161 thoughts on “How’s Your Christmas Spirit This Year?

  1. Yeah. Between pretty much losing my job and having PTSD flashbacks from recent news events…I just want this year to be over already.

  2. File me under, “I would consider it heaven on Earth if I could crawl into a warm, dark cave on Black Friday and emerge some time around MLK”

  3. So, about the same Christmas-spiritwise, but I am flabbergasted at how quickly it has snuck up on me. Indeed, my flabber is well and truly gasted – I need to stop and enjoy life more often, because damn if time hasn’t accelerated as I’ve gotten older.

  4. Even though things are tight right now (wife lost job in Nov., new job starts in Jan), we’re pretty up. We finally started our shopping early this year, after many failed resolutions so now, we’re not looking to spend too much during winter. Also helps daughter is getting straight A’s in school and is getting even cooler, geek wise, getting into my GURPS books. We have a steampunk supers adventure planed for Christmas break. Dogs are being less than evil, even the new puppy and truck is running. Not much to complain about.

    Hope y’all are doing well during the long dark (unless you’re on the south side and having long days).

  5. No matter what anyone believes, it actually is just another day. You may choose to do this or that or the other things on that day like any other, but it will not change the fact that it’s just a Tuesday. It is the expectations that we place on those activities which make the day different than any other day. More often than not, our fond memories of Christmases past are tainted by the ideas of how we want to remember them. They too were just a day of the week. I refuse to place special expectations on the activities of this one day which were given to me by others. I will use my own expectations to set the bar on how I will feel about the day when it is over.

    Christmas spirit? That is not in my book of expectations for the holiday season. What does it mean?

  6. I’ve always wanted to go full-on John Bigboote and say, “It’s not my damn holiday, monkey-boy!”

    In reality, I’m glad people like celebrating…I just wish they’d leave the Chinese restaurants and cinemas alone do I can celebrate in the traditional Jewish fashion.

  7. Complete lack of enthusiasm: Kids getting older and not asking for fun stuff; there’s nothing I really want that I can’t get for myself – wife feels the same way; there’s no snow (wait, later today); a lot of family won’t be around for the holidays… overall it’s beginning to look a lot like February, when part of me still feels like I could use another nice sunny day on the beach before summer ends.

  8. I mean, hope long days folks have a good time as well.

    I think it’s time to get back to my Nanowrimo thing. Just 33 words away from breaking 200!

  9. About the same as most years. Look forward to a few small parts of the holiday (baking, drinking with family, buying presents for kids) and wish the rest of it (especially the damn music) would just go the hell away.

  10. My family was pretty down this year, but now that they’ve started doing the 27 Acts for Newtown thing they’re starting to brighten up. My wife has trebled our donut budget, but it’s probably worth it.

  11. We’re not a religious household, but we always celebrate the season. If not for my daughter, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to decorate for this year. All this time of year means to me is stress, crowds (which are stressful), and spending money. I worked in retail for years, and retail Christmases cured me of my holiday spirit — and it’s been 14 years since my last one of those. Truthfully, I’m a little envious of people who find “comfort and joy” this time of year.

  12. X-Mas is notable for one thing only . . . I get a week off. Not like when I worked for the auto companies (UAW negotiated some hellacious holidays time off – us white collar workers got some too), but because I save some vacation to combine with the x-mas/new-year time off.

    11 days off . . . to spend time with my wife, to write, read, watch movies, and catch up with processing my photos for the past few months.

    We used to decorate, but as an atheist I’ve lost my desire to labor putting up and taking down lights, tree, and stuff.

    Now we have a few decorations which carry memories (trips), and try not to go out much. I mean, it’s nuts out there!! All them christians buying stuff, going to parties, some even going to church services. Sheesh!

  13. November 23rd -Wait? Christmas? Again? Whose bright idea was that?
    December 7th – Astounded (and mildly depressed) at the complete lack of Christmas feeling this year.
    December 14th – Meh. Not so much
    December 20th – About the same as most years.
    December 24th – OMG I AM COMPLETELY CHRISTMASED UP, MAN. HERE, HAVE A CANDY CANE
    Jan 2nd (or when the bills come in) – I AM A SOLDIER IN THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS AND I WILL NOT REST UNTIL SANTA’S GUTTED CORPSE LAYS BEFORE ME

  14. Okay, so before this morning, I was like, meh, Christmas, whatever. But today I went to see a performance of an theater arts-in-education program in New Brunswick as part of my job. A third-grade special education class created a theater piece based on a book that they studied in class, and one of the students–a little girl of about nine–had terrible stage fright but performed in front of the other third grade classes. She was crying, but managed to stay on stage and be the Evil Fire Queen. One of her classmates stood next to her, and the entire class seemed to protect her and have her back. I’m sure she felt awful. But all I could see was a brave girl with yellow barrettes and pigtails facing down her terror and getting it done.

  15. Most all of Christmas preparation has fallen to me in recent years. Luckily there aren’t that many to prep for so its not onerous. Small tree and all shopping done online and shipped straight to the house. I was done with everything but food shopping 2 weeks ago.

  16. I’m usually very on-board with Christmas and the Christmas spirit. This year not so much. I can’t really pin point why I’m not in the Christmas spirit but I haven’t done any Christmas activities I normally do. No Christmas movies, looking at lights, hot cocoa while decorating. I’ve thought about doing all these things but then end up just doing something else completely non-Christmas related. There’s still a couple days left so I may get in the spirit yet. Where does your Christmas spirit fall Mr. Scalzi?

  17. We don’t give gifts anymore. We take a family trip. This year it was a weekend trek to see the National Christmas Tree in DC, and then onto Baltimore to see Denver lay the wood to the Ravens. It was a good time, but muted due to Newtown. On Christmas Eve and Christmas, we celebrate a very faith-based holiday. So, my wish for all of you is a Wonderful Christmas and a Better/Happy New Year.

  18. The big picture seems so bleak sometimes. Bring it down to the individual level and wish Peace and Joy to someone you love (or like). And forget about the STUFF.
    This atheist wishes you all a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season.

  19. Every year, less interest in Christmas. I suspect it’s a factor of age (mine), disgust with the rabid commercialism of the holiday, and not being very much interested in religious celebrations of any sort.

  20. As soon as I can find a babysitter so that my wife and I can go finish our shopping, I’ll be all Christmased Up. In the meantime, I’m stressed out.

  21. Mine is at an all time low. I still feel absolutely knocked on my butt about what happened last friday in Connecticut.

    I’m putting on a good face because I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old at home and I want them to have the best Christmas possible, but man am I in a rough place.

  22. I sing Christmas carols for pay this time of year, (on a pretty much daily basis) so I tend to exist in complementary simultaneous states of hearty Christmas cheer and maximum burnout until an outside observer asks about my frame of mind, at which point I collapse into one or the other.

    Since I was raised as an odd combination of secular Jew, Presbyterian and Unitarian, (I mostly learned to argue) this duality is in accord with my feel on the season in general.

  23. I’m kinda Meh right now, but I know that this afternoon when the kids start their christmas holidays I i will be infected by them and we will all have a spectacular time playing until they go back to school

  24. My family is a mix of atheists, vaguely-sorta believers by way of cultural flavor, a handful of True Believers of varying degrees, a couple of New Age Energy Healing types, and a couple of people who are a very odd combination of the last two categories. We celebrate “the winter holidays” as a group, whatever certain individuals may do in addition to that. It’s a time for family and friends and too much good food.

