By Robert A. Vella

When I was a little kid, everybody – and I mean everybody – looked upon the Christmas holiday season with great anticipation.  Yes, this time of the year has always had its fair share of family disputes and other kinds of domestic frictions.  Yes, it was always overly commercialized and sometimes uncomfortable for the non-religious or for non-Christians.  But still, Christmas in America back then was generally a happy event when people could gather and share in ways which didn’t normally happen during the rest of the year.

This Christmas was a very different experience… for me, at least.

My family, friends, and neighbors exhibited so much unrestrained negativity over the last couple of weeks that it was impossible to ignore.  Baby Boomers shutting themselves into the sanctuaries of isolation and self-delusion.  Gen Xers overburdened by expectations and duties, searching desperately for peace and tranquility.  Enraged Millennials rejecting all manifestations of the larger culture, both good and bad, while regressing into some quixotic underground revolutionary movement.  Intolerance was everywhere.

It felt like Christmas in Joylessville.

16 thoughts on “Christmas in Joylessville

  1. Hi Robert,
    Your first paragraph could have been written by me. In fact I wrote something similar … here … https://helenofmarlowe.wordpress.com/tag/christmas/ about a year ago, expressing why I don’t like Christmas.
    But this year, our family decided to pool our shopping money and give to Sierra Club instead. So we collected several hundred — not a lot, but better than gifts we didn’t need, and it was much more satisfying. No gifts, just gathering over good food and wine and company. (I used to know how to embed a link in a word like “here” but I can’t seem to do it this time. Is it me or have they changed the rules?)


  2. Sounds like a bad Christmas, much like the Christmas many people endure. Indeed Christmas is not what it once was and I admit to some strong negativity myself mainly because it is not the celebration I recall from years ago when people wished each other a merry Christmas and genuinely enjoyed this time of year. Rarely you hear anyone wish anyone else a merry Christmas or a happy New year. Christmas now seems to be more of an ordeal, a financial burden, a time of worry and discontent. People expect too much and children are given too much and indeed expect far more than I did as a child. Christmas is a time that is difficult to escape from with most people getting drawn in, even for those who are not religious or who are not Christian. Having said that I rather think that few really see Christmas as a religious celebration. People over indulge and regret it vowing never to repeat it the following year knowing full well that once again when the next year comes round they will be drawn in yet again to the insanity that is now Christmas. Shops filled with people buying food they will never eat while so many people go without. No Christmas is not what it once was. After all the hassle we expect a peaceful day, only to find that the reality doesn’t measure up to the expectation and it all falls flat. You are right it is a joyless time for the majority.


  3. Christmas has always been one of those completely over the top times of the year, so at the Ark’s place, aside from putting up a tree – we simply stopped doing it: no presents, no booze, no blow outs. Stressless and we can stroll into the New Year like a breeze.
    You should try it …

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