Christmas with Christopher Hitchens | Books | Interview | The A.V. Club

http://www.avclub.com/content/node/71705/print/

I don’t like Christopher Hitchens, but I suspect we agree on many, many things. Case in point, the awful “family holiday” observation of Christmas (*shudder*):

I think attitudes toward Christmas don’t depend just on attitude to religion, but on what kind of family you had, and my family was one that didn’t do very well with compulsory celebrations. Whether they were birthdays or any other kind. It was always a little tense.

Any reader would know what I mean. Because occasions where everyone is supposed to be happy tend to have the opposite effect in a family that can get along, but where you wouldn’t say everything is absolutely hunky-dory. What I remember is not feeling sad for myself so much, but feeling apprehensive for other family members, that it would be a disappointment to them. On the other hand, it did mark the end of term when I was a boarding-school boy, at the age of 7. So it meant you were about to be let out. When they started singing carols and saying these stupid stories about “the manger” in school, you knew at least it was a signal for liberation of a sort. And there would be lots of food, which there wasn’t at school. But no, since I’ve been old enough to have any say in the matter, I’ve shied from it, and been relieved not to have to think about it too much. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become absolutely filled with loathing for it. After Halloween, more or less, you can’t go into a shop, or across a railway-station concourse, or even an airport, without this crap.

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