My Top 10 Christmas Pet Peeves

by sockii

Does the Christmas season get you down? Tired of all of the commercialism and madness? Then you'll probably appreciate my list of top pet peeves about the holidays.

As much as I love Christmas and the holiday season in general, there are aspects of it that can really drive me up the wall. While Christmas is supposed to be about celebrating the birth of Christ and enjoying quality time with family and friends, too often it seems to turn into a stressful, expensive and harried time that leaves us sighing in relief when it's over.

What follows is my list of my Top 10 Christmas Pet Peeves. Honestly the hard thing was narrowing down this list to only ten...I really had to think hard about what were the biggest annoyances to me during the holiday. Later on in this page you'll have a chance to rant on about your holiday pet peeves as well.

10. The Over-Commercialization of Christmas

Why Must We Shop Till We Drop?

Christmas shopping

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Christmas has become so much less about the religious significance of the day and instead about gift-giving - and gift-giving to an extreme extent. While our economy suffers, we are still under so much pressure to buy expensive gifts, the latest toys, the newest gadgets, and make sure that no one feels "slighted" if they don't get enough presents or the right presents. The pressure is perhaps highest on parents to make sure little Tommy or Sarah isn't disappointed by their loot from Santa, but everyone can feel the stress of gift-purchasing as well. People today will even forgo a proper Thanksgiving with family in lieu of camping out in department store parking lots, lining up for Black Friday sales!

I think it's become ridiculous - as much as yes, as a jewelry maker and crafter, I acknowledge the holiday season is my best time of year for making sales and trying to earn some money. I just don't like the madness of the commercial pressure to buy, buy, buy mass-produced goods, many of which will be forgotten about long before next Christmas rolls around. Personally I try to hand-make as many of my Christmas presents as I can, or buy unique things for people from other crafters. I try not to go overboard about it and my partner and I have a long-standing pact not to buy much of anything for each other for Christmas, choosing instead to save that money for planning trips vacation trips for the year ahead.

Love the Black Friday madness, or hate it? Sound off on this debate page:

Will you shop 'till you drop looking for Black Friday deals? Or will you support Buy Nothing Day instead to protest over-consumerism?

9. Christmas Displays in Stores Before It's Even Halloween

Why Rush The Season So Much?

Christmas shopping display

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This one rather ties in the above peeve in that it's a blatant grab for dollars by stores and merchants, but it needs to be addressed separately as well. Why, for the love of all that is holy, are we beginning to see Christmas displays in stores before it's even Halloween?! I thought Halloween was a big enough commercial cash cow for stores in its own right; why not even give Halloween it's due before bringing in the Christmas trees, cards, lights and gift wrap? It seems like it's getting worse and worse every year. I saw my local Hallmark store done up with Christmas decorations and advertising this year's new ornaments in early October!

Fall is a wonderful time of year in its own right with great holidays to celebrate all of its own. Thanksgiving especially seems to get lost these days in the rush to Christmas; and what of simply enjoying the crisp fall air and fun harvest-time activities, instead of having to think right away of the wintertime? Let's all slow down and not let Christmas take over so many months of the year.

8. Worrying About Whether It's OK To Still Say "Merry Christmas!"

...Or is "Happy Holidays" the only PC option?

Merry Christmas

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I understand we all want to be inclusive and not discriminate against those who do not celebrate Christmas or are of a different faith. But really, I feel like it's gotten too extreme when people can't even say "Merry Christmas" without worry of being criticized, or when stores and other buildings can only have non-denominational "holiday" decorations instead of Christmas displays. Now they're even starting to call them "Holiday ornaments" instead of "Christmas ornaments". Really? Is this absolutely necessary? I have to be careful to think who I send actual Christmas cards to versus generic holiday season cards, out of fear of offending this or that friend or relative.

I'm all for awareness and tolerance, but that also means being tolerant of those of us who DO celebrate Christmas and want to share our blessings for the season with others.

The debate rages on over nativity scenes as well...
Every holiday season it seems the controversy comes back: should religious nativity scenes be displayed in public spaces? Read more about the issues and share your opinion.

7. Self-Absorbed Egotistical Christmas Letters

No, I don't care how many awards your darling children have received. All year long.

Christmas cards

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I've never really understood typewritten, copied generic Christmas letters being sent out to every single person on your Christmas card list. It's true, it's nice to hear from some people who I might not see or hear from regularly and get some updates on their family. But please, keep it short and to the highlights - did someone get married/have a kid/move into a new home, stuff like that? Then great. Maybe even throw in a picture of the happy family while you're at it. But I don't need the bragging run down of how many places you traveled to last year, or how proud you are of your five kids and all of their school achievements. Worst of all, please don't make your Christmas letter a sales pitch for your latest self-published book or album, or an invitation to please buy your stuff on Etsy!

6. Crazy Drivers On The Road

'Tis the season for reckless driving

Car accident

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Why is everyone always in a rush during the holidays? I'm normally a defensive driver, but never more so than during the month of December. Everyone's rushing here and there to get to the department store or a holiday event on time, while being distracted by bright and outrageous light shows and displays along the road side. And nothing is more hazardous than mall parking lots, where people care more about getting a spot right near the doors than watching out for pedestrians and other cars. Let's also factor in people drinking too much at holiday parties or just letting the "season to be jolly" equate to being the "season to cause car accidents". I guess nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a car wreck and a night spent in the ER, all because someone was in too much of a rush to finish all of their Christmas shopping on time.

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5. Christmas Music Overload

Even if you love Christmas music, enough is enough!

