I want to start this off by disclaiming that I unabashedly stan Christmas. I would fight all the Halloween apologists on all the reasons that Christmas wins as the best holiday of the year. But it is only because I’m lucky that I am able to love Christmas.
For most people, Christmas paints a picture of warmth and comfort. It is the solace of being surrounded by care and knowing you are loved. There is a direct connotation to spending time with friends and family — anyone you hold near and dear to you.
So we forget that this isn’t everyone’s reality. There are those, by choice or circumstance, who are left feeling that Christmas is only a reminder of everything that’s gone wrong or is missing. There are those who experience only the exact opposite of what the holiday ought to be.
Instead of judging people when they admit they hate the holiday, or instantly labeling them a ‘grinch’, there is merit in taking the time to understand why. Sure, for some it may just be the never-ending traffic or the hellish crowds in the mall but for others, it’s a lot more than that.
Think about the reasons you love Christmas. The first one that comes to mind for me is the time spent with those I care about. Christmas is a constant reminder of the love people have for me, and I for them. Yet we forget that so many don’t have this same privilege. Especially in the Philippines, the reality of being separated from your loved ones is a hurt so hugely felt.
This may come in the form of those who have no choice — students who aren’t able to fly back to their home provinces, parents who have to work through the holiday season in another country, or friends separated by the new directions their lives took. Perhaps worse are those whose choice is in the hands of others. There are children who are turned away from their homes for a gender or identity they cannot choose. Or even when they are physically together they know they are not truly accepted or welcome.
In any situation, the fundamental truth is that there are individuals who are alone. The holidays only work to reinforce that feeling when advertisements constantly throw setups of happy families or barkadas in your face. You can’t blame someone for their hate if it stems from a place of loneliness.
The next big reason we – or at least I – love Christmas is due to the general feeling of goodwill throughout the season. I am one of those corny people who swear that giving is better than receiving. But we have to admit that the commercialization of Christmas has taken this too far. It’s created this mandate that equates your love with your ability to buy gifts.
We kill ourselves just to be able to live up to this impossible standard of Christmas. It’s rude if you don’t gift your co-workers, it’s embarrassing to get your boss a cheap gift, and be prepared for ex-communication should you leave any family member out of your list. But for most people, this kind of gift-giving just… isn’t feasible.
Rather than being a time centered around thoughtfulness and generosity, it continues to perpetuate toxicity. People run themselves into the ground. They’re forced to scrimp and save, then spend every last bit on material objects. They begin to believe that their love is only worth as much as the gifts they can afford to buy.
I would hate anything that made me feel like I was less of a person just because I couldn’t afford something. And this is what Christmas does to some people. So can we really judge a person for looking at Christmas and being reminded of the way it belittles them?
Whatever the case, the overarching theme here is that we can justify dislike when we recognize failure to fulfill promises. Christmas promises cheer that never dims and love that never runs out, but these are high expectations to live up to. Resentment breeds each time this revered holiday falls flat. People will always have legitimate reasons for hating anything — even Christmas. Or maybe especially Christmas.
How do you feel about Christmas? Let us know in the comments!