That time of year

Posted by admin on December 04, 2016

That time of year. Again...

Well here we are. Late November just after Thanksgiving.

You know what that means. Black Friday, and cyber Monday.

Forget the deeper meaning of the days for now. I'll get to them. I ask my self why the hype?

Are people really that much like sheep?

I will try and explain the best I can.


As many of you know I'm not a fan of the Holidays.

As a child I used to love Christmas. As with most children I loved the idea of all the presents under the tree. The excitement of what might be under all the wrapping! I can't pin point the exact time everything changed. But it did.

As a child I was not the healthiest of kids. For some reason I started getting sick all the time around 12. I was missing weeks of school at a time. And for some reason I would always get sick over the Christmas break. Year after year this would happen. Even before I was 12.

I remember several Christmas days I was on the couch in the living room with a high temp. Not really enjoying the day at all. This alone is not the reason. I seldom get sick at that time of year. It still happens but not as often. This alone is not the reason.

In my early life I felt a real connection with what I thought was, at that time, God. The one and only. That faded quickly.

There is a dichotomy, The commercial Christmas as it's celebrated in the USA. In other words. Spend, spend, spend. This is in direct contradiction with the spiritual nature of the days. I never felt right to me. The connection you are supposed at that time of year with the divine. So I just went with the gift thing.

As I grew older and learned more. I came to know the truth of it. December 25 is a day that was used to co-opt the Pagan faiths. In the Pagan faiths the winter solstice, December 21, is a day of celebration. It marked the time of the year where the days would stop getting shorter and start getting longer. It was considered the birth of the new sun. At least in the Celtic.

The Roman Emperor Constantine in the year 313 decided to use the date 12-25 as the birthday of Jesus the Christ.

No real hard evidence on his part as to why he chose that day unless you think about it. I'll let you decide. Read the article for your self.

Now, not feeling that connection started to make sense. I kept digging, learning all I could. I was even ordained at one point. Trust me when I say I would ever teach or preach. Way to many holes and contradictions in that "Truth" for my taste.

I have worked in retail more than I would like to admit. This was in between the work in Hollywood and theater. Retail that is, I was often a manager, buyer. In a few cases I ran the place. Successfully I might say. I even sold Real Estate. I consider Real Estate a form of retail. I did well in that too.

It was in one retail store in a mall back in the 80's I got to see the reality of the season and how people at large choose to behave. It was a real eye opener to say the least. I not sure what I disliked more. The pushing and the shoving of the customers, or the owner being over joyed with the money that was rolling in. It got so bad I started to have nightmares. Customers coming over the counter pulling at me to help them first. All the while hearing the cash register keeping the sad count on humanity. It was everywhere. There was no place to hide from it. I started to ask myself what was it all really about. If I was to take what I had seen in every retail job as the true nature of people, at least in the USA I would have to say, that alone would make things hard for me.

I was raised by parents that drank way to much. Early in my life, (okay no real secret I was born in 1959) they only drank after 5 pm. They were from New York. This last bit of info was the reason they drank. According to them It's what you did back in the day. An excuse to be sure. They also took a lot of prescription drugs. A terrible combination. One that would cause a lot of problems for them later in life.

Here is a paragraph I wrote for a collage class that sums up some of my better feelings.

It's called.

Memories of Christmas

Christmas at my house while I was growing up consisted mostly of four activities. Opening presents with lots of pictures being taken, my playing outside with the new toys. My parents watching a sporting event and becoming completely inebriated , and then trying to cook dinner while being three sheets to the wind. I always knew when it was time to come home for dinner. The delicate aroma of burning animal flesh wafting down the street was always a clear indication that dinner was about to be served. Later on that night my father lit a fire in the fireplace. A bonfire! An O'Neal Christmas tradition. A fire on Christmas night in Southern California. He did stop short of using gasoline to start a fire, as the two pounds of crumpled newspaper would suffice. I remember fondly of throwing in the tattered Christmas wrapping paper and superfluous cardboard boxes into the fire. Stoking the flames to a temperature nearing that of the fires of prediction, all the while I was being cheered on by a very happy drunk.

The majesty of a live Christmas tree with the sweet scent of pine filling the room. The house decorated with soft glowing lights, stockings hung on the mantle, and for one brief moment in the morning while opening presents, the feeling of family.

That's what I will remember.

As you can see it was a bit rocky. I did, and do try and keep some of that feeling alive. It's not that easy. In fact it only got worse in later years.

I was 21 and living away from the house. I know what my parents would be like. So in instead of going over for Christmas I called them. I wanted to wish them a Merry Christmas, so I called. I know I should have gone over in person. However I know what was waiting for me. So I called mid day. I was hoping that they would be, well not under the influence. I was wrong. This day and throughout the call words were being slurred and anger filled the tone of the conversation. At one point my mom blurted out, By the way. We had to put the dog down. I asked when and all she would say was Over a week ago I was hurt, a lot. Yes the dog was over 15 years old and a German Shepherd. I know she was having trouble with her hips. (most do with age) I hung up the phone. I did not speak to either parent for over a year.

Christmas now starts in mid September. Decorations start coming out in the stores. From there it only gets worse. We are then bomb barded with adds in the media. Next up, the endless same 20-30 songs played over and over.

This year it's so bad one radio station in Seattle has been created that will only play Christmas music. Thank the Gods I'm to far to get it. Not that I would ever tune it in. I tell you it's enough to make me puke.

I have to admit I still get haired out in big crowds at stores and malls. The nightmares of people coming at me over the counters, they all come back.

I have written many a thing about  Black Friday and how stupid it is. The stories of violence from the news often fuel my anxiety and I wish I did not have to participate in all the madness. I refuse to go out on that day. If there is any way around it that is. Once while working on that day. I had a customer confront me because I was going in the store early. I told him I worked there. He snarled,  Then open the fucking doors! How this five foot 9 inch asshole thought he could coerce a six foot seven 290 lbs weight lifter astounds me. I replied with a certain amount of satisfaction,  Sorry you will have to wait just like everyone else On this day, after the doors were open and a rush crush of people rushed in. I had to break up a fight.

All this combined has brought me to this, hatred of this time of year. Call me a cynic, asshole, whatever you like. At this point I don't care.  I do try and help people. Not just this time of year but all the time.

In this world we live in it easy to get caught up in the clap trap. I shun it whenever possible, and keep to my self most of the time.

I will celebrate this time of the year in my own way. For me it's Yule. With all the mixed signals from the media and religious groups, It makes the most sense and feel right. An astronomic event. Something no one can contravene or subvert.