What about the “meh” people?
What if Christmas is not your thing, but you’re trying really hard not to be an asshole? The “Meh” people as I like to call them, don’t get a stiffy over Christmas lights, but don’t want to ruin everyone else’s good time. There’s one in your family I can guarantee that, we are just mostly in the closet.
Let’s go back to my childhood. My parents had one plastic white artificial Christmas tree. It was super ugly. Ugly by 1980’s standards ugly. They brought it out at a certain date and put it away on a certain date, no fanfare at all.
My parents weren’t great at presents either. Sure, there were presents under the tree, but just a little something so you got one. Presents weren't nothing really to get excited about. The only awesome thing about my childhood Christmas was my stocking. My dad did a great stocking that was the one thing I could count on being very cool.
So maybe my lack of excitement over the holidays is conditioning from my childhood. Perhaps, if my parents had been really into the whole thing I would have been all Buddy Elf about it.
Fast forward to myself as a parent. I did the first kid thing where I got babies first Christmas photos and ornament. Plus, the tree for a drooling baby to stare at. Second kid I did the same, plus trips to sit on Santa’s lap. There are photos of my two boys with Santa, both look miserable.
I went as far as to set up a cool Christmas tradition in our house, we left Santa a steak and a beer. The kids would help their father grill up a fat steak put it on a Christmas plate, with an open beer next to it. I explained to my boys that by the time Santa reached our house, he was sick of cookies and on his way home anyway so it was cool for him to have one beer.
Go forward some more to my boys being older kids, neither believing in Santa. They had both figured it out at an early age, but I persisted still setting up a tree, stocking, and hinted at a family photo. It was a real tree damn it, with yearly new hand-crafted decorations. Nothing like my parent’s lame attempt.
However, I noticed that I wasn’t doing any of this because I was into it. I was doing this for my kids. I wasn’t going to be the jerk mom who said “meh” to the little kid stuff but then I started to notice something.
It evolved slowly every year it got a bit more difficult to get help decorating the tree. One year I forgot about stockings and nobody cared (or noticed). I was taking mental notes of this while being pissy about it. The kind of pissy a parent gets when they are doing something they don’t like (like watching the Dolphin show at Sea world), but they are doing it for their kid. Then that kid (or kids) doesn’t bother to lose their minds with happiness over it.
That was the kind of pissy I was becoming over Christmas. Then the pivotal year came; when it was time to put away the decorations and get rid of the large Christmas tree. The decorations I had nagged my boys into helping put up. I now had to threaten to get them to take them down.
This tree was my breaking point. The last pine-straw. It was a pain in the butt to get out of the house. It stained the carpet and broke my vacuum. That was the last Christmas tree in our home.
Guess what, nobody cared. That’s when I started to phase out all sorts of stuff. What kind of stuff? Well, I used to decorate the my house for each holiday. From Halloween to Valentine’s day. The whole house would be gussied up. After that nervous breakdown tree I started skipping holidays. I then stopped on holidays all together.
Yea, that’s right I don’t bother with it. I can hear some of you sneer a bit. It’s fine the boys still get up Christmas morning to a present. A present, the big WOW presents have disappeared as well. I opt instead to take them out to do something cool instead of some big whatever.
Here’s the thing I’m only doing presents because I would feel dastardly if I didn’t. My kids have plenty of stuff, they want for nothing and get loads of cash from families for Christmas. So why should I…..
Ugh, I can’t get there yet. I can’t have that “Listen, kid the grandmothers hook you guys up at Christmas…so how about saving your parents some cash and we skip the Christmas present routine” conversation.
I keep thinking about it, but if I mention it to a peer’s their eyebrows shoot up and I get the kind of looks, you give someone when they tell you they are considering selling their home and living in a teepee.
It’s hard being a “meh” person during the holidays especially if you’ve got kids. I have no conclusion or answer to it. There is no clubhouse for everyone to have drinks in and talk about how they don’t care if Santa is coming to town.
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