I’m going to say this loud enough so everyone can hear it. I’m not a Christmas person.
Let me say it again to make things clear: I AM NOT A CHRISTMAS PERSON.
I don’t recall ever believing in Santa Claus.
I’m the one who, when someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas!” or even Merry Christmas’ secularized bastard cousin “Season’s Greetings!” just shrugs and doesn’t say anything back.
The only Christmas movies I watch have either serial killer Santas or monsters in them.
I stop listening the radio at exactly 12:01 AM, November 1st.
You know why.
I’m the person who can walk past a Salvation Army bell ringer and not put any money in the bucket without a single shread of guilt.
I don’t hang Christmas lights. I’ve never owned an ugly Christmas sweater.
I don’t sing Christmas carols. I would never do this outside Keira Knightly’s doorway:
I only put up a Christmas tree because I live with other people. They’re the kind of people who like Christmas. I’m not. I’m not consumed with the Christmas spirit.
My heart is still three sizes too small.
I know the Whos were supposed to be the good guys, but I think the Grinch got a raw deal.
It’s not against the law to hate Christmas, you know.
Ok. I know. I know. My abnormal hatred/cynicism (I’m willing to admit it’s abnormal) of towards all things holly jolly yuletide and festive is rare. Not everyone holds with my beliefs. I suppose in the long run that’s a good thing. I guess the world would really suck if everyone was a Scrooge. It’s just that in this season of good will towards man, I’m wondering how much good will I actually have. Or need.
You see, my problem isn’t just with Christmas. I’m in a bit of a moral pickle. I haven’t really figured out what my ethical point of view is. I’m an adult. I should have figured this out by now. I studied philosophy. I managed to convince those people to give me a degree. I write a philosophy blog and I more than occasionally write about ethics. And as a philosopher, I should really have my ethical poo together. But I don’t. I have no idea which or whose school of ethics I do or should follow.
This is important. Not just because the moral in every Christmas story is that nothing matters in the world more than living in the spirit of brotherhood not just on Christmas, but one every day of the year. But because when I’m out on the rare occasion that I shop for Christmas presents, my ethical point of view has more to do with my shopping than I think it does.
I mean, should I buy a gift for a relative I despise out of a sense of deontological duty? Should I buy a gift that make everyone happy like a utilitarian would?
Or should I go Galt, declare my love for Ayn Rand and say screw everyone’s Merry Christmas and buy a shitload of presents for myself?
Because that’s what I really want to do. But I know I shouldn’t. It wouldn’t be the morally correct thing to spend all of my money on myself, even if I hate Christmas.
At least I don’t think it would be. Morally. Correct.
See what I mean? How can I tell if it is or isn’t the right thing if I have no moral theory of my own? I really need help, here. Those gift cards gotta go to somebody.
Now I really do feel like a Scrooge. If only one of the three Ghosts of Christmas would show me the way…
I suppose, then, this is what Christmas is all about.
Christmas is about thinking about the things that should matter to us most, like our family and friends.
Even John Galt would agree that friends and family matter to some degree.
…. as long as they’re not moochers.
Christmas is about a group of kids discovering the meaning of Christmas while decorating a jacked-up Christmas tree. It’s about realizing that a single, wonderful life does makes a difference. Or realizing we don’t need a Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot model air rifle to have the ultimate Christmas.
It’s about Billy finding out what happens if you feed Gizmo after midnight.
And why climbing down your own chimney dressed as Santa Claus is always a bad idea.
If you think about it (thankfully not for too long), Christmas is about assessing who we are and what we believe in. It’s about caring for our fellow man whether they deserve it or not.
And occasionally, just occasionally, Christmas is about this guy: