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A Heart Two Sizes Too Small

I have no Christmas spirit. Maybe it’s Hallmark and Lifetime’s fault for turning one of the most important religious holidays of the year into a cliché. Taking a stab at corporatization and greed is almost too easy, but I’m not above picking low-hanging fruit. 

Every year Thanksgiving gets its day of celebration: delicious food, a feast of sports and the first vacation of the year for college students. But before the turkey has been turned into sandwiches, Christmas lights are going up and carols begin.

Oh, how I despise Christmas carols. I can only hear “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” so many times before I forget the joy that came to the world and want to hit something. 

As children, we weren’t allowed to celebrate any Christmas traditions until after Dec. 9 — my mother’s birthday. To all of you December babies, I apologize for the double-dipped gifts. My mother loves Christmas — she just wanted us to also celebrate the day that was oft overlooked in her childhood.

I learned to temper my Christmas spirit and it seems I was too effective. 

Carols, childhood trauma and corporate greed aside, my biggest beef with the Christmas season is all those seasonal movies. I can watch Elf once a year, and if that happens in June it’s ruined for me. Television specials are stale, predictable and take up far too much airtime.

In general, I have the feeling I’m drowning in garland and tinsel while going up in flames thanks to the short-circuited lights on the tree. 

All that being said, moving to Eugene began to heal my broken holiday spirit. Nothing makes you appreciate seeing your family like only seeing your family twice a year. The University of Oregon might have sapped my joy in watching football on Saturday mornings, but it made Christmas lights nostalgic rather than rage inducing. 

Holidays are hard for those who have fractured families, bad memories or painful associations with this time of year. But they are also a time for rejoicing and reflection. Maybe you didn’t lose those pounds your bright-eyed and bushy tailed New Year, New You self said you would, but everyone has some accomplishment where they can look back on 2017 and be proud of.

Whether you are sitting with your family opening presents, drinking — eggnog, or perhaps something stronger — or huddled over beers with friends in a bar, take time this holiday season to reflect and be thankful for whence you have come, and look forward to where you are going. 

For more than 11 months of the year I identify with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch. But, right around Dec. 15, I reckon with my inability to keep Christmas from coming. I for one will focus on the joy to be found rather than the melancholy underbelly of this happiest time of the year.