Some people are just naturally holiday people. They love the gift-giving, the togetherness, the seasonal decorations. Especially at Christmas, you find these people at their prime. Sending out personalized cards, hanging ludicrous amounts of lights in their bushes, buying cinnamon scented candles and singing carols at all times of the day. They walk around distributing candy canes and bake Christmas tree-shaped cookies with red and green sprinkles.
I am not one of those people.
I'm not a Scrooge by any means, I just find the entire charade surrounding Christmas to be more stressful than joyous. You waste 20 minutes and half a tank of gas circling the mall parking lot trying to find a space. You swim through a sea of maniac shoppers fighting for clock radios and perfume gift sets. You spend entirely too much money on things that the recipients might not even like. Frankly, I'd rather no one bought me anything. Let's make a deal, gift-givers. We all just take the holiday to go shopping for ourselves and call it even.
This year, my mother said she really wanted something-or-other, so she would just buy it and have me reimburse her later. Now, that's genius. That's right up my alley. I know Christmas day is all about the surprised faces and giddy expressions, but seriously, wouldn't you rather just get exactly what you wanted? People always ask you what you want for Christmas anyway, and have you make cute little lists. So is the suspense really necessary? I say save that for birthdays and anniversaries. Personally, I'd rather get a present for no reason, rather than at Christmas. If I ever see something I know someone would like, or if they talk about something enough, I'll just buy it. I don't need this commercialized reason. My aunt has given me a card with money every year since I can remember, and it's always my favorite gift to open. It's definitely the most impersonal gift you can recieve, but nothing beats cold, hard cash.
I'm definitely a self-proclaimed cynic about most things, but I've come to terms with that. I find it quite endearing. Especially when I find myself sitting exhausted on the mall fountain desperately trying to decide whether my sister would like ipod speakers or a set of martini glasses? Would my father like a sweater in red or blue? Does my cousin already have this DVD? These trivial decisions are all overwhelming enough, and only made worse by the fact that I am a desperate procrastinator who does all of her shopping in a 2-hour window on Christmas Eve.
And Christmas music. How do I even begin to describe my hatred for Christmas music. In principle, it's perfectly fine. It's all upbeat melodies and talk of doing bizarre things like roasting chestnuts, jingling bells, and one-horse open sleighs. When was the last time anyone rode on a one-horse open sleigh? At any rate, if you work in any sort of retail or service capacity, you understand that they begin playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes the day before Thanksgiving. Imagine listening to nothing but Barry Manilow on repeat for 8 hours a day. Imagine doing this for an entire month. I'm pretty sure by that fourth week you would either hate Barry Manilow, develop a nervous tick to the sound of his voice, or learn to completely tune him out.
That's how I feel about Christmas music.
All of this being said, there are a few things that I do enjoy about the holidays. Although most of them involve food and alcohol, I can also say that I like wrapping presents. I'm definitely an overzealous wrapper. I color-coordinate bows and ribbons, and make those little curls at the ends with the edge of the scissors. I get adorable little to-and-from labels, write the names in pretty fonts. It seems that I'd be more of one of those newspaper-wrapping people that use the comics, or leave gifts under the tree still in their Macy's bags. But no, I'm a sucker for metallic colors and Santa prints.
As happy as I'll be when the holiday season is over, and my life returns to semi-normalcy (my life is absolutely never normal), I have to appreciate the spirit of it all. When else can you drink egg nog, chop down forest trees, and say 'ho' without getting slapped? Just think about that the 73rd time you hear "Silent Night."