Critical Hype - Christmas Time Is Here

Well, not really, but the corporate world certainly seems to believe so. We have entered into that disquieting period of late-November where we become inundated with holiday images and fair wishes. I know for a fact (thank you so much office work) that certain radio stations have begun playing Christmas music. In November.

This is not a cynical rant on how the "holidays have become too commercial" because there's no way to do that without sounding like a tremendous prick. I'm more directly concerned with something that I didn't even know was possible until recently; people actually enjoy Christmas music. There are people who choose to listen to the musical equivalent of stuffing Wonder Bread down your ears. There are people (I'm sitting in the same room as them) who whistle along to this beige-colored noise.

It's not that it's offensive to me, it's just completely beyond belief. I do not understand it. I was raised in a family of capitalism rather than Christianity, so maybe I just lack the cultural context for this kind of thing. Not that Christmas music is very religious. Most of it sounds like national anthems or high school pep songs; descriptions of the idea of something instead of the actual subject. I'm willing to bet that'd you find the word 'snow' in Christmas music lyrics more than the actual word 'Christmas'. And I'd put my life savings behind it if you replace 'snow' with 'Santa'.

The imagery of Christmas gets a lot more attention than the holiday itself because there's really nothing there. Holidays aren't real, they're just days. What would a song about Monday sound like? I'm willing to bet it would mostly be about bemoaning a wasted weekend and how horrible office buildings appear when you're walking through their doors. You sing about "Christmas-time", not "Christmas".

I don't know why this is so fascinating to me. Chock it up to my fascination with social psychology and how certain things get stuck in peoples heads, becoming part of their identity. I'm a "bah, humbug"/Scrooge/Grinch type myself (gee, I bet you're shocked) but I don't hate Christmas itself. I fucking love Christmas and most other holidays (except Arbor Day; fuck Arbor Day), but I hate the culture surrounding it. And I hate the fact that people are expected to adore the culture even more. When I tell someone to turn down their favorite music I usually get a brief, albeit slightly hostile conversation out of it, but telling a Christmas lover to turn down "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire" seems akin to digging up their mother's grave and dancing with her skeleton. It seems unthinkable to most people, my bizarre hatred of Christmas artifacts and ideology.

So why do I hate it? Because it never changes. Because there's no variety; it's all the same shit, repeated every fucking year. The same songs, the same colors, the same trees, the same jokes and phrases. The British monarchy has seen more change than the Christmas tradition!  And the fact that people can listen to this year after year puts a serious dent in my love of the human race. It terrifies me. Pep rallies in high school filled me with similar existential dread, but at least I could transpose that pride onto my classmates rather a brick building. What am I supposed to do to mitigate my Christmas dread? Worship Santa?

It's not a capitalist thing either. I know because I understand capitalism and its trappings, I understand how people get whipped up into a frenzy over the Stock Market or taxes; because it's money! Wonderful, precious money. Most of the Christmas culture seems to revolve around nostalgia for your grandmother's house in the woods or something. Like I said, I just don't get it. Holidays are always more of a backdrop for the alcohol and food in my family (thank god) so I never got this whole idolization at our gatherings. When it did come up it was as more of a joke than anything.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just an asshole. Maybe I'm just a city boy working with country bumpkins. Who can say?

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