I know, I know. I'm subverting the dominant paradigm, or some shit. Consider me a conscientious objector.

Celebrating the Christmas holiday is something that a whole lot of people do, particularly people living in the USA and Canada, and in the UK, or any marginally Christian-majority nation on Earth. Very few people actively avoid celebrating it, and those that do are not often vocal about it. When the subject comes up, the non-reveller is invariably asked about her/his intentions, why they've got no spirit, or if they're just miserly and crotchety.

Even people who consider themselves non-religious often celebrate Christmas, just because it's too big a problem for them not to, assuming they don't live in total isolation from the rest of society. Some feel obligated to do so because of the actions of the people they surround themselves with; others do it because to them Christmas is no longer about religion; and others still do it because tradition dictates that they must. Though I've never met anyone (myself and people who aren't regular, average, Christian-like people not included) who didn't celebrate Christmas, I can only stipulate that the reasons for not doing so involve financial inability, fervent rejection of religion, or a belief that the so-called "Christmas spirit" should not be confined to a mere week of the year and could, in theory, be practised anytime. There is also the anti-consumerist clause for not celebrating Christmas; marketing firms the world over have been encouraging people to define themselves through their purchases, doubly so at Christmas time, and around calendar holidays in general.

What people fail to consider when dealing with someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas is the fact that it's been crammed down each and every one of our throats for years and years, and we're sick and tired of it. Believe it or not, there are some who refuse to cave in to pressure from relatives, corporations, friends, etc., and just sit the holidays out. Most people I've known grew up celebrating Christmas and haven't considered shedding the habit because it's an institution that marks people's so-called "good spirit" and "willingness to share" and so forth, but I ask, why can't these things be done on an everyday basis? Why does it have to happen only at Christmas time, only once a year? Honestly, if people acted as nice as they think they're acting around Christmas time all year round, there'd be no more war.

A few of my relatives have tried to reach a compromise with me about the celebration of Christmas, and they misguidedly wish me a "happy winter solstice" as though I were Wiccan, which I'm not. It seems the idea of not celebrating during the final week of the calendar year is a concept that is extremely foreign and/or incomprehensible to some people. They just cannot understand the desire to ignore the holiday season.

For me, it's all an illusion. It's an excuse that people make so they can feel better about themselves by "getting into the spirit." Christmas is supposed to be about generosity, good samaritanism, and modesty. From my perspective, Christmas spirit has become a culture of greedy corporations, uncomfortable time spent with ne'er-seen relatives, grandoise dinners that should not only be confined to one or two holidays each year, and false sentiment. Maybe not everybody is like that, but it seems all of my relatives are, and year after year they fail to understand why I refuse to partake in the festivities. Year after year, they still buy me things I have neither asked for nor need, to try to guilt trip me into doing the same thing to them. Year after year they fail to understand that I'm so poor that I usually can't afford to go grocery shopping more than once a month, much less spend half a paycheck on gifts for people that only cause me anguish.

Please don't get me wrong here. I do normally engage in the giving of gifts and the helping of relatives and others at all other times of the year, whenever the urge strikes me to give a gift, or the need arises to lend a hand. I just fail to see why doing such things is pushed to such a high level of hype during Christmas time. I have no use for religion and I know only a few people that do; yet Christmas is all around me, totally inescapable. It would be a little more bearable without the false good cheer and the banal, endlessly repetitive Christmas music that plays incessantly in any store I go into during the month of December. It wouldn't be as bad as it is if I hadn't heard every single song more often than I've heard my own name spoken aloud.

People celebrate their own birthdays for a reason; why rehash it in the most generic of ways for Christmas? Try as I might, I can't find a single reason for the season, as it were, not even commerce. I've spent more than half my life trying to avoid the whole business (I started denying it at age 15, and I was born in 1976, so instead of updating this part of the writeup every year, just work out how old I am now in your head), but I always get goaded or guilt tripped into it in one way or another, for no good reason, by people who can't accept the fact that I'd rather not participate. The only effects Christmas has on me is closed or overly crowded stores, slow postal service, and a day or two off work (although I don't get to choose which "important" days I get off work -- I'd rather have those days off in June so I can watch the Stanley Cup finals on TV). No more, no less. Perhaps this makes me a "scrooge," or crotchety, or mean, but whatever it makes me, I can't understand why not celebrating Christmas makes me such a bad person in so many people's eyes.

As an endnote, I'd like to state that apart from the misunderstandings that doing this brings, it's also a great way to get out of participating in Secret Santa rituals. Oh, and as an aside, the fact that I really don't like children may have something to do with my scorn for Christmas, since it's so child-centered, at least in America.

I don't love anything
No, not even Christmas
Especially not that

-- Belle & Sebastian --
"I don't love anyone"