Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holding out for that Christmas Worm feeling.

Some people go bananas over Christmas. They decorate their houses, their cars, their workplaces. They listen to Christmas music and make Christmas themed treats. They have Christmas parties and wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

I like Christmas. I think it's a nice time of year (mainly because it coincides with breaks from school and work). I always look forward to spending time with my family, eating cookies, playing xbox, putting a tree up.  I also like many of the accoutrements of Christmas: the decorations and lights, the occasional snow. I live in Koreatown so I always look forward to the Tiger Lights going up, courtesy of the Koreatown B.I.A. Christmas is generally a time of year when people are feeling simultaneously stressed out to the max but also generous so it feels like people are less likely to push you out of their way or close a door in your face. Also, my oldest friend on the planet was born Christmas Day and I'm pretty sure that for the first few years of my conscious life I thought she was the reason we had Christmas at all.

So, I don't hate Christmas. I like it. That being said I also understand that many people do not like Christmas or don't celebrate the holiday for many different reasons. Even if you like Christmas it can still feel overwhelming and jarring at times, so I can imagine it must be hell on earth for people who don't celebrate Christmas or who don't like Christmas. As soon as the Halloween decorations come down the Christmas ones go up and we're all in for two months of non-stop cheery elves, drummer boys, and wrapping paper.  Christmastime (especially for the non-religious who are like "Jesus who?") is also unprecedented in its pressure to BUY ALL THE THINGS. Buy the things to show your family and friends you care, buy the things to show your partner how much you really love them, buy the things to make that person you like realize they like you too. If you don't buy all the things then noone will like you, everyone will think you're rude, and you are a cruel monster who doesn't understand the Spirit of Christmas. 

For all of these reasons when I read that Shoppers Drug Mart was going to hold off on the Christmas music for a few weeks I felt happy. Christmas music and decorations that pop up right after Halloween really bother me because it's like I just bought all the candy and the costumes and the decorations for spookytime, give me a break! It's hard to transition from blood and guts to baby jesus and peace on earth so a little time in between would be grand. Also, two months of Christmas music is too much, it's just too much. It seems that many people do not share my opinion. I decided to go over some of the comments on Shoppers' Facebook page (where they made their announcement) and I was shocked by the backlash (why would they announce it at all? Just don't play the music and noone will notice, right?).

Some commenters supported the decision, saying that it's respectful to wait until after Remembrance Day to "honour the vets" etc. Some people said "hurray, only one month of Christmas music, my ears thank you!" Some people were not so understanding. 

This person is angry because if Wal-Mart does it then everyone should. They think that the people who complained about the Christmas music should "remember" Christmas as a holiday with "good cheer, family time and warm memories." November is dreary enough, the music helps! This person clearly has no understanding of the fact that some people don't believe in Christmas but, also, that some people have bad memories of Christmas.

I was surprised at how many of the comments were angry because Christmas music is basically a natural phenomenon that God sent to earth to cheer us all up because we all LOVE Christmas. It doesn't seem to occur to some people that Christmas is not a thing for some people, or that some people may not have families, maybe they were abused at Christmas, maybe their parents died at Christmas. Christmas Cheer is not an innate human instinct, it's a learned thing and not everyone wants to experience it.  A lot of people threatened to take their business elsewhere: "I'm going to London Drugs!" "I'm going to Rexall!" It's like, really? Because you can't listen to music while you buy your tampons and toilet paper you're going to go buy them elsewhere? You need to hear Silent Night while you pick out the right suppository? It's a Drug Store, not a fancy Department store where you'll spend hours perusing. You go in, buy your conditioner and dental floss,and you get out.

Then of course we get into the racists. The racists who are like this is CANADA! Play our music! We are Canadians and Canadians love Christmas!! This person doesn't even have to elaborate when he bemoans the end of Canadian identity from his mobile device:

This next one I reported to Facebook for hate speech:

THAT race. That race insisting on praying to "Allah" but denying ALL christians the right to pray. That race is ruining Christmas and they're doing it because they are not Canadian. They are foreign and if they don't like Canada they can go back to the Pacific Ocean from whence they came. Like WTF. Really? First of all, race and religion are not the same thing. Second of all, you are a racist. A lot of religions don't celebrate Christmas. A lot of people who are religious don't celebrate Christmas. Blaming the decline of Christmas because of one "race's" insidious attack on Christianity is insane. Third of all, Madison Avenue is not in Canada so.. you know, your argument about this being Canada and all might not really work on that one.  This is insane, if this person exemplifies the Christmas spirit then the Christmas spirit is fuuucked up.

It's just truly bizarre to me that people will rant and rave about a few weeks of Christmas music. Who cares? Everywhere else is playing music, is it going to kill you to have one five minute reprieve from it a day? How often do these people go to Shoppers' anyways?

So people are nuts about Christmas. They will defend listening to Christmas music in every single store they shop in until they are blue in the face. People are racist. People are mean. People think that their customs should be everybody's customs. This last comment is my favorite: Christmas music gives us that worm feeling this time of the year and that worm feeling is really what Christmas is all about, right?

We should all take a cue from mystery Facebook commenter four, who in the midst of all this insanity took it upon herself to remind us all (from her mobile device) about what really matters, to remind us of the true symbol of peace on earth and the Christmas season: The Christmas Worm Feeling.

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