Christmas. A time of caroling, gifts, last-minute shopping, binging Christmas movies, social distancing, COVID-19, incessant mask-wearing, lockdown, a whole global pandemic and a partridge in a pear tree. It looks like the Christmas season is going to be a whole lot different this year.
2020 has been quite the roller coaster ride, and this cannot be overstated now more than ever as we enter December and get ready to close out the year. Many universities, including Cabrini, have switched to completely online classes after Thanksgiving break. As we finish the semester completely online, mirroring how we did during spring semester when the world as we know it stopped, many of us are also already preparing for the start of winter break and how we will be celebrating Christmas this year. Many people are going to have to celebrate Christmas very differently this year, possibly forsaking years of family traditions and customs just to stay safe and keep others safe.
Spending countless days inside for months on end trapped in “Groundhog day” has allowed for some introspection for me. I learned to embrace things that I previously hated or had no interest in; I spent more time crafting skills I used to procrastinate on. But oddly enough, there was one thing I started growing to despise that I used to always love: Christmas.
It started when I was already starting to see Christmas ads before Halloween was even over, and it only got worse when I couldn’t even get through the month of November without all my senses being assaulted by grossly saccharine images of people getting swept up in the “Christmas Season.” Over-dramatic reactions from me would range from simply grimacing, glaring or retching at the disgusting sights. Over and over again, when I just want to watch cat videos on YouTube, or listen to music to ease some Zoom fatigue, I’m bombarded with unskippable, annoying, diabetes-inducing 15 second ads that ruin an already sour mood. No matter how many times I refresh the page, the same ads pop up, as if taunting me with their overly sweet, disgustingly saccharine displays of Yuletide Joy.
Ads that used to put smiles on my face now make me scream in frustration at the television screen as my mother stares at me from the kitchen in confusion. I think what makes it worse is some of the Christmas ads that have been “updated” to reflect the current conditions we’re living under. Nice job reminding people we’re still living in the apocalypse. Nice job reminding us all we can’t spend time with extended family without the risk of harming them and ourselves.
Why am I so cynical now? is a question I ask myself a lot when I have these extreme reactions. It’s not just the ads. It’s everything having to do with Christmas that I hate now. Decorations, songs, movies, clothes, it’s everywhere, like it has been every year. But this year is different. This year isn’t normal. Nothing about this year has been normal. Christmas plans with my family have changed drastically. Normally, my whole family will plan out who will be hosting Christmas two months ahead of time. Now, it might just be a last minute get-together with immediate family just like Thanksgiving.
This year, Christmas in general just doesn’t feel as heartwarming and nostalgic as it used to for me. Maybe it’s COVID and quarantine that’s getting to me. Maybe it’s stress from finals and college that are masking the usual joy I feel. Maybe now that I’m in my 20s, maybe I’ve just simply grown up. Maybe being a young adult has made me start to see the inherent commercialism and capitalism of Christmas and become cynical as a result. Maybe the ads are just super annoying this year.
Truth is, I don’t know the exact reason why I might hate Christmas this year. All these negative feelings I’ve had have just distorted the image of Christmas that I don’t even want to take part in the festivities anymore. Every year, I would buy an ugly Christmas sweater just to purposely irritate family and friends. This year, I don’t even have the motivation to do that. I barely have the motivation to even watch my own “traditional” Christmas movies, like “Gremlins,” and “Krampus” and even “Die Hard.”
The only thing I have motivation for is to simply drown my cynicism and sorrows in alcohol like normal adults do. But then I suddenly remember I’m not of legal age to even do that.
It’s official now. I definitely hate Christmas this year.