What is the most emotionally challenging aspect of the holidays for you? Do you enjoy this season more or less than you did as a child?
Honestly, it's shopping. And I'm not just talking about buying presents. When I go to Giant Eagle to get food, there are those Salvation Army people at every door, constantly ringing bells. I hate that sound. I hate how they stare at you hopefully when you walk in and out. I hate when they try to greet you, because then I feel obligated to say something back or give them money, and I pretend I'm preoccupied with something and don't hear them. And then I feel bad because I'm being rude to a charity, and they can't possibly already know that the bell-ringing and talking-to-strangers things really bother me.
And then there's all that Christmas crap they stock in stores. 95% of it is hideous, tacky, creepy, and useless. I can't go to Lowe's without seeing those ridiculous giant inflatable creatures. Every time I see those on someone's lawn, I wish I had some sort of ranged weapon with me so I could use it for target practice and then giggle maniacally as the monstrosities deflate.
The lines are crazy. All the time. The Christmas music constantly plays, and there are only about 3 Christmas songs I actually like (and one of them is just a parody of a Christmas song). And the checkout people wish you Merry Christmas. Even in November. Even if you're Jewish or atheist or pagan.
And when I do buy presents, I almost always put it off until the last minute, and then I dash off to Walmart in the middle of the night, and there are STILL crowds of people there, even though Walmart is usually empty at night. I can't stand the crowds and the lights and the sensory overload for more than 10 or 15 minutes, then my brain just shuts down and I obsess over getting out of there. Fortunately, I've realized that most people don't give a crap if you didn't put any thought into their gifts, and they like getting gift cards just as much, if not more. So I only put thought into what to get the little kids, or my closest friends.
I used to enjoy the holiday because I'd get presents without people expecting me to reciprocate, and I didn't have to go shopping or do anything but decorate the tree. And the whole religiousness didn't bother me as much. Santa was less creepy and ridiculous when he was real. Now I'm just annoyed that it's somehow ok for parents to blatantly lie to their kids for years about some magical fat guy in a weird outfit.
But I will say that there are a few things I like about the holidays. First of all, candy canes are awesome. Second, I get a day off. Third, "A Christmas Story" is one of the awesomest movies of all time. And fourth, I get presents, even if I have to give some too.
The so-called "holiday season" wouldn't bother me so much if it only lasted a week or so, rather than 2 or 3 months. Stores should not be breaking out the Christmas crap before Halloween. At least wait until December, people!