Return to Christmas is fundamentally stupid (idea)

Something is fundamentally [wrong] with [Christmas]!

(or, [hanukah|insert] your [valentine's day|favorite] [halloween|gift-giving] [holiday] here)

Holidays are an [issue] on which people are pretty widely [distribute|distributed]: you [love] them; you hate them; [i don't see what all the fuss is about|you don't see what all the fuss is about]; you think they're being [ruin|destroyed] by big [fox|media], by [mall santas|consumerism], [whatever]. The point is, lots of people like [holidays|Christmas], and lots of people have good [the bastardization of christmas|reasons] to be [cynical] about it.

I'm writing from the [perspective|point of view] of one who thinks [presents are cool], but is it really worth all the [bother]? In other words, as a [college student]. In the first paragraph I made some [lameass] [attempt] to be [politically correct|neutral] about which holiday I'm talking about, but it's just easier to write [Christmas] and let you [translate] later, since that is in fact the holiday my family celebrates.

My [gut feeling] about Christmas, and one I share with [lazy] people around the [world], is this: I look forward to it every year, but when [mid-October|Christmas season] rolls around I remember that I always [forget] (read: don't bother) to get anything for anyone until [December 26th|the last minute]. Then I feel bad that everyone else got me these nice things I [mostly] like, and I've [disappointment|let them down] by not being [on top of things|on the ball]. So maybe I see my [friend] and give him something the next day; since I didn't see him on Christmas I can [pretend] I had it ready on time. Maybe he's doing the same; who knows? [Anyway], I spend the whole two months of [Christmas shopping|Christmas season] [dread|dreading] the [inevitable] [Christmas Eve Fiasco], so it ends up not being as enjoyable as I remember it.

But I know I am not alone! Many other people do the same [shirk|thing], or end up being [peer pressure|pressured] into buying presents they don't think are good enough, to [conform] to the [American dream|American standard]. And these people ask, as I have often asked, "[Why bother?|Why bother]? [What is this stupid holiday for and why can't I get out of it]? It only exists to improve the bottom line of [Mattel|toy producers] and [sears|retail outlets]." And this is all true. There are some people who celebrate Christmas because [Jesus|Christ] was the son of [God], but they're in the [minority] these days. So the holiday boils down to spending a moderate-to-large sum of [money] on [friends], family, and [acquaintances], and receiving (on [average]) an equally [expensive] amount of stuff you don't really like very much. So [what's the point?] Why not spend the money on yourself, so you can get something you actually want? Or [cancel Christmas] and save 5% of America's [GNP] for something less [frivolous]? You could just give money, of course, so that [everyone] gets what they want, but that works out to the same thing, [Perfectly Spherical Cow|assuming] everyone gives equal amounts.

And this is [all well and good], [as far as it goes]. Christmas is a [artificial|constructed] holiday that is supported by [society] as a whole, even though it creates a net loss in [fiscal] value for consumers. But the [beauty] of it is that it makes us think about the [aforementioned] friends, [family], and acquaintances when we [shopping|shop] for them, and it gives us an excuse to take a [vacation] from [work], a [winter break|break] from [school] and be with them, to catch up on their lives. We have to think about what X would really like for Christmas, and if we do it right we end up with something we can be really [joy|proud] of, whether we buy it in a store or [roll your own|make it ourselves]. And they'll at least [pretend] to like it, so that feeling doesn't get crushed. [Likewise], when you open your present from X, you see that they know you well enough to get you something that really [reflections|reflects] who you are, or at least liked you enough to [make the effort].

And then, five years from now, when you happen across an old [Christmas presents|Christmas present], you will remember who you were [so long ago|back then], and what your life was like. [Memory is the most precious gift of all].

So, after reading this, you can go on celebrating Christmas as you always have, or keep on [humbug|humbugging] it, or [turn over a new leaf] and [give this newfangled thing a try|give this Christmas thing a try]. Maybe I'll go back to [Ebenezer Scrooge|my old ways], or maybe I'll [participate] a little more actively this year. But that's your choice. [the scariest thing is nobody will stop you|Nobody will stop you], whatever you do. But know, at least, that there's a reason of some kind; it's not completely [stupid].

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