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Christmas! A season of play?

I have to be honest here... I hate Christmas. It's not because I'm an atheist, I assure you. That's irrelevant. And it's not because I don't get gifts; dad's don't get gifts. Or not what they want, anyway. That's okay. Honestly, I don't need stuff. I don't want stuff. I like stuff. I like experience. But Christmas is stuff. And not just any stuff, but consumer stuff. And consumer stuff requires money, the money to drive capital.

Most of my life I've lived in or near poverty. Christmas was this plank I had to dive from every so often. Sometimes, I dove and got rewarded with stuff. Stuff I wanted. Even a SNES once! Woo! And sometimes I got rewarded with being forgotten. Being clearly less in the room. And as poverty is a repeating cycle, once I became a parent, my kids, of course, grew up in poverty as well. And damn if poverty isn't a hard thing to shrug off.

But that giant hill is past us now yet still I hate Christmas. I hate the expectation of it all. I hate the pervasive feeling that I'm a bad dad if I don't buy all the things. All of them! I hate even trying to do it "right" by making sure my efforts to consume are with a conscience. So I hunt and hunt and hunt and make Christmas an effort in proving to those I love just how much I understand them. And it does feel good, it really does. In fact, I'm writing this post just after going through the painstaking process of perfect present presentation for tomorrows impending wrapping paper destruction. But that void, the black hole of everything that sucks play away hangs over the holiday with a stale cookie stench.

Oh, Santa, why can't you be the play you so tantalizingly seem?

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