  25. Cycling through “The Night Santa Went Crazy” by Weird Al and “Father Christmas” by the Kinks to cheer myself up. But typically I hit the “Christmas Spirit” sometime around Epiphany. Maybe a little “Blue Christmas” by the Asylum Street Spankers for a change.

  26. We are finished with the menorah, behind opening the cute little windows of the Advent calendar, prepping for our observance of the Solstice tomorrow, and we’ll spend a fair bit of the weekend baking stuff for Christmas.

    So “About the same as most years” pretty much covers it.

  27. More than ten years ago, I learned I was going to write a novel. I kept putting it off, researching, but not writing. This year, thanks to NaNoWriMo, I finished the book and printed it. Today I wrapped six copies of the book, one for each of my grand-children. In the dedication to them, I wrote that I hope they write their stories earlier in life than I did. This year, Christmas is about giving.

  28. Meg – we are a mixed family (Dad is Christian, Mom is Jewish) and we celebrate everything. Light the Menorah and small gifts, then Yule, then Christmas. It’s loads of fun. Then again, Christmas is special for us, because it’s the only holiday Dad was always home (he’s retired Navy).

  29. My personal levels of excitement over Christmas are never going to reach the dizzying heights of hyperactivity that I achieved when I was a small child, but this year it’s been more Christmassy than most years.

    I live in a share apartment, but both my housemates are going to be away for Christmas, so I volunteered to host for my little family of 6 (myself, mother, sister and partner and their 2 kids). Mum does it most years, but I think she wanted to pass the mantle to her kids so she offered up hosting to us…My sister can’t really afford to host (fancy food is expensive) and she gets stressed out having guests over. She’s not much of a cook, either, so I don’t think she’d find much joy in preparing a table spread for family…it would just be work to her. On the other hand, I love to cook and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the excitement and pleasure of Christmas with her two kids. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and I’m going totally overboard, but as long as I get a thank you, I don’t really care. Mum is helping me out this year with the preparation, but I suspect that if this goes well, I’ll be hosting forever more.

    My only wish is that my boyfriend were able to share the day with me, but he is visiting his family and we will share a lovely Christmas eve together with my Mum.

    I don’t believe in God, but I see Christmas as an opportunity to show my family how much I care and to do something nice for friends. I don’t have to celebrate the birth of Jesus in order to lavish attention on my loved ones. I don’t have a star on my tree, I have a hand-made octopus.

  30. If it’s all true, then Christmas is the day to celebrate the coming of justice to this place.

    I do think it’s all true. And I am sad about injustice. So I am supremely excited to celebrate Christmas this year!

  31. Even reading the first option in the poll gave me such an overwhelming feeling of euphoria that all the other options suddenly looked like sick jokes.

    Maybe you should consider rotating the options! :)

  32. Pretty good actually. I enjoy the season. I even like the music (although I’m the only one in the family that does). I like having the kids home from college. I like picking out and putting up the tree.

    It’s January and February that send me into the pits of despair.

  33. I’m a college student still taking finals; it’s sort of hard to feel Christmas-y when I’m bogged down in research papers and still thousands of miles away from home. (Our bell tower was playing “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” last night when I was walking across campus, and I wanted to throw something.). My sister at home’s been texting me pictures of the tree they got without me for the first time. I suppose I’ll go all ZOMG CHRISTMAS when I get home, but that’s not until the 22nd.

  34. Happier than recent years past ~ but no longer for “Christ”mas. This holiday has long been my favorite, but I allowed it to become wrapped in how we’ll celebrate once we have kids. Well, fate had a grand ol’ laugh at that, kids are not going to happen, and so I’ve had a few hard years of rebooting my holiday cheer and reconciling what it is to celebrate when faith is no longer the foundation. And somehow, despite all the planning and all the inundation of holidayness, it’s right around the corner and I’m left with “too soon! I have too many things left to do!”

  35. CHRISTMASSSSS!!!! WHEEEEE!!!
    I had no spirit at the beginning of the month, but I have since found out some reassuring health news and am so relieved that I am embracing the xmas spirit. But still avoiding the malls because they are soul-sucking evil. People I love get presents I made for them OR stuff I bought online or from small non-mall stores locally ;)

  36. I voted in the Jewish/Muslim/Pagan/Other/Unaffiliated category and had the wonderful thought, “What if I was actually Jewish-Muslim-Pagan?” What a crazy fun life that would be. I imagine there would be lots of studying to do, I would need to schedule my time better for the temple, mosque, and nature rituals, and it would most likely frustrate just about everyone I met. Hmmm. I see a New Year’s resolution ahead…

  37. I love candy canes.
    I hate christmas carols, holiday parties, red, shopping, gaudy blinking lights, being scolded for hating all of the above.
    If I could get candy canes in July, I’d say aboloish all of December.

  38. Totally ‘meh’ on the holiday, but still a little burned out. Work at an educational institution and it’s full-on Tacky Christmas Sweater competitions. On the bright side, I get to spoil my nephews silly. The christmasness is only fun when one is being Awesome Aunty and spoiling small children.

  39. I’m always a mild celebrator- hooray for gift cards! I must say that it was fun putting up a tree for the first time in several years.

  40. I am not a fan of forced holiday cheer. I think that Christmas, Thanksgiving, and most major holidays have had their original purpose overridden by either crass commercialism or “Let’s have a BBQ!” instead of taking those times set aside for reflecting on and being thankful (to fate, deity, whatever) for whatever caused the holiday to be enacted in the first place.

    That said, the idea behind giving gifts to loved ones you are thankful to have around is a positive one, I think.

  41. I wish it were otherwise, ‘meh’ as well.

    My father is ill. My wife’s business is failing. We’re likely to lose our house in the coming year.

    It’s a good thing I’m pretty zen about worldly possessions, because all I’ve got is my health and the love of my wife and our three cats.

  42. I’m usually mildly excited about it, but I’m not feeling it this year. A combination of family problems, financial problems, and an increased number of holiday events at work (two parties, a gift exchanged, and two themed dress up days is past my limit) have made me anxious for January.

  43. It’s been better than average for me this year so far. I mean, I’m not six anymore, so it doesn’t have that overwhelming excitement to it, but really, it’s pretty good. Had fun shopping online, and I’m looking forward to the family gathering and holiday cheer.

  44. I’m baking bread in honor of Solstice, which happens just after 5am in my time zone tomorrow. I fall under the “Pagan” label, I suppose.

    However, I voted “Meh…” because my husband and I have always celebrated “Chris-Muss” on the 24th/25th (the period in which anyone named Chris does not need to come his or her hair) and this year I’m just not feeling it. Too much going on, distracting me from the seasonal festivities.

  45. It’s John and my first Christmas together, so it’s kind of a big deal. First tree, first Christmas letter, hosting Christmas at our house (instead of it being at my mom’s). I’m really getting into it, but my procrastinatory tendencies are sort of messing it up. But we have a tree and a nativity set on the mantel and the Christmas letters are going to go out…at some point, and we finally have places for all the family members to sleep. So we’re getting there.

  46. Put me in the “Meh” department. I am astounded and surprised that I am not seriously depressed, as my mother died October 25th from complications due to asbestosis in her lungs and congestive heart failure. Mom grew up very poor, but she and Dad worked hard their whole lives and made a great life together. I know she really missed my Dad (he died 7 years ago), & I know her body was giving out, and she didn’t have the fighting spirit any longer.

    Early this year, I moved far away from where I grew up in order to help her and care for her, but it was more than I could handle, so she went to assisted living, then declined and died. Yes, I’m staying in the new place, as I landed a great job & everyone at work is wonderful. I can credit not being totally depressed to the emotional support of friends far away as well as new friends in my new hometown. (Facebook has been an emotional life-saver for me this year.)

    To sum up – I’m staying busy, but not totally feeling the Christmas Spirit.

  47. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but this has not been a good year for me. First, my uncle’s passing, then my Dad’s as well. And now I just hear a dear coworker who had retired early a few months ago with her husband to a new home by a creek in Montana. Her husband of 39 years just died last Friday. He was 59. So, yeah, glad to be with family and all during this time, but it feels more like Thanksgiving than Xmas. Especially after Newtown.

  48. Christmas is my favorite holiday, though not always my favorite time of year. I celebrate it both as a religious holiday and as a pleasant wintertime gathering of family and friends. That said, there is an undeniable rush that always hits me when it comes to holiday shopping and making sure things are taken care of before New Year’s. I hate the stress that comes with it, though I love the holiday itself. And my heart goes out to every person working in retail during the chaos we customers create.

  49. I have a toddler who is excited by everything Christmas, so I’m excited about it, too. We have a Christmas tree and stockings at our own house, rather than just at our parents’ houses, for the first time. We finally got some snow this week.

    Also, to me the main message of Christmas, Solstice, and New Year’s (which are the winter holidays I celebrate) is one of hope and new life coming out of the darkness, which is something I think we need right now.

  50. My niece passed away due to a sudden illness last year. She wasn’t quite 2 when she died. Our family is still reeling and grieving. My sister and her husband are looking for random acts of kindness (even smiling at a stranger counts!) and a report back to keep Catelyn’s memory alive – they are going to read them on December 30 – what would’ve been her 3rd birthday. If any of you would like to participate, you can find out more about it at http://bit.ly/Ubzykd

  51. I’m usually mildly enthusiastic about the holiday season despite not being an observing Christian/Jew/Pagan/whatevahs, even though I despise the crass commercialism. Small presents for friends, but a downgrade on the holiday parties this year; DH and I will be having Christmas Eve to ourselves and only one friend on Christmas Day for lunch. All of our family is in other states, and I have sworn mighty oaths about not trying to board a plane between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This year we are having an enormous staff argument about the official office party, and that is the one thing that might make me want to BURN IT ALL DOWN. Seriously, the infighting is enough to make me call in sick for the day of the party.

  52. I’m not wearing body armor in some third world hole, I’m home with my family, that’s Christmas enough for me.

  53. Ex-Catholic, atheist: I skipped the tree and the nativity scene, although I like them, because no one else seemed very interested. I did buy and am planning to eat all the traditional food, because yummy. Best part: my fifth grader’s class, after a very syrupy Christmas play, sung “Merry Christmas (war is over)” and “Imagine” by John Lennon. I guess whoever chose the latter figured that any parent who would be offended by “imagine no religion” didn’t know enough English to understand the text.

  54. I lost my mother a few years ago on the 19th so for me Christmas still means sadness and loss, though I do find I enjoy watching everyone else being so excited over Christmas, especially children and all the decorations are starting to make me smile again.

  55. well this turned into a depressing post. guess I’m not really surprised. Can’t do much since my wife is the on-call prosecutor the week of Christmas, which is very busy since they get so many suicides and domestic violence calls. And tons of drunk drivers. Stay off the roads.

  56. Sadly, after 27+ years at the same company, my Christmas bonus will be a pink slip as the company shuts down. It’s been coming for a while so it’s not a shock, but re-learning how to job hunt for the first time since the Ford Administration is putting just a bit of a damper on the season. Trying to put up an even MORE MASSIVE Christmas light display to compensate.

  57. I love christmas all the time. but when I’m not sitting at home gazing adoringly at my christmas tree, I keep forgetting it’s christmas time. plus I’m in a depression, which is less normal for me during holidays than seems common. Basically my boyfriend and Christmas are my happymakers and everything else makes me indifferent at best.

  58. I’m an atheist who loves Christmas. I wasn’t feeling the fun, though, until I put up some lights. It’s been a tough year but I’m as cheerful as I can be. I hope next year is better.

  59. I’m pinning my hopes that my granddaughter will infuse me with the Christmas spirit, she’s my only hope!

  60. I’m mostly prepping for a personal winter solstice ritual on Saturday; I still need to shop for a few things tomorrow. MIssed two rituals this past weekend and it looks like we’ll have rain tomorrow. Mostly I’ve been finding appropriate Pagan songs/ seasonal instrumental pieces on the internet, something to listen to while I work on projects.

  61. Things are rough this year. So much to be happy about, good job, health, healthy kids and wife but the events in Conn. really kicked me in the guts. I’m having a hard time enjoying the time of year while thinking what those families are going through.

  62. I’m slightly more enthusiastic for Christmas this years than most thanks to my three-year-old son, who’s decided Christmas is the most amazing thing in the whole world. He doesn’t care about the presents, as far as I can tell, but loves the idea of Santa, Christmas trees, the pretty lights and reindeer, as well as the snowballs and snowmen. (Unfortunately for him on the latter counts, we live in SoCal.) His enthusiasm is kindling a little of my own.

  63. Christmas spirit? I tell you: i rather hope that promised apocalypse comes. Would save me from another d*****d Christmas.

  64. The last straw in a very straw filled year was having my hand crushed in a fire-door by a drunken intern at the office Christmas party and spending the next day in the emergency room having my fingers sewn back together. Bah.

  65. My kids are old enough that what they really want for gifts is money. That takes a lot of the cheer out of the season. I’ve been mostly living at home (undecorated) and at work, so I’m not seeing any of the usual signifiers of the season, so mostly it just feels like one more day to me. We’ll be spending The Day itself with good friends and an amazing dinner, so maybe things will look up next week.

    In general, though, the season mostly means a lot of hard work as we get ready for my husband’s yearly New Year’s Eve party.

  66. I’m a Quaker, so for me it’s “HERE HAVE A CANDY CANE, but don’t tell the other Quakers because they might judge me.”

    (Not really. Most Friends celebrate Christmas. But I’m a Conservative-adjacent Friend with several Conservative friends and acquaintances (conservative not meaning what it means politically), so I occasionally Get Told for succumbing to the material trappings of the holiday, or for not respecting the history of Friends’ persecution for rejecting the liturgical calendar. Which I do respect, but… candy cane).

  67. I’m only excited because I have a 3 1/2 year old who is. I can’t wait for him to open his Quercetti Tubation toy.

  68. Meh. I’m in Ohio, near Lake Erie, so it just doesn’t feel like the season without SNOW. (Hopefully coming tomorrow?!) I’m also 7 months pregnant with my second child and super crabby/tired. Mostly I hate (yes, hate) all the radio stations that started playing 24/7 Christmas music 1.5 weeks before Thanksgiving. And all the people at the stores, who make it impossible for me to go buy a freakin toothbrush this time of year. Oh, and relatives are coming to visit for a week. So I get to cook a bunch. Which is less fun than you’d expect while 7 months pregnant.

