I love Christmas and thought it would be really difficult and sad to miss. I was right. It is. There’s lot’s of things I miss, which you can read here. But what surprised me even more was the things that I didn’t miss. There are things to miss about Christmas? Yes, there is. Spending my first Christmas abroad made me realize that there are a few bad parts when it comes to Christmas. What are we really celebrating as a society anymore?
I am not a religious person, I don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, but I’ve grown up with the holiday traditions so I’ve stuck with it. Plus food. So much food around Christmas, so I simply must celebrate. Here are a few things that I definitely do not miss about Christmas:
Buy, buy, and buy more
Back home in Canada I wouldn’t be able to leave my house without seeing or hearing some kind of advertisement to buy something because it’s Christmas and you simply need to get that special gift. You’d be surprised that when you’re not constantly being told to buy things that you don’t want to buy things. Every year I felt pressured to find something that my family or friends would like, sometimes buying them pointless things just for the sake of giving someone a gift. And you know you’ve done it too.
While on the topic of shopping…malls are the worst around Christmas. People are mean and rude, and I usually question if Christmas spirit actually exists. This is the first year in 5 years that I haven’t worked retail leading up to Christmas or on Boxing Day. I used to work at the Eaton Centre (a massive shopping mall in downtown Toronto) and it was hell. People everywhere who just return half of what they bought and then come back to the mall to buy more stuff that they don’t really need. I’m more than happy to stay clear of malls this year. Though I was at one today and it pleasantly quiet.
Yes, in my last post about things that I missed while abroad for Christmas I admitted that I missed food. But in a way I’m also glad that I’m not surrounded by all the food around Christmas. Every year I gain weight before, during, and after the holidays (and I know I’m not the only one). Here in Thailand I have almost zero temptations (I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t just eat an entire package of Toblerone though…). Every year we pressure ourselves to look good at our holiday parties, yet we pack the goodies into our bellies with delicious wine just so we can tell ourselves a week later that we have to reverse all the damage we just did to our bodies.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music and am currently getting up every few minutes to dance to the Michael Buble or Justin Bieber Christmas albums. But I can control how many times I listen to, and what songs I listen to. I’m not stuck shopping in a store hearing the same song that they started playing November 1st.
When the Christmas season comes around instead of most people celebrating the Christmas spirit and being kind, most seem to turn into rude monsters whose sole goal is to buy whatever is on their list. Yes, there are some people who really do have the Christmas spirit and are kind and giving, but majority turn the holiday into a shopping nightmare, fill the streets with impatient drivers, and yell at innocent workers (the amount of times I’ve had people yell at me because we didn’t have a size or sold out of something…).
It’s very difficult to miss Christmas and I would happily have a 30 hour trip home and back just to get to spend a few days with my family. But being away from home has put the holiday into a different perspective and helped to remind me of its importance, and to not get caught up in the consumer side of the holiday. To me Christmas is simply not the same in the heat without the snow, but it’s really nice to see Christmas decorations around the small city that I live in, in a country that is 95% Buddhists. Just goes to show how much of a “buying holiday” its become.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (to whomever celebrates) and encourage you to remember Christmas isn’t just about the gifts and finding the best sale on boxing day. May you bellies be full of delicious treats and enjoy an extra glass of wine or egg nog for me!