A Grinch’s Tips to a Nearly Tolerable Christmas

Godzilla: King of the Tannenbaums

I don’t like Christmas.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic household so had it in full force as a kid, but as I grew up it started to feel made up and silly. Now I become increasingly anti-social as the 25th approaches, and have resigned myself to simply enduring this time of year and not trying to understand it any longer.

As an admitted Grinch who knows there is no way Christmas will ever disappear, here are my Three Tips To A Nearly Tolerable Christmas…

Stop worrying about that Jesus guy so much

I am no longer a Christian, and not even religious at all, so do you know how pissed off I get when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas?

Not even a little bit.

Someone is wishing me good tidings in a way that’s meaningful to them. How can I get mad about that?

What drives me bonkers is the endless bitching about the “right way” to say things. Some Christians scream “Keep the Christ in Christmas!”, while non-Christians get bent because someone wished them anything other than a generic Happy Holidays. I’ll take everything from Happy Chanukah to Frolicking Festivus with a smile.

Tip 1: However you celebrate this time of year, be gracious in accepting how others do it.

Stop buying crap

No other activity of the year brings out hateful, mean, rude behavior in people like Christmas shopping. From pepper spraying shoppers over Black Friday deals to fistfights over stolen parking places, it’s revolting. I avoid malls entirely between Thanksgiving and New Year because I can’t stand the madness.

Now “Christmas is too commercialized” is a popular drum to beat, and maybe you’re even nodding at this point, but here’s the thing… if you buy any Christmas gifts you’re part of the problem. Every year people lament how commercialized Christmas is, but they still buy crap they don’t need to fill manufactured expectations and Black Friday projections.

Things aren’t what make us happy.

My wife and I stopped giving each other presents years ago. Instead we pool the money we would have spent together, buy as much food as we can at Costco, and take it to a local Food Bank. Black Friday gets no help from us.

Tip 2: Find something you care about this Holiday season and invest part of yourself. Invest in time with people you care about, or people who need help.

Make your own celebrations

My first year in Arizona I lived in Manzanita Hall at ASU, on a floor entirely populated by 18 to 19 year old boy-idiots away from home for the first time. Our community room TV was programmed by majority rules, which meant it was generally football games and juvenile garbage that I was rarely interested in.

As a result, my hopes were slim when I rolled in an hour early to try and commandeer the TV to watch the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Charlie Brown Christmas specials. This was kid stuff, and I figured I’d be laughed off the floor if anything more interesting was on. I was wrong.

When other people trickled in over the next hour, every single one was relieved when I told them what I was planning to watch. Every one. By the time Rudolph started not a square inch of floor or wall space was unoccupied. A SWAT team could not have changed that channel without casualties.

Several dozen instant friends all cheered the Bumble, laughed at Charlie Brown, and a few even tried the Snoopy Dance.

As a result, my best Holiday memory that year didn’t come from all the traditional dinners or present wrapping. It came from a group of strangers all sharing their favorite TV shows.

Tip 3: Ignore convention. Find the things you really love about the Holidays and genuinely share them with someone. Maybe family, maybe friends, maybe strangers, maybe someone down on their luck.

My heart of unwashed socks

(cc) Pro-Zak on Flickr

That felt good. My heart didn’t grow three sizes or anything, but a nice venting is good for the digestion.

Now I’m going to dust off my copy of Bad Santa (NSFW), chase some kids off my lawn, and get back to being an anti-social crank.

I hope however you do spend this last 5% of the year, you find untarnished happiness, humor, and fun somewhere in the mix.