On hating Christmas, and modeling your children’s behavior

by Eric Marcoullier

Merry. Fucking. Christmas.

I turn into a right bastard around the holidays. I’m depressed, cranky and I have a hair trigger. Christmas is the worst.  I start transforming into the Grinch starts about a week ahead of time — last night I may have referred to a family member as a “fucking retard”. Not to their face, mind you, but I doubt they were confused about my feelings. While everyone else is excited to get more time with their families, I’m trying to hide out in the basement so that I don’t yell at anyone for making noise

I recently started looking at my behavior as it relates to my experiences growing up.  I’ve apparently repressed most of my pre-college memories, but I know that my parents really did their best to raise me.  I also know that my parents fought like mad over the holidays.  I dimly remember a dining room chair exploding into little pieces and lots and lots of screaming.  By the time I was a teenager, we opened presents on Christmas Eve in order to put a bandaid over the annual shouting matches.

So it’s not surprising that I’m miserable this time of year.  I literally have no model for enjoying the holidays.  My parents had rather crappy and abusive childhoods, so there was little interaction with extended family — it was just me and my parents, who were dealing with their own issues.  I don’t know how to sing Christmas songs or make cookies with the kids or even watch Christmas specials while wrapped up in front of the fireplace. Maybe we did those things when I grow up, but all I remember is the fighting.

Someday Royse and Parker will have their own families and the holidays they create will be based upon what I do now.  I doubt I’ll ever be the happy fun Christmas guy, but I can at least create a net neutral holiday for them. Not a lot of the awesome, but not much of the suck, either.  That way, when they have their own families, they won’t have the same emotional hangups I do.  And they’ll be free to model even better times for their own children.

So happy holidays, everyone. You might not be able to make them great, but you can probably make them good enough.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jr December 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

1) It’s not just you.
While I don’t have the same reasons, I also am not a huge fan of the holidays. People try to hard to be cheerful when things are doing their best not to be. Others are so desperate for joy that they turn into complete and utter a-holes to anyone that stands in their way.

2) The Holidays are no different than any other time of year.
You, of all folks, should realize that. You’re a great Dad, and a fairly awesome human being. In some respects, the holidays are a time when everyone spends a week trying to be like you before reverting to their normal state.

3) Your Joy doesn’t have to be everyone else’s “joy”.
So you’re not into green and red. Perhaps peppermint candles stuck in clove covered oranges really isn’t your thing. Screw it. Who cares? Enjoy being with your family. Enjoy watching the snow fall. Enjoy the stars at night and the hot cocoa afterwards.

Hell, the pagans had it right. It’s the shortest days, so make the most of the nights. The weather is crappy, so spend it telling stories around the fire and eating. Listen to the songs that make you smile, even if they’re cheesy. Share the movies you love, boo the villains and cheer the heroes.

So you’re not conforming to Officially Sanctioned and Monitored Standard Christmas Practices and Norms. Big deal. Make it your own holiday.

That’s why they say “Happy Holidays” anyway.


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