most of the traditions associated with Christmas are either pagan (like the word Yule) or the result of fairly recent invention. With such stress, there’s a reason why cardiac mortality increases this time of year.
How about y’all? Are you grinchy like me, viewing Xmas as just a cheap travel day? Or do you have a sentimental attachment to the holidays and all their trimmings? (video after the fold)