Christmas for Curmudgeons, Or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Holidays

The Way of the Curmudgeon: Many are Called, but Few are Chosen

Anybody who’s been reading my blog at all regularly has by now picked up on a certain misanthropy that flows like a sewer line just below the surface, and, for the most part, it’s not an act. If I’m awake, chances are good, I’m ranting. So, you would think that this time of year would be my time to shine with all its industrial-strength good cheer, and constant reminders that happiness is just one purchase away, but you would be wrong. You see, the holidays are when the amateurs, the pikers, the poseurs, and the part-time grumps come out to let us all know what wrong-headed sheep we are. Bah-humbugging has become an industry unto itself, and it’s gotten to the point that the complaints against the holidays have become as clichéd as the clichés they intend to skewer. In short, it's easy to be cynical about the holidays and, I ask you, where's the fun in that? Try being a public curmudgeon on a perfectly gorgeous March morning when everyone is having a good hair day and the worst thing on the news is an overturned 18-wheeler that spilled a few tons of plush pink teddy bears on the Eastex Freeway.

'Tis the Season to be Grumpy

For all the bandwagon curmudgeons, here is a list of things you were about to say that are no longer considered funny, or insightful:

  • Stores started piping in the Christmas music right after Labor Day this year.
  • Santa Claus was invented by the Toymakers Guild and the Tinsel Combine, with stylists provided by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
  • Office holiday parties are previews of what awaits the truly naughty among us when they go to the eternal beyond—only the office parties feel like they last much longer.
  • There is a fruitcake that has been regifted for countless generations and roams the earth in search of the soul brave enough to consume it.
  • Christmas is just too commercial. (Seriously? Life for the average American in 2022 reads like the side effects in a big pharma ad with periods of sleep in which we dream in 30-second spots for the more nebulous desires of the post-Freudian subconscious. 

Let's Give it (and Ourselves) a Rest

So it is in all seriousness, by the power vested in me (by me), the once and future King of Curmudgeons, that I hereby declare that from this moment onward it is absolutely forbidden to complain, kvetch, bemoan, bewail, bellyache, carp, criticize, decry, denounce, disclaim, disavow, whine, whimper, yammer on about, and/or look askance upon the holiday season.

Why? Because with everything going on in the world right now from the war in Ukraine to tough economic times closer to home, it just seems like letting the season work its magic might do us all a lot of good, whether that means embracing its religious underpinnings, setting aside family grievances to reconnect with those you might have lost touch with, or spreading goodwill and good works to those less fortunate than yourself.

Maybe it all starts with scaling back expectations, including those we put on ourselves to be the holly-jolliest gift-givers and holiday ho-ho-hosts. This year, let "good enough" be good enough, and remember to take the time for some self-care. 

Self-Care Resources to De-Stress Your Holidays

Christmas at Home

Christmas in the Cottage

Christmas Ornaments

A Merry Christmas With Kim Schaefer

Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Holiday Cooking

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe

Maccabee Meals

Christmas Slow Cooking