    On the bright side, my nearly-3-year-old daughter is incredibly fun. We started the Santa Lie this year, and she’s excited for Santa to bring presents. There’s zero religious meaning behind Christmas for us, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating food/fun/family.

  69. Making dinner for six. An atheist Jew (me), three Quakers, a lapsed Episcopalian and a Muslim. Hoping that the stitches in my tongue will heal up enough to allow me to enjoy the meal.

  70. So excited. So far BEYOND excited. I’m wiggling like a kid at the gates to Disney World. Care to guess why?

    Les Miserables comes out in theaters on December 25th. 2-4-6-0-YEAAAAHH!!

  71. John – as an “Other” voter, here’s why… 1) I live in Eastern North Carolina… still have temps well WELL above any chance for snow. Not a bad thing itself, but white stuff helps with getting into the holiday spirit. 2) While otherwise “About the same as most years” there’s a mixed degree of ZOMG and Meh since we have a 9-month old. We are excited for his first Christmas… but he 9. Months. And teething. And starting to get really mobile. So our decorations have been much fewer than we usually might put up.

  72. For some reason, I feel all Christmas-y in mid- to late November, and it’s all gone by the time December rolls around. At least I get my Christmas shopping done early.

  73. It’s raining outside right now. We had a thunderstorm earlier this week. This winter has been warm even by Northern Kentucky standards. I am traveling to Western Michigan for Christmas with the in-laws. I’m hoping some lake-effect snow will help put me in the Christmas mood.

  74. My christmas spirit? In a bottle on the kitchen table at the moment along with the wine I won in the staff christmas raffle, and a bottle of cider that will form the bulk of the marinade for the shoulder of pork which is about my only concession to doing anything this year. Even more underwhelmed by things than I normally am for some reason.

  75. Bummer for me is that my brother is going to be delayed flying out because of the blizzard in the midwest. He was going to fly in Thursday night, but now it’ll be Saturday afternoon. Other than that, it’s just another year…

  76. My wife and I (and the majority of our friends) are atheists, but we celebrate a secular vision of Christmas as a time to be happy with what we have (and give each other things we’ll appreciate), celebrate the year ahead, remember those we’ve lost, and above all love our kid and make sure she knows we love her–which is about WAY more than giving her presents, though she gets plenty of those, too. She’s five, so Christmas is still a huge deal to her, and she’s terribly excited to see what all those boxes under the tree have inside them.

  77. I’ve been poor all my life. Dirt poor. $300-from-welfare-for-four-kids poor as a kid, then poor as a college student, then $800-from-deadbeat-abusive-husband’s-minimum-wage-job poor as a young wife and mother. The past three years I’ve been on my own with my son — one year jobless and fucked, post-separation; one year scrambling part-time to pay to live in a dump; this year… well, this year I was promoted to Kind Of A Big Deal at my job, so we upgraded. We live in a house, and nobody goes hungry, and things are still tight but we’re starting to see luxuries like plenty of clothes for the kids and no state of panic when the school requests money for supplies.

    I bought my kid a bike and some art supplies, and I was over the moon. I couldn’t do anything else, for anyone else, but I had managed Christmas for my son for the first time ever.

    Today I woke up and found that my boss had given me an obscenely large bonus. A bonus the size of the world (or two months’ pay, you know, same diff). I received this bonus with a letter of praise so effusive I actually cried. I spent all day paying off ancient heavy debts, pre-payng next month’s rent… and buying gifts for the people I love. Friends who have supported me through years of worthless bullshittery, family who have helped any way they could, neighbors who always come by with a hug and a kind word. They’re all going to get something from me this year.

    (And I got a laptop, a washing machine, and a small dryer. I am no SAINT.)

    I can’t believe this is my life now, when I think of my life before. I am ALL CHRISTMASSED UP, is what I’m saying.

  78. “Other”, meaning not only am I short on Christmas spirit, I am trying not to let myself spiral into a major depression induced by general exhaustion and emotional letdown after a wild autumn.

    Also, I live in Connecticut, which this week is engulfed in a roiling black cloud of misery, though only one person I know was directly affected (dead young relative). I was working in the public schools during Columbine, and this is bringing back bad memories. And I am suppressing a strong desire to smack the next person who says anything about little angels getting their wings.

    Tight finances mean I can’t go anywhere to be with the folks I’d like to be with this year, but I am going to very determinedly force myself to go out Monday and try to find a cheap tree and put some lights on it and maybe light a small fire and play some Christmas music.

  79. Sarawrsarawr

    I’m glad that your life has turned around and that you are happy. For me Christmas is about wanting people to be happy…

  80. Other cause while I am Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas, I enjoy it (especially not having to do any of the work). I like the music and all the lights and the Christmas movies

  81. To quote Tim Minchin , I really like Christmas. It’s sentimental, I know, but I just really like it … So, whether it’s white wine in the sun, or the warming quaffer of your choice, I hope you find some joy in your way.

  82. Sarawrsarawr, I am just so damn happy for you . . .

    Susan de G., I am so sorry . . . you very kindly gave me advice on Renaissance dances once, and I hope that spirit of generosity rebounds to you.

    I’m okay. We’re okay. Not big fans of the season, but the CD my esteemed spouse produced – ‘A Cuatro Christmas’ by Jeff Kust – is doing well with the Christmas music gang, and the music is getting Jeff some of the recognition he deserves – all because Mary Lynn pokes and prods and hectors until things get done. Yay, team! It even got ol’ Kust a gig at The Smithsonian early next year. It’s good to have a project pay off, even a little.

    Best to you all.

  83. I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ, but I love the music. Everything from renaissance to The Nutcracker to Vince Guaraldi to Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick’s new Xmas album. Wife and self sing in a choir so this is a big time of year. We just had our holiday concert last weekend. Sang Poulenc’s Gloria with a 35-piece orchestra. Tuesday night a bunch of us sang carols at a few retirement facilities around town. Saturday we’re singing at a benefit for the local homeless shelter. I’m also in an a cappella quartet that does a few holiday gigs.

    It’s also great to get a chance to see my little family including my 8yo niece and 12yo nephew.

  84. Hah! This poll is hilarious! I was just thinking about how much I frakking hate Christmas and thought to myself, “I wonder what Scalzi thinks of Christmas.” So I popped on over here to check in with you and lo-and-behold I get to rant about how much I frakking hate Christmas! Sweet! Thanks man.

  85. I’m a customer Service Supervisor for a Major catalog, and at this point, I would like to be OVER, thank you. I’d also like the hordes of ignorant savages who call me, confused and irate as to why I won’t guarantee delivery of an item ordered the week before Christmas to die in fire.

  86. I had to chose other as we are postponing Christmas and getting ready to pack and move to new houses in two different cities. I’m taking a break from sorting stuff — and boy do we have a lot of stuff.

  87. It would be more accurate to call it the White People Apocalypse or something. Mayan astronomy/timekeeping/religions never “predicted” an apocalypse for 2012; I know it’s ~just a joke~ but real-life present-day Mayans are getting a bit fed up with the same old unfunnies.

