Luckily, my friend, the talented author Ryanne Strong, has enough Christmas spirit for both of us. Please enjoy this surprise visit from my favorite holiday elf!
Why Your Christmas Crankiness is a Load of Crap
by Ryanne Strong
I love Christmas. From the simple wishes of “Happy Holidays” from strangers, to the extravagant decorations plastered across every public space from late November to January, I adore this holiday. I can never understand it when people tell me they don’t like Christmas.
They always have a mountain of reasons, but they’re never very good ones:
It starts too early. But we’re not allowed to dismiss anything just because of bad timing—bills, deadlines—we just deal with them and move on.
It’s a Christian holiday, why do I have to celebrate it? This one is always amusing to me. You have to dig pretty deep to find the religious element in Christmas, but I guess it’s still there somewhere. It’s been years since I’ve personally laid eyes on a nativity scene though. But, while we’re on the topic of religion, how come I’ve never heard this complaint about Easter? On that one, there are crosses everywhere.
Everyone is too cheery./It’s fake. I’m can’t be sure what these folks are used to, but I am unfortunately immersed in a world of angry, cranky, bitter people most of the time. I’ll take a fake smile from a fellow shopper over getting cursed out any day of the week.
Big family get-togethers are so stressful. Well, yes. Gathering any large group of people together is definitely not going to be relaxing. That’s why, for over a decade, I have been avoiding these big, structured gatherings entirely. For some I visit before the holidays begin, others I come by and help clean up after their festivities have ended. I’ve always valued one-on-one time more than group activities because it allows me to spend quality time with people I care about and often avoid entirely the people that really just add stress to things.
I hate/am bad at giving gifts. You can’t be bad at giving gifts. You just have to know a person and get them something that you want them to have. People are usually happy just knowing that you thought of them—if they aren’t, then they don’t deserve to get gifts anyway! Don’t buy them anything. Although there are sometimes occasions when you have to give gifts to people you don’t know that well, or don’t want to. That’s what gift cards are for.
The crowds are vicious! Ah, yes, each and every year you hear about some kind of holiday-related misfortune. If you Google “Black Friday Tragedies” you get back a list with hundreds of thousands of entries, although personally I’ve never, nor do I believe I know anyone else who has ever been at one of these supposedly dangerous events. I have to believe that some of the stories are at least a little bit of fiction embellishing the darkest part of our society. If that’s the case, perhaps we should take them for what they are: dark stories.
So maybe it isn’t Christmas itself that people don’t like celebrating. Perhaps they just haven’t found a way that really works for them. Like every day, Christmas is what you make of it. And, if you know where to look, you can always find a few of your favorite things.
Ryanne Strong's short stories have appeared in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors, and she will soon appear in both the Inkstains Literary Journal and My Peculiar Family 2, both slated for release in 2018.