I've Been Ready for Christmas to Be Over Since November Began

Evil Santa Claus rising

"If you don't like Christmas, just ignore it." Yes, that is a nice idea. I have no idea how to make it work in practice, though. I cannot leave my home without a steady bombardment of all things Christmas. This leads me to spend more time at home than usual this time of year. Even so, I find that it isn't much of an escape.

I don't mind most of the neighbors' decorations. I don't even mind the Jesus-focused ones when I see them on private property. I can ignore the fact that some of the neighborhood association dues go to even more decorations. I keep the radio in my car turned off during December. This isn't ideal, but I remind myself that 99% of what I hear on the radio is garbage anyway.

I do mind not being able to walk into any place of business without Christmas decorations and music. This is Mississippi, and every third song involves someone wailing about Jesus. It doesn't make me feel festive; it makes me want to leave as soon as possible. This isn't limited to stores trying to sell me crap I don't need; the medical professionals get in on it too. I grow weary of being "Merry Christmased," especially when it happens before Thanksgiving.

Spending December in a Bunker

I find myself approaching Christmas much as I approach Easter. I barricade myself at home and venture out as little as possible. The difference is that Easter is about self-defense and only requires me to do this for one day. The prospect of Zombie Jesus returning from the dead to feast on the brains of those who believe in him is scary. That is a day to board up the windows, arm oneself, and remain inside. Inconvenient but it only lasts for a day. The Christmas thing lasts for well over a month!

During the Christmas barricade, the TV is off-limits. Every commercial is Christmas-focused. Most shows roll out Christmas episodes. Even Saturday Night Live got in on this. The news isn't much better. Pointless human interest stories related to Christmas clog the airwaves. Better turn it off.

So what do I do, besides work, house cleaning, and the endless yard work? What do I do for fun? I retreat to the Internet, read classic horror fiction, listen to death metal, and exercise. It often feels like I am living in a bunker. It isn't that I can't go out, but it seems like there is nothing for me out there. At least, not until January.

There's a War, But Not One on Christmas

There is something about this that has started to feel like psychological warfare. The culture demands that I take part in Christmas. I refuse and am accused of waging a "war on Christmas." The pressure continues to ramp up. Who is waging the war here?

To be clear, only a small part of this has anything to do with religion. If I wasn't in Mississippi and surrounded by Southern Baptists, it might not involve religion at all. It is about American capitalism and out-of-control consumerism. If I'm not buying crap I neither need nor want, I'm not contributing. Bombard me with cultural messaging. Break my will. Make me miserable enough that I will conform.

I realize "psychological warfare" will strike many readers as a stretch. I'm not claiming that's what it is. I saying that it has started to feel like that's what it is. It seems like something we'd do to someone we don't much like.

I used to have a partial solution that helped me hold onto some of my sanity: nature. I used to leave my barricaded home and go to parks which are always deserted this time of year. I'd hike, bird watch, do some nature photography, walk a dog or two, or something similar. December now brings 80-degree temperatures, high humidity, frequent rain, and tornados. Getting out into nature is less appealing, and my dogs died some time ago.

"Oh, but you must celebrate something!" Must I? Why? I observe Halloween, and that's plenty. If I am going to celebrate anything, it will be accomplishments, mine or someone else's.

If I enjoyed Christmas, I imagine I'd celebrate it. I don't enjoy it. I spent over a decade celebrating it out of compromise and a misguided sense of obligation. I no longer have any reason to compromise, and I've lost my sense of obligation. I'm trying to leave Christmas behind, and I'm ready for it to let go of me.

Image by author via NightCafe