Setting aside all religious reasons for the simple fact that I am not religious, I see no point to celebrate Christmas. Lots of non-religious people celebrate it, and they often come up with reasons why.
One of the main reasons is “well, it’s winter, everything is cold and dark, you might as well have something to celebrate, right?” I hate this reason. I mean, let me get this straight: it’s cold and dark, maybe five or six useful hours of daylight, everything is dead and it’s pretty miserable, so let’s all pretend like it isn’t? Let’s all sing songs and get drunk and stuff our faces and pretend like the world outside isn’t cold and dark. To most people this probably sounds like a good idea, but to me it seems disingenuous, unhealthy even. If something is bothering me, for example it being freezing cold and pitch black every day, I’m going to acknowledge that, I’m going to feel bad. I don’t just ignore it when I accidentally stub my toe; I’m going to curse the damn object I tripped over. When I’m in a foul mood I want to express that and to repress it and pretend like everything is a-ok would make me feel like a big fraud. Why not be miserable in the winter? What is so bad about feeling bad? It can be quite cathartic. Misanthropes of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your tinsel.
Another reason is the gifts. Gifts are nice right? Everyone likes getting gifts surely? Well, no, I don’t. I honestly don’t. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate getting things for free, if there’s owt for nowt take two as my mum always used to say. I just hate the whole process of gift giving: someone picks out something for you, something you will surely love because they know you so well, and we all know how well that can turn out. Even if they somehow manage to find something I like, I’m a very self-reliant person so it’s most likely that I don’t need it. If I need something, I buy it for myself, and I go by the principle that if I can’t afford it, well then I don’t need it. At this point I probably sound ungrateful but this is not the case. If I get a gift, something that I like, of course I’m grateful, but just feeling it isn’t enough. You have to express it somehow, and of course it’s Christmas, the most magical time of year, so a simple “thank you” isn’t enough, you have to croon over the gift, say things like “oh isn’t this wonderful, wow look at this feature here isn’t that neat, it’s just what I wanted, you’re so thoughtful”. A wonderful culture of raging insincerity is born.
The food is another reason. OK, the food is pretty good. A big roast dinner with all the trimmings and lots of cakes and sweets and whatnot. Well, if it’s so good, why not eat it whenever you like? Which brings me to the main reason why I don’t like Christmas.
Christmas is scheduled fun at its worse. It’s like Groundhog Day, every year the same old stuff. We blow the dust off the Christmas Songs CD that we wouldn’t care to listen to any other time of year, pull out the boxes of decorations we use every year and we all go through the same routine, like that episode of Star Trek where the Enterprise keeps blowing up, except Data isn’t here to figure out how to make it stop. “It’s just once a year!” I hear you cry. Well, it lasts for a month or two, so let’s scale it down a bit. Compare Christmas to a joke, both are supposed to be fun, but a joke only makes you laugh for a few seconds or a minute or so. So let’s say I offer you a deal, I come to you once a day at the same time every day to tell you a joke. For the first few days, you think this is pretty good, I get to have a nice laugh once a day, this guy tells great jokes. But after the first few days you realise I’m telling you the same few jokes over and over again and after a week or two you don’t want to hear another one of my damn jokes, but you have to! It’s Daily Joke Time! It’s traditional now; you have to listen to the same jokes every day! Welcome to my hell.
So I ask you, next December, when you see some poor, sullen faced individual trudging around the shopping centre, scowling at every cheery-with-bells-on song that comes on the radio, for the love of Santa don’t wish them a Merry Christmas, because if it’s me I might not be able to restrain myself.