I love Christmas.
Almost everything about it.
The smell of evergreen and mint and hot chocolate. High levels of frosting on Christmas cookies. When it snows and nobody has stepped in it yet, except maybe the UPS guy. Sledding until your nose hurts. Ice skating poorly. The Nutcracker. Stop-motion animated classics. Family. Presents. Brown paper bags. Mistletoe. Christmas caroling. Red hots in applesauce. Wrapping paper wars. Family arguments about corn-mashedpotatoes-gravy vs. mashedpotatoes-gravy-corn, and, ever the underdog, gravy-corn-mashedpotatoes. ABC Family’s 25 days of Christmas (yes, even all the Harry Potter films that are included for the five minutes of Mrs. Weasley knitting sweaters). The way everything is lit up, all the time. Christmas vacation. Listening to George Bailey scream incoherently about Zuzu’s petals and realizing that life is indeed wonderful because even if you aren’t married to the love of your life, and your brother isn’t a war hero, you don’t live during the Great Depression and you can watch Netflix without stopping for the next two weeks.
Yes, I know. I’ve bought into commercialized Christmas. Hallmark bought my soul. I’m a consumerist, hedonist pig in red and green stockings.
Let me ask you a question.
What do the following things have in common?
- Ebenezer Scrooge.
- The Grinch.
- Potter, the really cranky dude in a wheelchair who tries to shut down the Bailey Building and Loan
If you answered “literary manifestations of a horrible and unacceptable mindset that profanes the beauty of the Christmas season by expressing distaste for the colloquially accepted spirit that should accompany the seasonal festivities” or “they’re all stupid idiot hate-mongers,” you might love Christmas as much as I do.
I’m not a scrooge, nor am I a grinch. I was standing nearest the Christmas tree at my boyfriend’s parents’ house when it mysteriously plummeted to the ground, but if there was foul play, I promise it wasn’t mine.
But some people don’t love Christmas, it turns out. Maybe they hate cold temperatures, and dampness. Maybe they can’t stand big band music, or aren’t impressed by Mariah Carey’s 1994 lyric genius. Maybe they have uncomfortable family parties, or they’re just big introverts. Perhaps they just can’t stomach repetitive music. Christmas lights make their eyes hurt. Manheim Steamroller only reminds them of the violent action they’d like to take against every gingerbread house and golden ornament in North America. Buying people gifts seems obligatory and forced. They’re irked by the fact that some of the plot details in “Rudolph” are kinda hazy. They don’t like shopping, or singing “The Messiah,” or gift-wrapping, or snow-blowing, or acting like the month of December is somewhat more magical than all the others.
And you know what? I respect that.
It’s okay that you hate Christmas! And I’m going to go ahead and say it’s okay that I love it.
You’re not the grinch and I’m not Cindy-Lou-Who (first of all, I could never pull off that hairdo). You’re not the villain; I’m not the hero.
You don’t have to think the things I think. You don’t have to love the things I love. Your lack of enjoyment surrounding the holiday season doesn’t need to negate mine, nor do I need to convince you to holla for holly (eh? eh?). We can both continue to live our lives as we have individually chosen, and I don’t think we even need to avoid each other to do that. We can disagree, and we can even still be friends.
Hint: This is sort of a metaphor.
Another Hint: I’m not just referring to Christmas, here.
I’m very sick of noticing a tendency in myself not only to believe wholeheartedly in my own individual ability to see the truth, but to believe wholeheartedly in everyone else’s ability to be wrong. I’m single-handedly wise, while everyone around me is foolish. I’m single-handedly capable, while everyone else falls short. I think we’ve spent too long trying to save the world from our own perspectives. We’re trying to paint ourselves the heroes in a color-by-number where we each only have the numbers and the colors were long ago lost.
“We in our foolishness thought we were wise/ He played the fool and he opened our eyes/ We in our weakness believed we were strong/ He became helpless to prove we were wrong”
This Christmas, for the sake of the man who makes Hallmark Christmas meaningless and simultaneously makes the whole of existence meaningful, listen. Be willing to consider that sometimes you might be wrong, and sometimes you might be right, and that maybe it’s okay to disagree with someone and actually ACTUALLY consider them better than yourself.
They’re not the villain.
They’re not the hero.
You’re not the hero.
Lauren (Boersma) Harris (’13) is a spontaneous, idealistic, independent, fierce, over-thinking, damaged, adventurous, ordinary megalomaniac with a healthy sense of self-worth and a high word count. She has been a teacher both indoors and outdoors; she loves improvised comedy, backpacking, and writing, even when it’s required.