  88. Due to losing one job and not knowing until a couple of days ago whether I’d have another next year or not, I left it too late to book flights home without paying through the nose. Meanwhile, all my friends are either out of town or busy with their own families. So I went shopping yesterday and bought a couple of presents for myself: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks and a bottle of 16 year old Lagavulin single malt. That’s my Christmas Day sorted.

  89. Right now I’m kind of meh, but I know once I get on the plane to visit my folks and fired up my one Christmas album on the iPod (Tras-Siberian Orchestra) I’ll be raring to go. (Barring terrible things with the plane, of course.) What I’m really excited about is New Year’s, because I get to throw a great big party and all my friends can come because they can all do brunch on New Year’s Day. And then there’s having almost a week off from work.

  90. The first Christmas I spent alone was really hard, but you can get used to just about anything, y’know? I’ll probably do my annual reading of Christopher Moore’s _The Stupidest Angel_ (it’s a little like “The Gifts of the Magi”, and it’s got zombies!), and maybe Kotzwinkel’s _Christmas at Fontaine’s_. I’m bummed because I can’t get to Dickens’ Fair ( http://www.dickensfair.com/ ) this year — my left hip is disintegrated to the point of fairly constant pain, and the left leg no longer bears weight. Oh, and the Mayan prophesy thing? They ran out of rock, ok? They were going to start a new one come 12/22, but there were these pesky Spanish invading, and they never got to it. So after tomorrow, summer’s coming — be of good cheer! (And if you’re in the Southern hemisphere it’s already summer — party down!)

  91. Last year I was unable to find a parking place in a liquor store parking lot because people attending an evening service at the church which shares the lot had filled it up. I am hoping for something equally startling to jolt me out of a general feeling of, “Meh.” I do love some of the music–the religious stuff, which is a bit odd since I haven’t believed in over 40 years.

    Love the comment about wondering just what Santa’s corpse would lay before her!

  92. I’m in a strange mood right now. We had a major apartment complex (about 200 yards from the house) burn down last night. I’ve never seen a fire this big and embers were hitting close to the house. We had to turn on the sprinklers and had to pack up the cars with everything we wanted to save. This took less than 20 minutes so I feel a little better about what our priorities are about. So far there are no known casualties. But at least 50 families, possibly 100, lost everything, probably much more.

    What made it a better Christmas was that we could go out and give the people who just lost everything clothes and blankets (one guy was dressed in a sheet!) It will be an interesting couple of days as we try to figure out who needs what.

    That made this an interesting Christmas!

  93. I got a new job a couple of days ago, after spending most of 2012 unemployed.
    My wifes car engine blew up yesterday, right after I found my grandmother sent me an obscenely huge check.
    We had a miscarriage earlier this year. While being slightly frustrated that we were both turning 40 and already had a 6 and 3 year old, not being a parent again was a blow.
    Which was brought back to the fore when the new baby care package arrived a few days ago from Enfamil.
    But we’re happy, healthy, roof over our heads, current on most of the bills, and I spent an hour today watching my kids play in the snow. and really understand what that was about. Plus we’re going home to visit my family for the holidays, which will be nice.

    Life is good. Christmas is OK. The kids are taken care of, I bought my wife a new Iphone, and tomorrow she gets a car. Best Christmas for her in awhile…. :-)

  94. Other: with Christmas so close to the end of the semester, the kids are still studying for midterms and I’m still trying to finish up work projects. So we’re not really feeling the Christmas spirit … yet.

    But we will celebrate with our extended family this weekend; serve at the Citywide Feast on Monday helping distribute food, toys, and clothes to those who need them; and attend church Monday evening. By then, we will feel the spirit.

  95. Two years ago Mom died three days before Christmas.
    Last year husband had kidney surgery two days before Christmas.
    Last week was told I have carcinoid tumor in small intestine and I get to swallow a camera tomorrow for breakfast. CT scan and meet with surgeon next week. I am beginning to associate holidays with hospitals and disliking that very much.
    Christmas spirit? Counting my blessings: fantastic husband, great job, wonderful boss, loving family and friends and a fuzzy grey cat purring in my lap. Could be much worse. I’ll keep reminding myself :D

  96. Lousy. It wasn’t so great to begin with, because I’m broke, and because the people who mean the most to me are either dead, or they won’t speak to me. Plus, with what happened in Sandy Hook, I’m really depressed and horrified about that. I teach part time, so you’d better believe that whenever there is a school shooting, I’m really concerned. But things could be worse for me I guess. I’m employed, and I have a roof over my head, and I see an end to my brokeness in the coming year. Plus, I am seeing some small success with my writing. I will probably spend Christmas with a friend, and check out a Chinese buffet. It won’t be the best Christmas ever, but it will be okay. I think about the past and how good it seems now. Time to travel and be with friends and family and the future seemed like a keen adventure. Now it does’t. But as the song says, “The World Keeps Turning.”

  97. Astounded (and mildly depressed) at the complete lack of Christmas feeling this year.
    I feel particularly lucky, but the Christmas spirit is lacking this year. Its just a tough one. I have a two year old, work full time, school part time, and my wife just recovered from back surgery. I also can’t do anything without being reminded of Newtown, CT. Either its in Facebook, Twitter, news, etc. or just hits me in the face when I’m giving my little boy a hug and thinking about all those kids. After all this I just don’t have a lot in the tank left to get excited. I can’t say enough that this is an observation, not a complaint. I know exactly how good I have it.

    So this year is more going through the motions than being into it as much but I think next year will be awesome. Graduating in May with my Masters, hopefully everyone is healthy, and I think at 3 the Christmas magic will really grab my little guy and we’ll have a ball. Of course there is some time left, hopefully I’ll get into the spirit of things in the next couple of days. Have fun and stay safe everyone!

  98. This is my first Christmas as a divorced father. I get to see my daughters once or twice a week. I’ve been in a hell that is known as job searching, so I can’t get them gifts or make them dinner or anything. I miss them so much and wish I could help their mom out more financially, but it just hasn’t clicked for me yet. Keep on trying, though. Something will happen soon, it’s just that this has been a very, very hard year for me.

    If anything, I’ll just be happy to see the ass end of 2012.

  99. My Christmas spirit suffered an early and critical hit as a result of working 10 years of retail between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six, starting as a “Christmas Casual”. It resulted in a somewhat phobic reaction to large crowds in malls, a strong dislike of Christmas shopping, and a twitch which manifests when I hear American winter festival songs over the shopping centre PA.

    Perhaps I should explain this last. I’m in Australia, where Christmas actually happens about three days after our Summer Solstice. So over here, the weather is starting to heat up. Not that this manifests as a change in the temperature of the air-conditioning at the average shopping mall, of course. So imagine spending an eight to twelve hour shift working away in the air-conditioned confines of a shopping mall, away from any sight of what the weather is like in the outside world, hearing songs like “Frosty the Snowman”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” (I should point out – in the climate I’ve spent the majority of my life in, winter is at worst cold, wet and windy. Snow doesn’t happen at this latitude unless you’re a lot higher up than my home city is). Then, at the end of the day, you walk out of the doors of the mall… and get slapped in the face by the heat radiating off the asphalt of the shopping centre car park (placing trees to give enough shade means the makers can’t cram more parking spaces into the available area… over twelve hours of sunshine makes a dark, flat, horizontal surface Very Hot Indeed).

