I honestly cannot remember a time in my adult life where I got caught up in the spirit of the winter holidays. For me, holidays always end up being more a time of stress than of joy, usually involving some sort of enforced in-person social interaction with people I do my best to avoid the rest of the year round. There are Expectations to be met, and honestly, there’s just not enough about it that I like to make me look forward despite all the things I don’t.
As a result, most of the media surrounding the festive season is lost on me. Still, over the past several years, I’ve managed to find that a handful of things – at least for me – have either stood the test of time, or have allowed me to stop and take a deep breath during my personal Season of Anxiety.
I used to try to get myself in the holiday mood by watching old Christmas specials – miss me with the Hallmark Christmas romances, but stuff from the years before I knew just how much damn work the holidays were. This year, I sat down on Discord with a handful of my friends and we watched both The Year Without A Santa Claus and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Now, I will not be taking any arguments for any other version of the Dickens’ classic – this one is the superlative version. However, you might be wondering why I choose this particular Rankin & Bass Christmas special over the more well-known (and well-loved) options, and let me assure it, it is 99% for the musical number about the halfway point, featuring the Miser Brothers.
While I usually watch these on my own, as they put me in touch with simpler times, watching with friends really put a new spin on this one for me this year, and might be something I make an effort to do going forward.
Although my childhood took place firmly in the television age, there’s always been something about radio dramas I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Cape Cod Radio Mystery Theater, which put out a handful of episodes starting in the early 80s. I owned The Case of the Murdered Miser on a cassette tape many years ago, and I was thrilled last year to rediscover it available for purchase digitally on Amazon. It’s a courtroom drama concerning the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge, who in this adaptation, did not quite survive to have a rendezvous with the three spirits of Christmas.
I realize that an annual playthrough of the Santa’s Rampage level of Viscera Cleanup Detail is not a holly jolly holiday tradition, but I’m going to be honest with you – I completely get how Santa might just have gone off the deep end. I mean, sure he might only be on the clock one night out of the whole year, but I still wouldn’t want his job.
I have, of course, played other levels of Viscera Cleanup Detail, a game that is both incredibly frustrating and completely Zen. But almost every year, sometime in December, I’ll fire the game up and clean-up after Santa Claus, calmly and without judgement.
4 thoughts on “Nerdy Holiday Traditions for the Chronically Grinch-ified”
Unlike you I love this season, these days. When I read things like this blog post it brings me back to times when I was involved with people with demanding families and then I do remember how stressful that is. My own family is mostly dead now, and my partner’s family is far enough away that all they require is a phone call that I’m not on. So no familial obligations for me other than a call to my brother, whom I haven’t seen in years.
In my little inner head cannon Christmas is still the Christmas of the 50s and 60s where suddenly strangers stop and wish each other season’s greetings. And y’know sometimes I get little hits of that. This morning a neighbor whom I’ve never spoken to stopped to say good morning. I decided that was due to the season. But who knows?
I always read A Christmas Carol this time of year, generally find time to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Story
Some of my happiest Christmases are from when I was in my mid-20s and I’d spend the holiday with a ‘family’ of friends of my own choosing. The emphasis was just on enjoying each other’s company rather than gifts and such. Most of the time was spent in a favorite pub or something, so no one was killing themselves decorating. No one was cooking or traveling. Just relaxing and having a few drinks and talking. (I was MUCH more extroverted and social back then.)
In practical terms, for me these days this is a chance to relax and recharge, which is why I love it so much. I try to get time off work but even when I do work things tend to be pretty low-key.
I’m sorry it is such a stressful unpleasant time for you, and I hope you find at least a little bit of peace and quiet sometime before the new year.
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I have, over the last few years, managed to pare down most of what is actively stressful about the season, and this year is shaping up to be the most chill Christmas in my memory. But my mother is getting older, and is still insisting on making a big old party about it (despite the fact that our Christmas dinner is for less than a dozen people), and I find I’m resentful of how much work it is to do something that I don’t much care for in the first place. But I have managed to adjust things so I don’t hate it, or even dread it, I just … don’t get what the big deal is for everyone else.
After Sunday, things should – more or less – return to normal, provided no one I know gets it in their head to make a big deal out of my New Year’s Eve birthday, despite my very clear lack of interest in any kind of festivities to mark the occasion.
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Ah… Heat Miser and Cold Miser. I miss that show.