The Agent’s Search for Christmas

Time for heartfelt holiday special… in blog form!

As surprising as I’m sure this will be to some of you, I’m not much of a “Christmas person.” I remember that I used to be, but I’m just not sure what happened to turn me into the Scrooge I am today.

I don’t even really hate the holiday; I guess you could say I’m just disappointed with it. It used to mean so much to me, but know I seem to have lost that child-like glee with it and desperately want to recapture it.

So, if you’re like me and want to re-find what Christmas means to you, I encourage you to follow me as I look at all aspects of the holiday season to see (from my perspective at least) what works, what doesn’t, and how to enjoy ourselves again.

The History

It’s missing a few thousand years, sir.
Source: Balsam Hill

The muddy waters of the story of Christmas have always been a sad point of contention with me.

The fact that Christmas’ origins are such a jambalaya of stories and traditions sort of takes the meaning out of the holiday for me. Each seems to contradict whatever meaning I find.

Logic prevents me from celebrating a Christian Christmas because I know evidence shows that Jesus wasn’t even born in December and that most of the celebration was taken from the ancient roman holiday of Saturnalia. I lack the cultural context to truly appreciate holidays like Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Kwanza. I can’t even embrace the children’s stories we told because I’ve never believed the story of Santa Claus – even when I was young enough to (feel free to judge me accordingly).

As such, I think the answer here is to make a new story – to find a new personal definition for what Christmas is to me. In other words, you define the holiday; the holiday does not define you.

The Gifts

“But I need more stuff!”
Source: Partridge and Pear

This is going to sound absolutely insane, but I hate making out my Christmas wish list.

Seriously; I hate asking people for things or receiving gifts that I feel like I never earned. It makes me feel like I’m mooching off of people when those gifts could be going to someone who probably worked much harder than me and could really use them. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the thought and sentiment. It just makes me feel weird – especially if I know they spent a ridiculous amount of time, effort, and/or money to get it to me.

I also don’t like the idea of setting aside a specific day to do something nice for someone. It’s one of those things that you should be doing every day to make the world a better place. Reserving one day for an act of kindness seems to diminish that notion.

If you want to do something nice for me on a holiday, just take me out to dinner so we can share our mutual love and we can both enjoy ourselves. In fact, don’t even wait for a holiday; just call me and we’ll set up something.

The Music

Now THIS would get me in the holiday spirit.
Source: The L Magazine

This is the pettiest gripe I have ever had about any long-standing tradition. My heart just sinks every time I hear Christmas music play on the radio.

I think it’s because I’ve heard them all before. Think of how many people have covered the songs of past Christmases. 45 different versions of Silent Night is just plain silly. I want to hear what Christmas means to YOU – not what it meant to someone else through the filter of your voice.

Also, what new music (new referring to songs written within the last 40 years, that is) that comes out strikes an ill cord with me. There’s a reason why Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is often considered among the worst Christmas songs ever made is all I’m saying.

However, there are exceptions. Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter will know that I’ve found some impressive examples of good Christmas music that does just enough different to be interesting without being obnoxious. The gold is there; you just have to pan for a long time to find it.

The “Togetherness”

Judging from the way they’re smiling, I’m 98% percent sure someone spiked the egg nog.
Source: PersonaBubble

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with friends and the family. After months spent on campus away from everyone, I look forward to it. I just don’t like the idea of dedicating a high holy day to doing it.

Unity,as with the aforementioned charity of gift-giving is one of those things that we should be working on maintaining at all times and, for me at least, setting aside any holiday for it (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) takes away from that by reinforcing the idea that THIS is the day for togetherness. Forcing something like unity defeats it’s purpose; you can’t show how much you care if your being forced to care.

If I could, I’d forgo all of my work, studies, and personal goals just to spend the rest of my life with the people that mean the most to me – not just the days that have been prescribed by history and tradition that we’ve been force-fed since birth. That would be a life well spent by my standards.

Has The Agent Found Christmas?

Actually, in an odd way, I think I have. It was just hard to notice it because I’ve been trying to celebrate it everyday.

The values that Christmas preaches – love, togetherness, charity, and goodwill – are all virtues that we should be practicing everyday. I’ve just realized that I don’t need a special day to reinforce those notions. I was never the Scrooge that I thought I was. I just want to find a better way to celebrate the best qualities of this joyous day.

I’m still going to celebrate this year (any excuse to spend time with the folks and have fun, am I right), but at least now I have a better understanding of my relation to the holiday and hopefully all of you who joined me can say the same.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going go celebrate my new found sense of self by playing in the snow.

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