    Now do that for ten years straight.

    See?

    (My Christmas spirit was also not helped by there having been some rather significant familial trauma happening around New Year, meaning that Christmas and the week after it were basically spent by certain family members getting all geared up for their anniversary trauma to remember it. I have lots of memories of very tense, very formal Christmases, and not that many of calm, quiet ones. There are some very good reasons why I tend to identify as pagan pantheist, rather than any variety of Christian).

    Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’ll put on my Christmas mix (which includes Tom Lehrer’s “Christmas Song” and “Jolly Old Christmas Time” by Weddings Parties Anything) and get into the right mood for trying to do about two weeks worth of grocery shopping in the one hit.

  100. 2012 was kind of sucky overall, so I am really glad to leave it in a few weeks.

    We celebrate “Kitschmas” which means it is totally fine to enjoy childhood favorite tv shows, light a menorah, and have some evergreen in the house. We hung a nice swag of branches over the windows in the living room, which brought in a nice woodsey smell.

    We will be meeting up with the nextdoor-neighbors to walk around on Monday evening and sing non-xmas carols. we start with Margaritaville and just sing along with modestly amusing pop songs on the portable IPOD speaker thing for the confusion of other people.

    We also sing Sweet Caroline and this year a special rendition of “Going to the Chapel” in honor of the fact that we won the right to marry in November. If I could get the wife to go with me on JoCoCruise03, perhaps we could pursuade John Hodgmans to sign our wedding license. that would be fun..

  101. We moved to celebrating the Winter Solstice instead years ago. Tomorrow night will be the prime rib, A List bottle of wine, etc. Otherwise, it’s our yearly downtime since a stretch of unstructured time is a real gift. We only buy a few gifts for the granddaughters, so we’re off the Christmas consumption carousel, too.

  102. I boycotted this year. Out of my entire extended family I am the only one who is easy to buy stuff for, and I just refuse to do it any longer. I made it clear to anyone who asked that I wasn’t buying anyone any gifts under any circumstances, nor would I accept any, and I was prepared to be unpleasant about it if necessary. That said, beyond the gift-giving aspect I’m still in. We’re doing two Christmas dinners with the two sides of the family and I actually recorded a video in a Santa costume for my students. I just am not doing gifts any longer. The rest of the holiday season I enjoy quite a bit.

  103. Sarawrsarawr: AWESOME!!! As for me, since I no longer have kids at home and way too many grandchildren/great-grands to gift over the holiday I am not too excited. As a Christian I look forward to the celebrations of my faith. This year I am enjoying the excitement that my niece and her two much younger brothers have. The boys are 4 and 7 and my niece is nearly 17 – their mom and dad past 70. Isn’t adoption wonderful? To those of you not celebrating Christmas, I wish a pleasant and happy December and a safe and sane New Year. Merry Christmas to you, John and Krissy and Athena. I love you all . . . Mom

  104. Wow, lots of interesting, poignant, and even some heartbreaking posts. I hope that 2013 is an improvement for everyone who’s had a rough year.

  105. I love Christmas, mostly because it’s spiritually significant for me, but also because I just enjoy the fun, the decor, the shopping, the music, and the lights. But my sweet and precious Mama died of cancer last year in November, and this is the first Christmas that I’m celebrating without her. Last year I just numbly passed the time in the homes of friends. It’s a challenge incorporating traditions that bring comfort while also instituting new things that speak of moving forward. I miss her like wildfire. It’s weirdly bittersweet to be grieving during my favourite time of year.

  106. I was pretty much “What, again? Harumph. Oh, well, it’s gonna happen” until this morning, when I learned of the death (sudden, accidental) of a friend–in fact, the friend who turned me on to this blog some years ago. I’m not sure he ever commented here, but he was a constant reader. Back when we lived near one another, we enjoyed together a couple of schadenfreude pies made from Scalzi’s recipe. Anyway, tonight I’m aware that Christmas is some time in the next several days, but I’m in that weird bubble that you get into when a loved one dies. You know real life is out there somewhere, but it somehow doesn’t apply. I don’t even know how I feel about Christmas at this point. I wouldn’t have seen my friend, so it’s not like his death leaves some gaping hole in the holiday. It’s more like “Christmas? Yeah, I’ve heard of that. Next week, you say? Hmm. Okay.” And then I draw a blank. Weird.

  107. Nobody bought me Redshirts off my Amazon wishlist yet (maybe I’ll get the paperback at my birthday… or I suppose I can listen to DH’s audible copy on the long drive to the cold and snowy midwest), but in a few short days I’m going to get a nice pile of Jim C. Hines books. It’s always nice newly discovering an author who has already written a bunch of stuff. So yay commercialism and presents and wishlists ‘cuz they bring yummy books. And Merry Christmas!

    And my condolences to those of you mourning the loss of loved ones. :(

  108. I’m not feeling it this year. Last year at Christmas my brother was in the terminal stages of cancer and I had hoped this year would be happier; but with my dire financial state and the horrible events in Newtown, I’m just this side of despair. If I can get myself to Christmas Eve service at my church, I think that’ll help me get out of my funk and into the proper frame of mind. Christmas can be more than presents and decorations—I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

  109. We’re spending this Christmas in our first house (first time homebuyers)! I’ve spread around our apartment decorations in EVERY ROOM, we splurged on a HUGE (7 foot) tree and now we have NO MONEY for presents. All in all, couldn’t be happier! (A not insignificant portion of this year’s Christmas cheer is supplied in liquid form.)

  110. I put in “other,” which in my case means “You know that one kind of TV movie, where there’s this one kid who really loves Christmas but she’s worried there won’t be a Christmas this year because everyone’s fighting, and one person isn’t coming because Villainous Scrooge Analogue wouldn’t let them have time off, and someone else IS coming because she’s leaving her husband and she’s bringing her seven kids and two dogs, and the Christmas cookies catch fire, and the tree catches fire, but GOSH GOLLY DARN IT it is the SEASON OF MIRACLES and she is going to try to bring everyone together and make sure it is a MERRY CHRISTMAS AFTER ALL, even though she is increasingly worried that Santa might not be real? Yeah. That.”

  111. I hate xmas but it’s not Santa’s fault so I’m going to leave him out of it. Just wish I wasn’t so tired…

    Best wishes to everyone this year though, whether you’re enjoying it or not!

  112. My birthday’s Christmas Eve, so that’s what I’m looking forward to this year. Christmas itself, meh.

  113. My grandma always had a party at her house on Christmas Eve. She died in September. So, Christmas is probably going to be hard for the family this year.

  114. This is the first year in a long time that we had disposable income and were able to buy each other Christmas gifts along with the kids. I’m actually obscenely excited about this. I feel a little bit like a kid again.

  115. Hung all my lights across the front of the house last night, sweating profusely in very humid 40 celsius heat and getting eaten alive by ants. That’s right northern hemisphere people. In Australia we celebrate Bizarro Christmas!

  116. Christmas is very important to me, but it’s a day, not a whole month (or more) and it’s not about shopping. Christmas is going to the evening service and singing Silent Night in German, holding candles with all other lights out. Christmas is spending time with my adult kids (no other family close), we sit in front of the fireplace, play games, eat nibbly appetizer food, because I don’t cook. Presents are usually small, but that’s all we need.

