When I was really young – say, between the ages of 3-6, Christmas was magic. Well, magic in the sense of free gifts, anyway. We had a tree and my parents bought me and my sister and brother presents. Christmas morning was incredible…
Then, somewhere around the age of 7 or so, my mothers mental illness really started to manifest itself, and things went south quickly. Gone was the whole magical Christmas morning thing – replaced by increasingly unpredictable outbursts of violence and sheer, unadulterated episodes of insanity.
As an adult, I long ago realized Christmas was a toxic reminder of tragedy and existential sadness for me – and I cut it out of my life like a cancer. When you get older and start learning how to come to grips with your past and heal, these are the things you have to do.
But most years (not every year), I briefly flash back to when I was a little boy, and I remember the magical Christmas’s of long ago.
I feel a remote, weak sense of sadness, because now I am an old(er) man who long ago made peace with his past. I do, however, have one prevailing tradition and final thought that gets me through the holiday season.
Every year, I watch Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton, and I smile.
And I think – Fuck Christmas.
I try very hard to be nice and do the right thing, but deep down I’m a very hard man, and I’ve done and seen some very bad things in my life. It’s okay though – ‘cause I’m really trying my best to transcend that, and I think I’m succeeding.
So there’s that.