Sorry Not Sorry: Unpopular Christmas Opinions

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Christmas is full of sacred cows. I mean, Thanksgiving is bad enough when you start dating someone and discover that their family makes oyster stuffing instead of cornbread, or (shudder) canned cranberry sauce vs. the real thing. But then comes Christmas. Everyone has an opinion. And not just run-of-the-mill opinions. No, the epic Coke vs. Pepsi showdowns were timid, pale things compared to the hard core, uncompromising views people have on all things Christmas. So, here are some of my unpopular Christmas opinions.

A week doesn’t go by in December without hearing the heated argument about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Here’s my thing: watch it before 12/25 or don’t – I just don’t want this argument to be an annual tradition. Two of my author friends start a flame war on Facebook every year on Love, Actually – if it “sucks hairy monkey balls” or is a good Christmas movie. I won’t name names to protect the truly misguided…

I, myself, adore the holiday. I love the snow, the shopping, the parties, choosing just the right gift…the things that weigh on us as adults (shoveling the snow, fighting through crowded malls, spending all the $, office holiday parties where you are forced to small talk with people you duck behind your cube to avoid the rest of the year) still delight me.

I’ve discovered over the years, however that I have a few unpopular Christmas opinions. Which I’ll share if you promise to hear me out before strangling me with red and green tinsel garland…because I don’t think I’m alone!

Claymation Sucks! (or stop-motion, if you want to get technical)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town: undisputed Christmas classics. But….I hate them. Because they look like the three-minute long video projects I made with clay and puppets in eighth grade art class. The voices are weird, the movement is jerky, and the whole thing feels so amateur hour that I can’t get past it.

My theory is that it’s because I didn’t see them until I was an adult (we were a loyal Grinch household, and not allowed to watch other cartoons). Have you ever gone back to your home town after twenty years away and tasted some local food you grew up with that actually is disgusting now that you have experienced what the rest of the world has to offer (Jack in the Box Super Taco – I’m glaring at you for disappointing me!)? Yup. It is like that.

Viewing these holiday classics without any sentimentality or memories of stuffing your face with illicit snickerdoodles while being allowed to stay up past your bedtime? Well, that allows you to watch them simply at face value…and I’d rather watch Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics episode of South Park.

It’s a Wonderful Life Sucks!

I adore Christmas movies. Full disclosure—I am one of those people who tape the Hallmark xmas movies to be sure to catch the new crop of twenty-seven originals every year. I even watch the last fifteen minutes of whatever is on every morning at 7:45 while I get dressed because that is the very best part—the happy resolution, a proposal, the burgeoning carols, and the life-changing kiss in front of a tree/under falling snow/the whole darned town.

With Love, Christmas

I love these movies because they are: 1) chock full of holiday decorations; 2) families who (gasp!) get along and want to spend as much time together, hugging and eating and laughing as possible; 3) flirting (I am a romance author – what did you expect?); 4) old-fashioned good-natured ‘let’s all help the town just because it feels good’ attitudes; 5) snow (I also grew up in Southern California, so I see snow as a necessity in the month of December, due to serious childhood deprivation of winter weather) 6) happiness.

That’s right – I watch holiday movies for escapism. For the fantasy of a perfect Christmas. For fun. You know what It’s a Wonderful Life is missing? Escapism. Fun. It is the anti-Hallmark movie. Aside from the last four minutes, it is depressing. Dark. A December Downer. My husband asked/forced me to watch it when we started dating and he discovered I’d never seen it. It is a miracle he still proposed, the way he gave me the cold shoulder after I ended a painful 90 minutes by declaring it the worst Christmas movie ever made. Jimmy Stewart’s awesome in The Philadelphia Story. And I’ll drop everything to watch White Christmas and Holiday Inn over and over. But come on, the movie kicks off with a suicidal hero who lost his hearing as a kid, and then the movie jumps to his dad’s premature death. Right there, I’m ready to put down my cookies and start doing shots of bourbon to get through the unrelenting hits that assail George Bailey. No. Just…no.

Eggnog ROCKS!

When I was a kid, I developed an allergy to milk (which I happily grew out of, don’t worry about me!). It gave me bronchitis #nofun. Obviously, my mom wouldn’t let me drink it—but she relaxed that rule at the holidays so I could have a single glass of that creamy, rich miracle that is eggnog. Oh, the spicy bite of the nutmeg! And then, as an adult, when I discovered the magic of adding dark rum to it…I mean, come on. It’s utterly delicious. It is Christmas in a glass. I love it.

Shockingly, I’ve discovered that eggnog has lost the popularity it had in the Victorian era. In an informal Christmas party poll a few years ago, I was the lone eggnog supporter in the entire room. (Sorry, I couldn’t move on to poll the next room for stronger numbers because my heart was breaking for poor, misjudged eggnog.) I don’t force it on people. I treasure the carton in my frig and enjoy it solo throughout December.

And that is okay. Because it is my holiday tradition to enjoy. Passionately. You know what? That is the beauty of Christmas. It makes people care. Caring is sharing, right? They insist we follow their traditions, their ideas of what makes the perfect holiday merely because they want us to have as wonderful holiday memories as they do. The strong opinions are their gift to pass on, the guarantee of a remarkable Christmas. So next time somebody effuses/pushes/insists that their sister-in-law’s Tofurkey tastes ‘just like the real thing, but without all that unhealthy fat – I’m keeping you alive to enjoy it for an extra twenty years!’ – just smile. Share a hug. And thank them for caring about you.

 

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