For the past few years, and again, later this month, I have published a post about how I am not a Grinch*, about how I don't like the commercialization of Christmas, how working in retail spoiled the spirit of the holidays.
That's still true, but I'm finding that as the years pass, my love of this festive period grows colder than the weather outside.
It seems that when I killed Santa, earlier this year, I built up contempt for Yuletide.
I hate Christmas music. The old songs have grown dull; the new ones are contrived, formulaic, weak. There hasn't been a decent Christmas song since Fairytale of New York. The Barenaked Ladies put out an amusing album about a decade or so ago, but it too has become trite.
Hearing Christmas songs piped through the stores and shopping malls makes me want to give up spending dollars until January.
I don't like overblown residential Christmas lights. Every year, the neighbours seemingly try to out-do one another, as though this was more of a competition and less of a holiday. And I have to say, super-lit-up houses are the ugly sweaters of the neighbourhood.
And speaking of ugly holiday sweaters: really? That's how you want to spend your hard-earned dollars?
Christmas is December 25. It doesn't start November 1 and build until the official day, winding down slowly through the end of the month, calling itself Boxing Week (Boxing Day, December 26, used to be only one day). I don't start my shopping until a couple of weeks before Christmas—usually in December but for a brief time I got caught up in the Black Friday stupidity (I came to my senses and bought nothing).
I get really annoyed by those who post the nonsense captions on Facebook, saying "It's 'Merry Christmas,' not 'Happy Holidays.' Share if you agree." I agree with that sentiment, but only on December 25, possibly on the 24th. I also believe in saying "Happy Chanukah" on the Jewish holiday or "Happy Eid al-Adha" to my Muslim friends. Saying "Happy Holidays" at a time when many religions celebrate peace in the name of their faith is perfectly acceptable.
Insisting that it's "Merry Christmas" and only "Merry Christmas" is close-minded.
It isn't Canadian. For those of you who shared that post: shame on you.
While I have become Grinchy and curmudgeony over Christmas, I do look forward to the time I take off, between December 25 and New Years, to focus on what is really important: friends and family. I like to use this time to reflect on the good fortune that I have, to be thankful for those who have made life worthwhile. This time of holidays isn't about the gifts, the tree, the lights, the music, and the fat man in the red suit. It's about the peace, the goodwill, the love.
For those things, I'll never be a Grinch.
* Not a Grinch returns December 23.
(And this post will never be an annual tradition.)