While Christmas can be “the most wonderful time of the year” for some, our guest blogger, Javacia Harris Bowser, thinks the season’s social and financial pressures are a bit out of control. She writes about it in her monthly post for WBHM. Javacia joined WBHM’s Rachel Lindley to discuss her advice for surviving holiday stress, just what bugs her so much about the Christmas season and a holiday she truly loves: New Year’s.
When the people closest to me ask me what I want for Christmas, I give them an honest answer: “December 26.”
Call me a Scrooge all you want, but I hate Christmas.
For years I kept my disdain for Christmas a secret, feigning holiday joy as much as I could. After all, saying you don’t like Christmas is almost as taboo as living in Alabama and saying you don’t like college football. The Iron Bowl is much more of a holiday to me than December 25.
Why, you ask? Well, I don’t like Christmas because each year my friends and I spend money we don’t have on gifts our loved ones probably don’t even want. And forced family get-togethers more often than not end in disagreements and disappointment. Most holiday music literally makes me sick to my stomach. And so does egg nog. So it’s probably no surprise that my favorite Christmas movie is Bad Santa, not It’s a Wonderful Life.
But don’t get me wrong, I am not the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Despite my Bah humbug! attitude, I do my best not to steal away other people’s Christmas cheer. I go along with decorating my apartment for the season because my husband loves it. I always buy gifts for close family and friends. I make my beloved Rotel dip for holiday potlucks. I put on a sweater and a smile and visit relatives or in-laws.
I do all of this for the sake of the people in my life who love Christmas. I just wish they’d do one small thing for me: Stop trying to make me like Christmas!
If you believe Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year…that’s great. Really. I won’t try to convince you otherwise. But each year when someone attempts to make me fall in love with Christmas, whether through deeds or debate, I just feel aggravated and overwhelmed. Then I feel guilty because, despite my friend’s best efforts, I would much rather just use that day off to go to the movies.
I know the people who try to make me love Christmas mean well. For them, Christmas is about treasured family traditions and magical moments. I know they want me to have the same warm and fuzzy feelings that they have. But what they don’t understand is that I have those feelings, just not about Christmas!
For me, the stress and debt of Christmas will always trump any feelings of holiday joy.
But December isn’t lost on me. I have favorite holidays of my own: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
On those days I am, as people say, like a kid on Christmas morning. It is on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that I believe in magic. Hanging a new calendar gives me the power to make all my dreams come true. New Year’s Eve is my night of possibilities. New Year’s Day is my day of hope and dreams.
For New Year’s Eve I decorate my apartment, buy a new outfit and throw a party for my closest friends. Last year folks didn’t leave my place until 4 a.m.! And after getting about four hours of sleep my husband and I got up and got dressed for brunch — my favorite tradition for New Year’s Day. And yes, I’m the girl at the restaurant wearing a “Happy New Year” tiara.
I know for most people, compared to Christmas, these days are nothing special. And I don’t bother trying to change their minds. Likewise, Christmas will never fill my heart with glee.
I have my fond family memories. I have my magic. I don’t need Christmas for either.
Javacia Harris Bowser is an educator and freelance writer in Birmingham. Javacia is the founder of See Jane Write, an organization for local women writers, and she blogs about her life as a “southern fried feminist” at The Writeous Babe Project.