I’m Still Praying for the Downfall of Christmas

I still hate this cursed holiday. But lest anyone forget, people like Scrooge or Hans Gruber are just as integral to Christmas as Tiny Tim and Bruce Willis.

Not So Deep Thoughts The Grinch
I’m Still Praying for the Downfall of Christmas

It’s once again that time of year wherein Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” plays on a loop through my AirPods, and each day elicits a 10-minute cry. That’s right, folks. It’s Christmas. (Obviously.) And guess what? I still hate it. The pressure! The passage of another year and the cloying reminders of such set to song! The presents I have to pretend to like! The capitalistic pomp and circumstance! None of it’s for me, as I’ve recently come to, not only accept, but fully embrace.

Last year, I wrote an essay about my disdain for this wretched holiday. But, given my colleagues were baffled by my distaste for all things red and green and silver and gold, it was ever-so-slightly investigative. In case you didn’t read it, I admit that I have not earned the right to hate Christmas, nor do I have an origin story that can rationalize my radical stance. As I explained:

With the exception of too many Catholic school Christmas pageants, I can’t immediately recall anything traumatic ever happening to me in December. No one I’ve loved has tragically died or fallen ill, my family has always enjoyed the privilege of affording the kind of Yuletide that might inspire Norman Rockwell, and though I love them, I cannot personally relate to the lyrics of Last Christmas.

So, I spoke to two therapists well-versed in holiday haters who I hoped could diagnose me. In short: they did. It’s all of the expectations stuffed into Christmas stockings that I dread—due in part to the fact that they’re almost never fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people love this time of year—at least, on a superficial level. The lights are pretty and the music is good—especially this kind—and even if those aren’t excitable to you, there’s food and, more importantly, alcohol. Giving (and getting) presents is nice, too. But as I age, I repeatedly land upon the realization that Christmas will never be as magical as it was when I was a kid who still believed in Santa and humanity.


As it turns out, the therapists confirmed a fact that’s even more bleak: I’m not alone. (This wasn’t a shock, of course, but if I ever had to make a Christmas wish, it’d be that I’m the only one who feels this way.) The comments on my essay, too, were confirmation of this: A lot of people have earned the right to hate this holiday. Some wrote that they’d just lost their jobs and were struggling to put on a proper Christmas for their children, others shared that they were mourning a loved one. The anecdotes were endless and frankly, enough to offer me some needful perspective. If these folks can muddle through—and maybe find enjoyment along the way—so could I.

So, this year, I truly tried to be different. After Thanksgiving, I bought decorations: tinsel, vintage ornaments, tiny wreaths with red velvet bows to hang from my kitchen cabinets, and garland. I put up a tree and hung holly. Hell, I purchased a sketched portrait of Ebenezer Scrooge and displayed it on the table in my apartment’s entryway. Whilst making my home a little more merry and bright, I let The Family Stone and 2.5 Hallmark movies play in the background. Finally, I willingly wore a light-up necklace at a few Christmas bars and seriously considered throwing a fête of my own. Still, all of it just felt like going through the motions. Granted, I had very recently been laid off and had a few other—more pressing—things to worry about, but the point is, I did all the things a person is supposed to at this time of year and felt very little but pride in the fact that I put up a tree on my own. Never mind that it’s a miniature one.


Then, my cat ate a branch of holly berries and left trails of red shit all over the apartment. Like any devoted (read: rabid) mother, I rushed him to the vet only to learn that this kind of thing happens in households like mine every year. Our furry friends get into festive things they shouldn’t, etc., etc. Nearly $300 later, he returned to a happy, holly-less apartment, while I returned to my hatred of Christmas.

It may sound dramatic, but there’s a metaphor here. In a way, my cat reminded me of another crucial tenet of Christmas: Martyrdom. So what if he turned out to be OK? My holly—and my participation in this holiday—was inauthentic and his little body’s rejection of it was permission enough to be true to who I am: a sufferer to the spirit of Christmas.

Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton 1988


I know what you’re thinking. I’m a quitter. A few bright red skidmarks—like they were left from Santa’s sleigh—on my carpet and there goes any lingering potential for joy? You’re correct. At my core, I am a quitter. I also am a tried and true hater. I’m okay with it.

Lest anyone forget, people like me—Scrooge, the Grinch, Hans Gruber—are just as integral to Christmas as Tiny Tim, Cindy Lou Who, or Bruce Willis. Ultimately, Tiny Tim would have been ten feet under if Scrooge didn’t have his little reckoning; Cindy Lou Who would never have discovered the true meaning of Christmas if not for the Grinch’s terrorism; and Bruce Willis wouldn’t have gotten any glory if not for Gruber. All of these so-called villains had viable reasons for their hatred, and if it wasn’t for these trauma-addled transgressors, the heroes of the story wouldn’t get to be remembered as such.

In conclusion, to those who love this time of year: Congratulations. And also, you’re welcome! If it wasn’t for me, or the Scrooge, the Grinch, and Gruber, you’d have no context or comparison to let you truly appreciate your appreciation of Christmas. So, in order to ensure you have a great holiday, I wish you a terrible one and an even worse New Year’s.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin