Because I usually feel like I am.
Once upon a time, I loved Christmas. As a highschool and college student, I enjoyed spending my hard-earned money and endless hours finding just the perfect gift for friends and family. My mom's family would have a huge Christmas meal, and everything was just perfect.
Right before I graduated college, my mother's mom - beloved matriarch of the family and host of all family functions - passed away. The family drifted to only getting together at the high holidays in a church's meeting hall, and this year they opted to only do Thanksgiving dinner. My mom's family - the people that taught me the meaning of family - are choosing to not get together this year.
On top of that, my husband and I are still recovering financially from when he was unemployed for almost a year and a half. My stepchildren have extremely unrealistic ideas of what we can afford, and my husband has stressed himself sick about it. Me being me, I say we do what we can and explain to them that we do many special things for them throughout the whole year and will do our best to have extra special birthdays for them this coming year.
They're 13 and 14, coming up on their birthdays in the next few months. I feel this is an acceptable thing to ask them to give us some room on, as they'll be given massive Christmas gifts from their grandparents and great-grandparents. We're talking multiple thousands spent on presents and also many hundreds given in cash.
I feel they'll understand because they know we've been struggling and they're also old enough to get how expensive their lists are; my husband believes they'll never forgive us if they don't each get an iPhone 5S, an XBox One for the son and an iPad Air for the daughter (actual Christmas list items). My take: we already pay nearly $300 a month in cellphone bills, the XBox 360 isn't broken and they've both busted their iPhone 4's into oblivion. Ain't happenin', cap'n. Oh and they both also have laptops and Kindle Fire HDs, courtesy of grandparents.
All of this combines to turn me into a major Christmas Grinch. I hate it when December comes around. I will break fingers if anybody tries to change my car stereo to a Christmas music channel. I make it clear that I want absolutely no gifts, so I don't have to feel obligated to reciprocate.
Even as a flag-carrying atheist, I used to enjoy Christmas as a time to get with family and enjoy good times, whether you had gifts to exchange or not. I grew up dirt poor and still loved Christmas, until my insane fucking family - both through marriage and otherwise - robbed me of that. Sigh.
Please tell me I'm not alone in doing an internal little happy dance when December 26th rolls around?