“Getting in the mood”
by the Christmas Curmudgeon
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[November 28, 2017]
year in October, the temperature lowers just enough for sweatshirts
(or at least it tries to), the leaves change color, and we see that
last bit of October rain that always manages to sneak up on us. The
feeling that accompanies these changes in environment is an oddly
welcome one for someone as Curmudgeonly as myself.
The closest word I can find to describe it is
“joy.” Then again, it may only be a case of schadenfreude (a feeling
of pleasure at witnessing misfortune).
October also comes with Halloween, and I enjoy any opportunity to
literally scare people away from my house. As a bonus, the holiday
gives me an excuse to continue not clearing away the spider webs in
Suddenly that Halloween mood is replaced with the one belonging to
Christmas festivities. I feel like I need to apologize to
Thanksgiving for skipping over it, but let’s be honest; November 1st
is practically the 1st of Christmas, a near sixty-day season unto
For example, there are stores setting up for Christmas in September-
before Halloween even has a chance to register. And don’t even get
me started on craft stores that sell Christmas stuff year-round.
Maybe that’s why I can’t completely understand the joy I should be
feeling at Halloween; Christmas is already poking its head out of
the ground. Perhaps the people behind Groundhog’s Day can do
something about that.
It baffles me that we let Christmas out so early. I have to ask- is
anyone actually okay with seeing red and green baubles in the store
aisles in September? I have yet to meet anyone who is. Walking by a
certain section of Walmart in September is like walking by a crying
child in public. I keep hoping that some parental figure will step
in and ask what’s wrong, because clearly something bad has happened.
Maybe popular culture makes it okay. Recent years has seen a trend
in entertainment referred to as “Christmas in July.” A lot of
television channels feature holiday movies…in the summer; when most
people are getting back from vacation. Imagine coming back from
Florida and thinking, “thank goodness I got away from all of the
tourists. Now I can trade one set of seasonal anxieties for
Ignoring my television isn’t so bad; I do that most of the year
anyway. I’ll just switch over to Netflix. Oh wait; they added
Christmas movies in July, too (not kidding, they did that this
Other people catch hold of a collective Christmas mood that I do not
understand. All I see is a list of extra chores that have to be
done, and I barely tolerate the things I already have to do. I
already dislike shopping, but I do it every week because I like to
eat and keep my life in order.
Shopping for other people only serves to give me anxiety. I never
know what to buy for others. Do I buy something secret; something
they don’t realize I heard them express interest in? Or were they
only kidding, in that weird way that people do when they see
something interesting? Do I buy a gift card, an easy way to say “get
what you want, I don’t care?” Or does that mean I’m giving up too
easy? I may be a Curmudgeon, but that doesn’t mean I don’t put
maximum effort into gift-giving.
[to top of second column]
I always buy new bags at Christmas time. Every year I
buy just enough bags to put presents in. This is because every year
I tell myself I won’t buy any presents next year. I’ll finally find
a cave to hide in from Christmas - a gift to myself. But then I
remember that I don’t like the idea of “buying oneself a gift.” It
sounds too pretentious.
Whatever the case may be, I never buy wrapping paper. Someone
invented a paper made solely to be destroyed. I wish I had that kind
of genius, and the billions of dollars that must have followed.
On the topic of gifts, I’ve never felt like I deserve presents at
Christmas. What makes this one time of year so special that I
automatically earn a present just for making it to the end of the
year? This might sound weird coming from me, but we should probably
take some of that generosity at Christmas and spread it out
throughout the year.
Goodness knows I try to get in whatever Christmas mood exists. I try
to look forward to gathering together with people I care about and
sharing an evening of good food and generosity. But I don’t need
that to start in September, nor do I care to deal with all of the
hassle that comes with shopping and trying to schedule
Something else that fascinates me is how other people react to my
mood. I don’t hear too many people disagreeing with me about the
holiday season and all of the headaches, but nobody wants to change
anything about it. They still somehow smile through all of it. I’ve
only found one other person that completely agrees with me that we
can absolutely ignore the entire affair. But it’s hard to ignore
something when everyone else seems so determined to find cheer.
Maybe that’s why so many people like the Christmas mood and hold on
to it so hard when they find it. The rest of the year is always such
a rush of work, school, household chores, and every other
inconvenience - and everything always needs to be done at once. At
the end of the year, even I have to admit that celebration and
relaxation with family and friends are just what the doctor ordered.
Like any other reward, that feeling comes with its own hard work.
But if you do it right, the Christmas mood feels pretty good.
But I stand by one thing - the Christmas mood does not exist in
September. Now someone tell that to Walmart.