Do you hate Christmas? Then read no further.

In recent years, I’ve adopted the belief that it’s far easier to despise the holiday season for all its schmaltzy, ooey-gooey, touchy-feely phoniness than it is to adore it for those same things. Yes, you hate your relatives. Yes, you hate to shop. Yes, you are too in debt as it is and no, you can’t afford any of the gifts you have to buy the people you don’t want to be shopping for anyway. Tough sugarplums.

Snubbing Christmas is passé. I am over holding against December the fact that I dislike hustle, bustle, pomp and circumstance. But I will say this: I have a brand new anxiety to lay beneath the tree this year, one that’s been on layaway since I graduated college. As much as I’m determined to keep a rosy-cheeked, bowl-full-of-jelly cheeriness to Saint Nick’s and the Christ Child’s exaltations, there is one thing hanging over my head less loving than the mistletoe: the fact that Christmas is aging me.

This is how I know:

1) I’m more interested in my relatives than in the presents. I was always pretty spoiled with gifts as a child, culminating in the time Santa brought me Fortress Maximus, a Transformer that stood about as tall as I and took thirty minutes to transform. I understood all the Jesus stuff from an early age, but that didn’t prevent me from holding my breath all through Advent for the only day of the year I’d get more fancily wrapped plastic junk (batteries not included) than on my birthday. The relatives bit only meant more presents later in the day when they arrived. Nowadays, I couldn’t care less about plastic, and I genuinely want to hear my grandmother talk about her prognosis from the fainting spells. I also enjoy hugging my parents, commenting on how much the under-tens have grown, and dishing filthy gossip with my aunts as they smoke and drink wine on the porch.

2) I’m more interested in the food than in my relatives. Yes, sweets have caught my eye and tooth since birth, but only now am I truly enjoying the retreat one can find in a succulent Cornish hen; the three shades of happiness in every twice-baked potato; the brief escape from the conversation and reality itself that only buttered asparagus can bring.

3) Asparagus tastes good now and is no longer for throwing.

4) Little kids singing is the cutest thing in the world, and it makes me want to knit something.

5) I care how many calories are in eggnog.

6) Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving piss me off. Not to be too old-fashioned, but it is tacky to change the storefronts completely before Turkey Day. Does no one know Thanksgiving has beautiful colors all its own, and they are not red and green? I do! I’m an autumn. Three years ago I spoke to four tiers of customer service managers at the Limited Corporation to bitch about their holiday sweater campaign going up the day before Halloween. That, I said, was downright gauche, and infringed upon my right to worship the Devil with everyone else. Furthermore, as a clothing store, the Limited is in the style industry, and therefore should know better. I will never forget the first telephone rep asking me, “And what’s your name today?”

7) The only good Christmas movies are the ones in black and white.

8) My mom lets me skip Mass with no threat of Hell or coal in the stocking.

9) Boxing Day. What once was a day to break from overuse all the toys I’d just acquired is now a much-deserved repose from the hustle, bustle, pomp and circumstance I bitched about above.

10) The hollow, frigid emptiness that becomes me when I think that I’m 29, I still open presents from Santa, and I have yet to bring home anyone for Christmas.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville


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