    This year is a little subdued, because one of our cats has been sick and died this afternoon. Some of the Christmas money went to vet bills, but it was worth trying to save her.

  117. I have no family and have some issues with my friend’s family – this year I’m going to try to skip the visit there because a week ago one person decided I’d offended when I certainly didn’t mean to (not my fault they responded like a spoiled baby). And since my car decided to have a nearly $700 repair problem, I am sad I can’t get any presents for my few, wonderful friends. So, all in all, this Christmas blows.

  118. I wish I could’ve chosen the Jewish/Muslim/Pagan AND the “Meh, not so much.” I’ve done the shopping for the nearest/dearest (daughter, roommate, a little something for the ex husband, and scrooge everyone else). I’m even trying my hand at making something for the kid, but it may get pushed off for her birthday, which is only a few weeks afterwards. That’s about as much as I’ve got right now. I just don’t have the health, energy or peace of mind to celebrate Yule and the Solstice like I should.

    I’m underemployed, and I work Christmas night because my bowling center is open 365. Christmas music is mandatory, has been since Black Friday, and the manager has it set to the Traditional Christmas channel, which doesn’t mean what it should. Traditional is “Silent Night” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”, preferably sung by a choir– NOT “It’s A Marshmallow World In the Winter” and “My Favorite Things” (Yes, THAT ONE) and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (creeepy), along with the more traditional ones, all sung by 50s crooners, eight hours a night, five nights a week….

    Oh, and if I have to hear “Ring, Christmas Bells” one more time, I may scream. Taking my favorite carol and shoe-horning heavily Christian lyrics into it… a travesty.

    The only thing that will save me is our new Christmas tradition. Since the husband and I split mid 2011, it’s been rough on our teenage daughter. Her Christmas List ended that year in “my family together for the holiday.” So at 2 AM on Christmas Eve, I crept over to the old house, wrapped presents with the ex, fell asleep on the floor, and was there for her first thing Christmas morning. It was on her list again this year, and I’m glad for it.

    Wow, a lot longer than I meant this to be, but thanks for giving us a place to vent and commiserate and hold on to each other, John.

  119. Suffice it to say that it’s going to be spent waiting for the results of certain health tests, and I can’t really think about anything else. So this year, not so much. Shame as it should have been a really good one for lots of other reasons.

  120. Nothing against Christmas and those who love it. (Lots against cloying cacaphonic canned crap in stores et cetera but that is such a boring gripe, so Christmas balls to that.) Still, since I’m not much of a celebrant, I will (as almost each year) work those nights at our hotel for the homeless – and that’s just my regular job, by the way: no saint (or Christmas martyr) me.

    So, a bit of a silent night, dozy night, shepherds meh at the sight, for me…

  121. I usually love Christmas but this year it’s different. Here in Sweden there has been a lot of commotion lately. First it was a teacher who didn’t want a little boy to dress up like a gingerbread man at school, the reason is somewhat unclear. The mother called the news and said that it was because of anti racist, politically correct people who didn’t want to offend foreigners/immigrants (read Muslims). People got crazy and it was everywhere, on the front page of every newspaper, Facebook groups with tens of thousands of members and so on. They were saying that soon you won’t be allowed to celebrate Christmas at all and that we have to take a stand or it will be too late.

    The next incident took place about a week later. Every Christmas eve since 1960 there has been a Disney movie (a bunch of short movies put together) on TV. It’s the same one every year and it has become tradition to watch it (you get really sick of it after a couple of years). This year Disney decided to edit the movie and cut a couple of racist caricatures (we’re talking about two minutes of the movie) and it was the same circus all over again. Grown people were talking about how their Christmas was ruined and that it was actually racist to delete the scenes.

    This is all used by the far-right party who are spreading lies to agitate people even further, like how you can’t sing the national anthem in school or use the Swedish flag. Of course none of this is true and people are getting all worked up about nothing. Soon they will find another reason to turn people against foreigners and give them an excuse to become even more racist.

    This is not what Christmas should be about, we should be better than this.

  122. Grandkids are definitely making the difference this year — we celebrate both Haunakkah and Christmas (mixed household), and watching the grandkids enjoy the whole Santa and the “Haunakkah Fairy” is just phenominal. If it wasn’t for that, it’d definitely be a “meh” — same old problems (and political issues), same stupidity (and politicians). Santa should give out dope slaps rather than coal. It’d be nice to see a change for once.

  123. Normally I’m a ‘ZOMG I AM COMPLETELY CHRISTMASED UP, MAN. HERE, HAVE A CANDY CANE’ person but this year, lots of stressful stuff going on, plus have been busy working like crazy on a paper for uni, so. Not so much this year. Still, gimme a few days, I’m be hyped up.

  124. I’m coming up on a year and change in a job working in an industry I hate that leaves me less free time than I’d like. (It was the only place hiring a year ago, and my debt was too great to say no.) I HAVE, however, been working on such a good debt repayment plan that I can afford a pay CUT when I start looking for a new job – and I will be able to afford to do that in February. So I’m more like “meh, Christmas, whatever, bring on Groundhog Day already”.

    I’ve also realized that I tend to want to hibernate when the light levels get low, so I’m fighting drowsiness harder this time of year.

  125. I’m kind of enjoying it. I’ve been busy so it doesn’t feel too Christmas like. Need to go downtown to the Christmas market and that will get me in the mood. (The US needs European style Christmas markets – they rock.)

    Taking the kids skiing in Slovenia for their big present. Should be fun. Then in January I can celebrate it again with my orthodox friends from further east.

  126. I’m wishing I could just go ahead and jump past New Years. I’m NOT looking forward to the 25th, the 27th, or the 1st.

    Christmas last year was the last time I was able to see and speak with my mother. Due to some plumbing issues I wasn’t able to go see her the next two days before she died on the 27th. Funeral was January 1st.

    Can I just go ahead and move up to say mid-January?

  127. I am Jewish… well Agnostic and very apathetic towards religion but I love Christmas! It is no longer truly affiliated with a religion and is now just a day on the calendar. I am excited for Christmas because Les Mis comes out! Have a great Christmas! Plus why make such a big deal over someone wishing you a happy Christmas? I mean it is a day. That’s like punching every other person that wishes you a Happy Wednesday because you don’t believe in Odin. (wednesday comes from Norse mythologies Odin who was onc called Wodin. So it was originally Wodinsday) Well any-who have a Merry Christmas and a great Wednesday when it comes around!

  128. Mostly meh. I think I only have so much holiday spirit stored up and as the holiday season apparently started September 21st this year, mine was depleted quite a while ago. Most of my joy comes from the two-week break away from my students.

    But…it did snow this week (coastal Washington, where it rarely snows) and I’m making Star Wars Christmas cookies with my niece and nephew today. Plus, I just found out that I can add meeting her favorite author to my niece’s gift this year. (Darren Shan — sorry, Scalzi; she’s eleven.) So the bah humbug is wearing off a little. I doubt I’ll make it to ZOMG CANDY CANES! But I may make it to arm-wrestling my nephew for the 24th door on the LEGO advent. If anything can reinvigorate my Christmas spirit, it’s Maul Santa and a giggling eight-year-old.

