Have you ever thought about how weird Christmas traditions are?
For about one month a year, I suddenly find myself compelled to do things I either don’t like or wouldn’t willingly do otherwise. And yet, here I am, year after year, needing to do the same things each and every time because “it’s tradition”.
And we all have these traditions, too – regardless of whatever holiday you celebrate. Each and every one of us finds ourselves compelled by tradition that really hold little meaning besides the fact that that’s the way it’s always been done.
So this year, in anticipation of the Christmas season, I’m going to make a list of three things I just have to do every year.
1. Drink eggnog
Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t like eggnog.
I don’t like its taste.
I don’t like its texture.
I don’t like the funny way it looks at me.
I just don’t like it.
And yet, every single year, as December rolls by, I see the grocery stores begin to stock it, and I find myself saying to whatever company I’m in: “oh, we should do eggnog this year!”
And every single year, I drink the smallest glass possible as quickly as possible to make the suffering minimal.
Happy Holidays to me!
2. Advent Calendars
When it comes to chocolate, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m something of a snob. I like good chocolate. I like chocolate that’s rich and creamy, preferably with peanut butter or caramel tucked sweetly inside. Cheap chocolate, in my opinion, tastes just slightly off. The last time I had cheap chocolate, I spent a good few minutes afterwards trying to decide if it was supposed to taste slightly minty, or if that was just how it was.
If I can’t have good chocolate, I’d rather not have chocolate at all. Or, at least, that’s true for eleven months of the year.
Because once December hits, suddenly every store gets these cute little Advent calendars, with their pictures of snowmen and Santa Clause and, in some cases, Disney characters on the front.
And even though I don’t like cheap chocolate, even though I’m twenty-one years old and I don’t need a tiny chocolate pill to eat once a day to get excited for Christmas, I still find themselves buying them every year.
And, yes, I know that there are Advent calendars that are made with legitimately good chocolate, but fuck those. I’ve been buying cheap Advent calendars for twenty-one Christmases now, and I’m not going to stop now.
I’m going to keep getting cheap Advent calendars, even when I’m thirty years old and buying them for my own children as well.
3. Christmas movies
I don’t watch Christmas movies for eleven months of the year, but when December does come around at last, I’m suddenly reminded of how much I love them.
I love how pure they are.
I love how impossibly, over-the-top happy they are.
Because I know that, in real life, the work-a-holic father would not suddenly change and become a better man because of the holiday spirit. And yet it’s still so sweet to see once a year.
I have to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol.
I have to watch the Grinch (both the old and new version).
I have to watch Elf, regardless of my opinions on Will Ferrel the rest of the year.
It doesn’t matter, because it is Christmas, and there are traditions to be upheld, gosh darnit.