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Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas music - in the right time and place, and with a certain amount of restraint. But in my office we used to all groan the moment the "easy listening" station we'd play in the background would switch over to Christmas music, all day, every day. Especially as it seemed to happen earlier and earlier every year - first right after Thanksgiving, then immediately after Halloween! There's only so many times a person can listen to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" before you're ready to kill some elves. Christmas music can do a lot to spread cheer and the spirit of the season, but let's not overdose on it.</p>

Also, let's hear it for more original Christmas music instead of the same songs, over and over again. I don't need to hear ten different versions of "Silent Night"; I'd rather hear a new Christmas song ever now and then, something which could end up turning into a modern "classic" in a few years' time.

4. Too Many Christmas Cookies!

It's the worst time of year to try to watch your weight.

christmas cookies

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Some of us are always struggling with our weight and dieting - and there's no harder time of the year for it than the Christmas season. Sure, it's fine to indulge now and then, but so hard to exercise restraint when everyone's making Christmas cookies, inviting you to Christmas parties, buying you food gifts and just all around encouraging gluttony. Say "no" to any of it and you risk looking like a Grinch. No wonder so many people have losing weight as their top New Year's Resolution - it's necessary just to try to lose some of that holiday bloat! This seems especially true when you're part of an Italian family, and every gathering for the season must involve hours upon hours of eating, eating and more eating. *burp*

3. Family Drama Over Where To Actually Spend Christmas Day

It's the in-laws vs. the exes vs. the etc etc etc.

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Raise your hand if you HAVEN'T dealt with family drama over this subject. As our families become increasingly fractured, as we go through multiple relationships/marriages/divorces/changes in life, it can become a major issue every year about where a person is going to actually end up spending Christmas Day. And no matter what decision you make, someone is sure to be upset or take offense. If your in-laws don't get along, or if they're just too far apart, one side of the family is going to get mad at the other depending on where you end up spending Christmas Day. For children of divorced parents, it can be a struggle as well. Or new couples, or just about anyone who has more than one person who wants to make a claim for your Christmas time and attention.

Besides that, have you ever had to or tried to eat multiple Christmas dinners in one day just to appease all extended family members? It's not fun, and it's not good for the waistline, either.

2. Christmas: It's Not JUST About Kids...

...although sometimes we're made to feel that way

Christmas baby

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Sure, Christmas is a great time of year for kids, and they should have the chance to really enjoy the magic of the season. But sometimes it feels as though there's little room or place left for adult celebrations of the season, or places where adults without children can really feel welcome. This can make the holiday season especially difficult for those who might be coping with infertility (::cough::) and struggling with achieving their dreams of having kids some day with whom to share the Christmas magic. Going to extended family gatherings during Christmas can often mean invasive, painful questions about why you and your partner don't have kids yet, and when will you. And that's only the tip of the iceberg for coping with all of the issues of having no kids for Christmas.

Surviving Christmas - When You're Infertile

It's such a pet peeve of mine, I created an entire page about it:

Infertility can be difficult to deal with any time of the year, but the holidays can be especially challenging.

1. Packing Up All Those Christmas Decorations

Can't I just leave them up until next year?

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As much fun as it can be to decorate for the season, it's a real drag putting all those decorations away for another year. There's no excitement or anticipation to it; just a long, boring afternoon of packaging back up lights and ornaments, trying to stuff that fake tree back in its box, and wondering where the heck to stick it all in the basement or attic.

Plus, it's also just depressing to me when all those Christmas lights come off the houses and streets and all we're left with is the dreary, cold dark month of February to look forward to until Spring creeps back around again. I'll confess I generally don't take my Christmas decorations down until the end of January, because I want to cling to the season of lights just as long as possible.

Which pet peeve from my list do you find the most annoying?

Got anything to say about what bugs you about the holiday season? What's YOUR biggest Christmas pet peeve? Feel free to vent about it here.

 

Updated: 09/15/2015, sockii
 
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CruiseReady on 09/17/2015

I agree with just about everything on your list. I decided a couple of years ago to stop worrying about who might or might not be receptive to being wished "Merry Christmas." Each year, it seems like there's more and more whiny drama from those who can't tolerate a couple of words for Pete's sake.

blackspanielgallery on 09/15/2015

I have already seen Christmas decorations in a store. And it is well before Halloween.

jptanabe on 09/15/2015

Love this article! Of course it isn't even Halloween yet and we're already dealing with Christmas - that's certainly one of my pet peeves. And I agree that the "Happy Holidays" vs "Merry Christmas" dilemma is troublesome. How about the seeming inability of people to write thank you notes for their gifts these days? I remember when I was a child we were sat down and given paper and pen and told to write to thank Aunt whoever for whatever. Nowadays I'm fine with using email, but when young people don't even want to do that it's sad.

candy47 on 09/15/2015

I wanted to vote for 'All of the Above'. I don't like the excessive alcohol consumption for Christmas...I don't get it. Good article.

sockii on 09/15/2015

Oh, your last one is a good one. I can completely agree on that. Having to spend a huge portion of one's holiday in transit to the "expected" home for the holiday meal is a huge pain...

Mira on 09/15/2015

I enjoyed this :) I agree with you on many accounts, but I have to say I did enjoy those old-fashioned Christmas letters when people still sent them. I'm surprised you still receive many of those. I haven't seen group emails like that either. Interesting.

I also don't mind the food :)

My pet peeve is family gatherings in the same place, every year, when it's clear that everyone would prefer to meet in smaller, more compatible groups :-)

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