I’m a serious, die-hard Christmas’er. Maybe because I’m a December baby, but I go all in. Like, seriously all in. Just about every room in our house has a Christmas tree. I’ve got wreathes of Christmas cards. I used to be That Person who sent personalized letters every year. One of our biggest goals was decking the outside of our house. I’ve got a library of Christmas movies that I need to watch every stinking year. My traditions have traditions.
But I’ll never shove it down your throat. (Unless you ask nicely, and then, well…you knew what was coming.)
Stop Telling People How To Celebrate The Holidays
One thing that we’re inundated with every holiday season is a lot of advise, memes and social pressure to do, or not do, a certain thing.
I hate Elf on a Shelf. But you don’t see me raining on people’s parades.
I enjoy Black Friday shopping. But you don’t see me dragging people with me or stampeding others.
I really don’t get Christmas pageants, but I go when I’m invited.
Here’s one of the biggest things we need to remember as a culture: Not everyone celebrates Christmas.
There are other holidays and traditions that happen around the same season that some people chose to celebrate instead.
And there are others who don’t celebrate at all.
It’s all okay.
I get really peeved at people who turn their nose up at the houses on our block that don’t decorate their lawns. We aren’t one of those neighborhoods people line up to drive through, but we’re festive. It’s an older block, full of people with plenty of tradition in their veins. And I eat it up. But I also recognize that a) some people don’t want to, b) it’s freaking expensive, c) it’s not their holiday, d) they physically cannot. None of these reasons are any more valid than the others, but let’s break them down.
Some people just don’t want to celebrate Christmas.
Seriously. I know, for a die-harder like me it’s hard to wrap my head around but 2016 has done a great job of giving me reasons to not go all out. I’m tired. There’s been a lot of loss, both for me personally and as a culture. Socially there’s a lot of uncertainty. It makes it hard to be cheerful. And on top of that, some people have terrible history with the holidays. I totally understand why they’d want to skip them all together, and I can’t throw a stone. This year we decided to skip Thanksgiving and I have no regrets.
Christmas is expensive.
I think when we made our first investment in decorations the bill was in excess of $700. Just for the “bare minimum” we wanted. And it’s nothing fancy. We have some C9 lights to line the roof line and some smaller lights to frame the windows. This year we’re going to be lucky if we can afford to give presents to our kiddo and the immediate family. It’s not going to be anything extravagant. And in our culture we’ve gotten into this mindset that You Get A Present! And You Get A Present! And EVERYONE GETS A PRESENT! That shit adds up. Every year my mother has to give gifts to her employees. Let me say that again, she has to. It’s company policy that she gifts everyone under her something small. Now, she manages perfectly well because she’s savvy and smart, but dang, that adds up. So do you really blame people who want to prioritize the people most important to them when it comes to their spare dollars and the holidays? I don’t!
It’s not their holiday.
I have two very good friends who are so not into Christmas because they have other holidays. Every year I’m shocked at the stories my friends tell me about people expecting my friends to celebrate their version of the holidays. Religiously they have other holidays to carry on about. So next time someone doesn’t jump on the Merry Christmas bandwagon pause and consider that they might have their own holiday going on. It’s a huge reason why I don’t get all bothered by the Happy Holidays line. Yeah, I might be Ms. Christmas, but I also recognize that it’s not the only thing going on.
Some people just physically cannot do the holidays anymore.
Case in point? My 90 year old grandmother is telling people she just doesn’t want to this year. Emotionally it hurts. Every year has always carried with it so many memories of her house decked out, the big family party, the food, the fun. To think that she has reached that point of NOPE just hurts me. But you know what? It’s not about me. She’s had over 90 Christmases. If she wants to take one off, I think she deserves it. And she’s not alone. How many elderly, invisible illnesses or disabled people can’t celebrate like they want to? And how many of them just don’t want to at all?
Look, all I’m saying is, treat others how you’d like to be treated.
None of us want to have unwanted ideas shoved down our throats, so please, don’t be that person. This year has taken so much from us in terms of people we’ve loved as a culture, it’s crazy tense out there, and some kindness could go a long way. Offer a smile, open a door, and consider what you can contribute to making a better holiday for everyone, no matter what they chose to celebrate, or not.