Seasonal Affective Disorder: The Christmas Humbug
What you are about to read was written about a year ago, around the time of the holidays, and was created when I was in a much more foul (but not totally far-gone) mood toward the season. Some life events and experiences have since pulled me out of this rut (mostly) but I still have a legitimate reason for the past opinions and views posted here.
The Jolly Christmas Spirit
Yes it’s that time of year again. Where we all empty our wallets to keep our kids from crying at a disappointing Christmas. Where we ask “Santa Clause” for gifts. In the past I use to jump right into the spirit of “the Holidays”, well more specifically Christmas. Not quite Jewish enough for Hanukah and not quite enough white guilt in my system to research what Kwanza is about. As a kid Christmas is the best time of year. It’s like Summer vacation; but shorter, colder, and you get presents (and sometimes snow). As an adult Christmas can feel like a crock of shit You’re pretty bitter in the beginning of December, as I like to call the pre-Christmas festivities that involve spending every penny you can earn working to buy presents. God willing families sometimes agree to just spend the holidays together, THIS is great cause you can save money plus use it for the important things; ham and spiked eggnog. Although in reality even after the "you don't have to get us anything" speeches gifts end up being exchanged.
Adults CAN like Christmas… the idea of “good will towards man”, not the consumerism aspect spread by that invented jolly old fat fuck in a red suit. It’s our money, we don’t have to like spending it on toys that kids will get tired of, or break, by New Years. One of my oldest memories as a child was getting a yellow microphone from my great grandmother. I hated it of course, and I was too young to really appreciate the thought. Believe me I'm no Frank Sinatra when it comes to singing, and I could barely form proper words at the time. It’s the idea of denying a relative the chance to see you happy with what you get. We don’t care as children but upon reflection it’s disheartening to realize I was such a little shit about it. It’s only money but looking back she was probably gutted. Then again she survived the Great Depression and two world wars so it was most likely not a big deal. I don’t have much memory of my great grandmother. Just that Christmas and her funeral. It’s times of reminiscing like this where I wish I had a time machine. I'd rather have THAT for Christmas.
I won’t go into a big rant about what parts of the Bible say what, and what religions are insane, or debate how anyone celebrates “the Holidays”, but I will say I am grateful of the Christmases that I had as a kid. Some adults can feel like it’s all crap now. Although it's the little things and the thought of someone getting you something that counts. It's easy to just say "screw this" when you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). but one thing that did lift my spirits was the gift I got from my friend Kirsty in England; Tombstone: The Director’s Cut and some candy bar I forgot the name of. It was like Hersey’s but had pop rocks and jelly beans in it. Last Christmas was saved because of that.
Maybe The Movies Can Help...
I suppose you have to watch Christmas movies closer to Christmas to get it. I made the mistake of watching them just after Thanksgiving. You know that time of year where Americas decides it’s time to celebrate Chris… No wait I’m thinking of Halloween. Or is it late September now? Earlier and earlier every damn year. Luckily there’s those other feel good Christmas movies that you can in fact watch ANY time of the year. Love Actually, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, etc. but films like A Christmas Story are played so god damn much you can almost play it through in your head. That's one of the first problems with the season. The over saturation of the movies. Best solution? Just watch something else.
I really don’t want to take a dump on Christmas movies, they all have a purpose and I’m sure a lot of you, like myself have a mini marathon almost every year. My sister started that tradition when I was eight.
The Idea of Charity
The one uplifting aspect of “the Holidays” is the idea of giving to people. Not only does giving to others give you the sense that you are helping them, but it makes both sides feel accomplished. Yes Christmas is already financially draining but with the way the economy is, and how businesses seem to fluctuate to these issues, even $20 can go a long way.
It’s something we wouldn’t normally do, or should be doing, the other 11 months of the year, but during Christmas we seem to go that extra mile. Is it the “spirit of the Holidays” or social pressure to do right because of it? In my article “In Exile From Home” I mentioned my opinion of charity, and I stand by it, but a cup of coffee or a sandwich doesn’t cost much. Especially if the homeless person you're helping doesn't seem like a damn hustler. At least this way you know your money’s going toward something the person will need. Rather than feeling like a moron when they come walking out of a liquor store carrying a can of Colt .45. You know who they are.
When you offer to buy them something their face lights up. Kind of like that same look a child gets when they receive a present. That right there is why, even with S.A.D. is why we do it, that same vibe, even when we don’t see it. When we give to a charity by writing a check we want to think it helped someone somewhere, that is why we do it. Also the exemption at tax time is nice too... I guess it doesn't help the fact that you wanted an answer on how to overcome S.A.D. but there you go, I just pulled a Christmas happy ending on your ass. Help people out, be happy. If you can't buy something, than make your family something. Do it from the heart, not just because it's that "special time of year". Do it because you love them, not because pricks in a corporation say it's the thing to do because it's the socially conglomerated holidays. Feel better? That's as blunt and simple as I get without going outside of my PG-13 limits. You're welcome.
What I Learned While Writing This
I’m scheduled to do jury duty on December 22nd. Who is the dick scheduling that the week before Christmas? I will admit though criminals walking down the marble halls in shackles sound like jingle bells. So THAT’S Christmassy. We should all start saying “Merry Holidays”. We barely ever get to say “Merry” and practice political correctness at the same time. Don't let one jackass' opinion change your good cheer. I want to wish you all a very Merry Holidays.