Amanda Marcotte, Salon, November 29, 2019
It wasn’t a conscious decision, but it’s time for me to admit it: I’ve mostly given up on Christmas.
It was never a holiday of great importance to me. I’ve never put up a Christmas tree, for instance, though I have often indulged in some tinsel and lights to mark the holiday. But for most of my adult life, Christmas still had some meaning, and I’ve made an effort to mark the day as somehow special. I made pancakes for breakfast. My partner and I opened gifts. We tried to make something out of it.
But that has dissipated in the past couple of years. Even putting forward a minimal effort to mark the day as anything but a boring 24 hours that isn’t even attached to a three-day weekend feels too hard.
The gross fact of the matter is that whatever enthusiasm I once felt for Christmas has dissipated entirely in the age of Donald Trump. He ruins everything he touches, and Christmas, for me, is no exception.
I’m an atheist, and have been at least my whole adult life. So the concept of Christmas as a religious holiday has never had any hold on me. But for believers and non-believers alike in this country, it’s always been more of a secular holiday, at least in the United States. It’s about celebrating family togetherness and a larger sense of the nation coming together in the spirit of joy and generosity.
But all that feels like a lie in Trump’s America.
Forget Tiny Tim declaring, “God bless us, every one!” It’s clear that for that 40% of people in the Trump cult, it’s closer to “Damn anyone to hell who isn’t exactly like us!”
For me, it’s personal. My family is mostly a bunch of Trump voters, sucked up into a vortex of propaganda and lies, unable even to admit basic facts about the world that run contrary to what their tribal politics dictate. That sort of thing is stressful on a normal day, but makes a mockery of the idea of familial love and harmony.
To be sure, my partner and I had already, for the sake of our sanity, given up visiting relatives back in Texas for the holidays.
But now the part about “celebrating” has fallen off over the past few years. It seems a little silly to make a big thing out of a holiday that just reminds me how my own family and so many other people in America have been sucked up into the Trump cult. I’d rather just read a book or binge-watch some TV.
I can sense the shaming, criticism and condescension coming my way, let me be clear: I am not a joyless person. On the contrary, I’m a lucky and even privileged person, who gets to have a lot of fun in her life.
It’s just that Christmas isn’t fun for me anymore.
Call me when we’re a country where “God bless us, every one” is something other than a cruel joke.