Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas crap.

Supermarket queue, O and I, eleven a.m. Thursday morning. In front of us, a grandparently-aged couple packing their groceries onto the conveyor belt.

She turns and coos at us "Look at that gorgeous face! And you must be so excited about Santa coming to visit and bringing you LOTS of LOVELY presents!" O looks slightly confused, possibly wondering who this deranged woman is. I smile awkwardly and just mumble a rough "Uh, kind of..."
My confusion gets translated into "Oh, I suppose he's a bit too little to understand about Christmas and Santa."

(You blogreaders who know me will now be shaking your head sorrowfully at the foolhardiness of this woman, as declaring any child "too young" or "too little" to understand a concept indicates an alarming deficit on the part of the adult, and often directly precedes an explosion on my part.)

"No, I think he gets the whole christmas thing, and he knows who Santa is (gleefully recognizing him sticking out of people's lawns, atop their houses and half-stuffed down their chimneys)... We just don't make a big deal out of it." I smiled, she looked awkward, they paid for their shopping.

In the cold light of the following day, I feel more indignant about this. Yes yes, wonderful meaning of christmas and all that tripe, but the way we celebrate it is ridiculous.

What if we were a jehovah's witness family? Ah, we don't DO Santa. What if santa has a one-present rule? What if I'm on welfare and this child's father is fighting me for christmas-day custody and the day itself is a riot of drunken, abusive relatives? Just saying. The distribution of wealth in our immediate vicinity is such that any of these options are perfectly plausible. Yes, it probably helps that I was not wearing any visible (a) religious paraphanalia (b)body piercings (c) needle marks and neither was the child; no, I am not perfectly fine with you foisting your middle-class preconceptions upon me.

Now I kind of feel like saying "You know, we celebrate Christmas as a pagan ritual and will sacrifice a black cockerel to the dark lord." (No, not Sauron). Just call me grinch.


mysterg said...

I hope you dance around naked in a Satanic pentagon first doing the funky chicken!

Eternally Distracted said...

I experience the flip-side of that coin. Living in a Muslim country you wouldn't expect that anyone would care about Christmas...but everywhere we go is surrounded by trees, decorations and well wishers from locals.

Ginx said...


I plan to side-step it all when I have kids by celebrating the secular/pagan stuff (Santa, stockings, horrible TV specials, etc).

I figure I'll maintain my atheist credentials by celebrating Darwin Day or something.

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lindamciver said...

It's a startling fact that some people have no idea that there could be any culture or worldview outside their own. They weren't actually *trying* to foist their worldview onto you. It's just all they know. I have come to the conclusion that I am a professional outlier, and I think you probably also fit that definition. So you can rail against the world, or you can attempt to gently enlighten it. Or you can oscillate between the two, like I do. :)

But ultimately, railing only eats away at your soul. At least it does mine!