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Rant #18
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Here's What I Hate About Christmas: All the Fucking Naysayers.
by Anne Marie Ellison

Apparently, it has become fashionable among the young-hip-progressive-snotty to talk shit about Christmas. Because I'm a sarcastic girl, this crap has been imputed to me. Unacceptable, I say.

Now, I must admit that I have no particular traditional claims on Christmas. But despite, or possibly because of, my dubious agnosticism, I have to say: I LOVE Christmas.

I am often criticized for this sentimental attachment in the absence of any religious feeling. My boyfriend and my father (please no remarks here) both take issue with Christmas. They argue that it has become merely a cash cow, an opportunity for gross consumption, in which we are all blindly guided by the slimy cunning of The Marketing People (who, by all means, deserve to be shot).

But, simply because ugly capitalists have attempted (and, in large part, succeeded) to pervert and distort traditions of the winter holidays in materialistic and vulgar ways does not mean that we should not enjoy it anyway.

Because they try to dictate our tastes, we must react by hating the premise? This is the most adolescent of responses — a child refusing something she likes (something inherently pleasant) in order to punish an authority.

Look, the bottom line is this: I may hate sorority girls, but that doesn't mean I should be forced to stop wearing my favorite black pants.

Here's the deal: let's keep the mess in Christmas. Regardless of your religious affiliation(s) or lack thereof, Christmas is just plain ole nice.

Fir trees smell good. Strings of white lights improve everything. All of this adds warmth to a fairly dreary time of year. Besides, children's projects need an outlet. My little brother is almost 18, but every year we put the construction paper cardinal he made in preschool at the top of the tree.

Christmas is just a time when you can see your family, your friends, and the people in the world who know you best, are most loved yet farthest away, and who — in some sense — define you.

It's a time when you eat better than you have all year — when you cook together and break bread (and among some friends, bottles). It's when you have an excuse to engage in a little ritual.

And as for the gifts: yes, we go shopping, we spend money — even to wrap the gifts. But it's just for the purpose of bestowing tokens of affection and remembrance upon those most important to us. Gifts are supposed to reflect the nature of the relationship between the giver and the recipient, to show a knowledge of the recipient — what will make them happy, what they are passionate about. If you can't do that, don't bother. Buying a gift, just because you need to give SOMETHING, is a categorical violation of the rules.

So, all of you who hate Christmas because the advertisers have stolen it from us can just shut up. You clearly don't get it. And I'm pretty sure that I don't want to celebrate with you anyway. So neener neener neener.

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