  129. We decorated so lavishly for Halloween that dozens of neighborhood kids apparently begged their parents for weeks to “drive past the spider slaughterhouse” every day on their way to school. Naturally we thought we’d go similarly nuts with Christmas lights; it’s our first year in a new house and we have to show the neighbors how crazy we are.

    But no. December hit, and we have mentioned our Christmas lights twice, in passing, and the boxes remain in the basement. Yesterday, my dog left a pile on a deflated Winnie and Tigger Christmas blow-up abomination in a neighboring yard. He pooed on Pooh, and I thought, “Yes, that sums up my feelings nicely.” For Christmas, we have now decided to rent a cabin in the woods of Ohio and turn our cell phones off for five days. I don’t really know what led me here (a thousand little things, no doubt), but I am more weary of the season than I ever have been before.

  130. This christmas is the first one that my son will really get presents and possibly Santa, so I am really excited to make it memorable.

  131. Given that the “War against Christmas” is being fought entirely in the imaginations of offence kleptomaniac s, I had to choose that option. It was a moral imperative.

  132. I work in an ER. Which, don’t get me wrong, i love. But Thanksgiving to New Year’s is full of a lot of soul-dragging stuff on top of the usual workload: not only do you get your usual physical things (car wrecks, snowblower accidents, slips on ice, Christmas decoration-related falls–no really), but you also get people who try to wait out illnesses until after the holidays, which never works well, and then on top of that there’s the extra pressure of the holidays and all the things they mean to people, which leads to an increase in overdoses, suicide attempts (and, sadly, successes), child abuse, and so on. Oh, and it’s usually the start of flu season, croup, RSV, the gastrointestinal out-both-ends-bug, and so forth. And, of course, it’s a job where not only do you not get holidays off–we work every three holidays–but at my place of employ, we’re not allowed to take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s without finding coverage–possible, but difficult. (Ironically, my sister and her husband both work in manufacturing, so they always have that week off of work, which adds its own sort of pressure.)

    On top of the increase in work heaviness, it’s the time of year when i’m running around like a loon trying to get presents purchased, making negotiations with various family members and coworkers to try to figure out how to get together with family at *some* point during the holidays, and dealing with the fact that as a night-shift worker, the sun sets before i get up for work.

    The good news is, my immediate family has a standing rule: Christmas is for sitting around in your pajamas, making a really good meal, and otherwise Not Doing Anything. And they’re willing to be flexible, when i have to work on Christmas itself, to move the day to whenever we’re together celebrating Christmas. So once i actually get to Christmas itself, i am chock full of the holiday spirit. It’s just the getting there that’s a really, really long slog.

  133. Christmas is Tuesday. Shopping ain’t done, tree ain’t bought, stockings are not hung around the non-existant chimney! This is my second year working retail and, let me tell you, nothing ruins the holidays like dealing with people doing their Christmas shopping. The anger, poor manners, and lack of civility a shocking number of people display really is quite a downer.
    But, it will be over soon, as people return all the gifts they got in exchange for gift cards or cash.
    After that? I’m throwing gear in the back of the truck and going skiing for a couple days! Will celebrate then.

    All that aside, I hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas, and that the new year is a happy and productive one!

  134. Normally, it’s a fairly melancholy time of year for me. While I enjoy the concept and the general good cheer, I’m a bachelor and an agnostic so my focus has always been on my parents and my sister’s family. Last Christmas was pretty nice, hosted at my house for the first time, and the turkey I fixed came out fabulously (my dad’s words, not mine).

    Then both my parents died in April, (prostate cancer and Parkinson’s) so things haven’t been so joyful this year. On the bright side, my brother-in-law finally seems to have found regular full-time employment, and my job is keeping me busy. So, while I still have much to be thankful for, that’s been rather overshadowed by the gut-punches we were dealt.

    This year it’ll be at my sister’s home, with a Christmas Eve party at the home of old family friends, so I won’t have to subsist entirely on memories of Christmases Past. Still, not one of the more joyful holidays for me.

  135. A year ago on the 16th, my cousin was killed in a car accident. It was a week after his 30th birthday. His funeral happened two days before his baby girl turned 1. Just a few short weeks ago, my grandmother passed away. It’s been a year of loss for my family, and I think for all of us the holiday season is overshadowed by the grief of losing so many people we loved this year. (My grandfather preceded my cousin in death by a couple months.) Between that and a month of pneumonia/ear infections, my holiday spirit feels muted this year. I look forward only to a quiet day home with my husband and our two furballs and seeing Les Miserables.

    (That sounded horribly depressing. But it’s been a rough year on my family.)

  136. Christmas for us includes lots of time with friends and special, happy meals. I love the lights and snow and am thrilled the days are getting a little longer now. December is long and dark here.
    I hope for all best to everyone here in 2013.

  137. The head imam of the biggest mosque in Australia declared a fatwa on Christmas on Friday, and declared that it was a sin for any Muslim to wish anyone a “merry Christmas” or even attend a workplace Christmas party. Almost every other Muslim in Australia told him to shut the fuck up. That’s what you Americans need in the war against Christmas–pissed off Muslims.

  138. Pleased for Sarawrsarawr, and sorry for those who are dealing with health issues, economic issues, and loss (I had a relative die some years ago just after Xmas). As a guy who teaches for an after-school program in multiple elementary schools, I’m trying not to think about recent events.

    But. The travel gods were generous for my cross-country flight. I get to see my parents, and my sister and her husband (missed them last year), and my best friend since I was 3 years old, and my Christmas shopping is done. In the meantime, for those with internet connections, two free Christmas presents, one of which I’m sure is familiar to readers of this blog (it’s JoCo’s first Christmas song!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3DyxaCYlfg

    And this, one of the best Christmas movies ever made, animated, from 1982, on PBS:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE9KpobX9J8

  139. Normally, I’d be somewhat higher in Christmas spirit (I still hate buying presents, as I’m just not good in that area, and it’s stressful for me to feel there’s an imbalance of giving) but, when a family funeral is anticipated any day now, it’s a little harder. But, there’s still songs to sing, and meals to make.

  140. I am highly depressed that I wont see the bright smiles I usually c on my girls face in a couple of hrs its just hurts. This Christmas isnt so blessing for giving but at least Im alive 2 c another celebration of Jesus birthday n another yr w/my family, but if theres a will theres a way

  141. The day you posted this entry [to which I am only now responding] was the last day of the job I’ve held for a quarter-century. In the last six weeks I’ve buried my boss — a great guy — and my 92-year-old great-aunt who, with five of her sisters [including, mainly, my paternal grandmother] mostly raised me when my father died and my mother consequently went crazy when I was seven.

    The incurable and untreatable degenerative muscle disease progresses as expected.

    So I’m dealing with a bit more cause for depression than usual.

    Yet the young nieces, nephews, and cousins are mostly thriving. Life forges forward.

    To quote Maxwell Anderson:

    “Now all you silent powers
    that make the sleet and dark, and never yet
    have spoken, give us a sign, let the throw be ours
    this once, on this longest night, when the winter sets
    his foot on the threshold leading up to spring
    and enters with remembered cold, let fall
    some mercy with the rain. We are two lovers
    here in your night, and we wish to live.”

    Winterset, 1935

    Let joy reign in the season of light.

    JJB

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