Take presents, for instance. How long do we agonize over what to get someone, and then, once it's purchased, we worry about whether or not we got the "right" gift. How insane. It's a gift! Receiving one is not a given aspect of the Christmas season, or any season for that matter, yet we worry if what we give is up to par. Some claim it's the thought that counts, and if that's true than I guess we're all a whole lot better off than we initially anticipated! With the amount of thought that goes into deciding on, purchasing, and giving a gift, the recipient ought to feel worth a million bucks.
Then there's decorating. I, for one, love Christmas decorations. Even the cheesiest of holiday knick-knacks bring a smile to my face, but again, the act of decorating is quite painstaking. I am "in charge" of the Christmas tree lights because I am never satisfied if someone else makes attempts at lighting this holiday icon. It's not that I'm particularly satisfied with my own results, but the theory is that I can't complain if I'm the one who lit the tree. Then one must ask, "How much is too much?" when it comes to Christmas decorations. Need the house light up the night like a flashlight under a blanket fort, or is a simple string of lights along the gutter the perfect touch? Should the entire interior of the home look as though a craft store vomited throughout, or are a few simple figurines or small Christmas displays enough?
Finally, there's the inevitable holiday stress. Is it right for there to be stress labeled specifically for the holiday season? And if so, then aren't we going a bit too far? Christmas purists argue that the season is filled with joy, the scent of pine trees, and cookies baking, but realists will contend that Christmas provides us yet another reason to age prematurely. There's the issue of money to purchase the "necessary" gifts and possibly replace or add to the decoration collection, the issue of time in which to stand in lines and bake the cookies and wrap the presents, and the issue of what it is you're supposed to do when you legitimately feel crappy during this so-called joyful season. Can't I be pissed off and crabby no matter the season? I feel it's a right, no matter how joyful everyone assumes one is supposed to be.
Perhaps my cynicism is disheartening and maybe it goes against the reason for the season, but let's be real. Christmas is quite the conundrum, and while it has its moments of true joy and blessing, it's not all sunshine and bunnies.