On November 1, my husband and I headed off on a mini honeymoon, hungover from the energy it took to pull off our Halloween wedding. As we loaded our travel bags into the trunk, giggling at the surreal-ness of the first day of marriage, we were met with a gorgeous 69-degree day. Postcard perfect, blue sky and all. Off we went, and just before hitting the highway, he fueled up the car, as I headed inside the gas station for snacks.
And, apparently, for my fill of Perry Como.
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," Perry assured me through the cracked speakers, and there it was: Heat crawling up the back of my neck, my shoulders creeping ever closer to my ears. We all know Christmas sneaks in earlier each year, but November 1?
No, no, no.
I'm sure that my therapist would take my aversion of Christmas back to my childhood, and she wouldn't be entirely wrong. When I trek home to New Jersey to stay with my mother, I find myself in the same house I grew up in, sleeping in my parents' old bedroom, unable to quiet the memories of my parents' fights. But that's not it. My father was a man able to swing from joy to anger as quickly as you can say "holly, jolly Christmas." But that's not exactly it either.
I dread Christmas because of the music. Every. Dang. Song. And what's worse is I'm prone to snippets of music playing on a loop in my head, a phenomenon grossly known as an earworm. Sounds enter my ears and refuse to leave my brain.
In 2013, I had "Prince Ali" from Aladdin on a near-constant, mental-loop for months. Months. Think about that song — the way it gets louder and faster and builds and builds and builds. Then imagine it playing in your head for, say, three months straight.
Good times, right?
At Christmas we hear the same, insufferable songs everywhere we go, and — no surprise — I get the same few looping and looping until I want to stuff cotton into my musical brain. Hush now, brain, I think. Shhhh.
There are people who love Christmas songs. I don't know who they are because who wants to hang out with someone who actually likes "Carol of the Bells?" DING DONG, DING DONG. So let's forget about them for now.
If Christmas music flooded my local TJ Maxx, Macy's, and grocery store for, say, a week or so before the big day, maybe I'd be softer on this. But life doesn't stop for the holiday season. I have errands to run all through November and December that don't involve bargain shopping for gifts. Sometimes I just need Swiffer Wet Jet pads or a hoodie or a ham shank. And what I can't avoid — no matter how hard I try — is the onslaught of Bing Freaking Crosby.
Maybe you're thinking, but it's just music. I know that, but I'm talking of the brutalities — nay, the horrors — committed against the pleasure of music. Had I not heard "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" a million times already, would I think it was a good song? What about "White Christmas?" Even just typing the titles feels dangerous. I could wind up with any one of them playing over and over in my head as I try to fall asleep tonight.
I'll get through the holidays. I always do. I'll even don my cheeriest game face. But come Valentine's Day, when I'm shopping for a card for my husband, the odds are good that I'll be humming "Feliz Navidad."
Because if history has taught me anything, it's that that song never, ever goes away.
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Christmas is commonly considered the most beloved holiday. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, to get cozy together with your nearest and dearest… However, more and more people exchange this sentiment for quite the opposite: they hate the season. And, frankly speaking, it’s not out of sheer meanness, to my mind.
Like all kids, I used to enjoy Advent and Christmas immensely. Playing in the snow with friends for hours, reading books with a cup of hot cocoa or finding little treasures in the Advent calendar my grandmother made for me – it was all part of Christmas spirit. Now, however, I have mixed emotions – I find quite a lot of things annoying, spoiling the impression of the picture-perfect festive season. I feel Christmas is becoming more of a show and much less of a festival with deeper meaning.
First of all, I’d like to ask you: aren’t you annoyed by the amount of obnoxious Christmas ads everywhere, from the Net to any shopping mall? Doll-like angels and reindeer, baubles and candy canes, stars and snow flurries start pouring out of web banners, leaflets and billboards in October, if not earlier. It’s also not at all infrequent for malls to put up Christmas trees and decorating shop windows with Christmas ornaments while it’s still autumn. I’ve noticed that being overwhelmed by such amounts of decoration – being, literally, haunted by Christmas symbols since fall – makes you so fed up with these visuals that when December finally comes, all the festive splendor is already a blur. I’m convinced that people don’t really need to be reminded that Christmas is in four months – they remember it quite well by themselves. And they will go to malls and buy those pretty blankets which are a special offer anyway, because they know they’ll need them as gifts in several weeks’ time, but not just because there’s a cardboard reindeer prancing around the shelf.
Speaking of the latter, many people find that Christmas is becoming more and more about commerce, losing touch with its essence. No one is denouncing the spiritual meaning of Christmas, of course, but commercial campaigns appear to be more aggressive each year. With such load of offers, it can be hard to discriminate between what you really need and what you may buy to probably give off at Christmas. It might appear not a problem as such – if you are prone to shopping euphoria, just plan well ahead what you need to purchase and what extras you can afford. However, it looks like this solution is not obvious to everyone, judging by hordes of avid customers and lines at the checkout…
And it’s what I really hate about Christmas – the shopping frenzy. Not only do you waste time because of crowds and standing in lines, but due to traffic congestions as well. People get more tense each day, work extra hours to be able to afford all the gifts, grow even more nervous, have trouble sleeping, concentrating and thus become less effective in all tasks. Instead of slowing down and enjoying the comfort of home they get stuck in another rat race. Consequently, come Christmas they’re too exhausted to celebrate, go on family trips, party with friends, or, in more severe cases of burnout, too apathetic to even look after themselves.
It might strike you as rank pessimism; but I cannot help resenting the whole lot of things that make Christmas now totally different from how I remember it. Well, I guess, no one can change the way it is; but we can do what’s in our power to make Christmas nice and cozy for ourselves and our families.