Inciting Incident Blog #10 – Most Atheists Don’t Hate Christmas… I Do, But Atheism Isn’t Why

It’s that time of year, so the self-righteous “War on Christmas” is in full force yet again. There’s nothing quite like a majority group putting forth a persecution myth because everyone doesn’t say exactly what they say. How it can’t be obvious that it’s only been designed to drive up TV ratings, store sales, and faux-moral superiority, I have no idea, but it’s the same bullshit every single year. “We can’t say X. Happy Holidays is X. We can’t even do X anymore.”

Christmas advertising this year sure focused on “getting back to the good old days.” Since Make Donald Trump Again was so impactful, why not convince you that shopping at this specific place is the true faux-nostalgic place to buy your plastic bullshit. Self-righteousness is even more delicious when you can harken back to a time where you were the only class that had rights, but of course, the 1950s were just awesome and wholesome anyway, right?

That isn’t why I hate Christmas though. Truthfully, most Atheists don’t. I know more Atheists who make a big deal out of Christmas than I know those who don’t.

I really don’t celebrate any holidays. I’ve never been a fan of marking a specific day to feel a way. To me, they feel arbitrary. I don’t feel any internal swell of tradition or excitement because of what day of the year it is, but I don’t begrudge it for anyone else.

I’ve always been different in how I process things, and this is no exception. For example, I can’t tell you how or where I met most people I know. That’s never processed as something that sticks in the memory for me. However, if you introduce me to a song, a show, a movie, a comedian? That stays with me long past the time we’re even friends, if that’s applicable. My ex-girlfriend introduced me to my now-favorite band, and I haven’t spoken to her in over two years. That sentiment of loving Anberlin though will always be associated with her.

I spent 16 years of my life in some form of retail. I’ve worked in malls, stores, and even the Mall of America. Some people are able to tune Christmas music out, and some like it. However, I’ve never been able to understand why every single second of every single store of every single day has to be Christmas music, I don’t understand why we have to hear the same eight songs on repeat for two fucking months. I’m sure it’s charming if you’re spending one or two days of them shopping, but when you’re there almost everyday, it gets insanely obnoxious.

One Christmas at the suit store, the playlist was defective and only had a one hour-forty-five-minute loop. You would think at a men’s formal wear store, they’d have old classics like Sinatra or Darin, right? Nope. Taylor Swift, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, the Cheetah Girls were what we got. Over. And over. And over. And over.

And during all that, most Christmas seasons I worked, were filled with impatient, rude, joyless assholes who also spent that time bitching about the persecution myth and how nobody says Merry Christmas anymore. They get to have it both ways; being an asshole socially and individually, and still get to come out of it feeling self-righteous.

People are rude to the help, rude to each other, don’t care what they mess up, have no mind to shove people out of the way, and always somehow need more extended hours. Fuck the people who work, they’re robots anyway. You’re not allowed to take any time off from those places either during those two months, so fuck you if you have a family you want to spend time with. Not while there’s commerce to be had. Especially the day after Christmas, or as I always liked to call it, International Ungrateful Day.

I know online shopping is more prevalent than ever, and that reflects our changing economy. But the same fights are still started by the conservative religious majority, and it never changes. Even when I’m not in retail and avoid it at all costs, I can’t escape the “It’s Merry Christmas!” retort.

So, truthfully, I don’t say anything. I don’t care. I’m not on either side, I just want nothing to do with it. I thought that feeling of malaise would disappear after I stopped working in retail, but… nope. Since I can’t ever escape it, I’m at least requesting an asterisk. “It’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays. Christmas means goodwill to all *except anyone who has a different religion, holiday, or method of celebrating this time of year than we do. All lives matter… except for those who don’t do my day my way.”

That, and I’ve never really been close with my family. It was never treated as much of a big deal, and outside of a few specific people, they never listened to what I said I liked anyway, so it was pointless even from that aspect. I like to give people things just because, not because a certain date on the calendar designates it as a custom. But, like I said, I’ve never been into most customs anyway. That’s just who I am. I see things differently, but for the first time in my life, I cognitively understand that.

It’s a double-edged sword for Atheists too. For years, all we heard is “you can just celebrate it as a social holiday. Can’t you participate for the sake of the children or your family?” Then when we do, we’re “not keeping Christ in Christmas, and declaring a secular war on Jesus, and missing ‘the true meaning of Christmas.'” I got sick of it long before retail made me internally reject the entire time of year.

So, the best thing I can offer for you, my dear Patrons, is a little bit of my own nostalgia. Quite obviously before my transition, but all the same, here’s my former roommate and I making fun of Christmas commercials and music. Enjoy.


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