Thirty Days of Feelings: Day Seventeen

This year I’m undergoing a bit of an experiment: Thirty straight days of doing/watching/listening to/reading something that makes me feel – however fleetingly – like an actual human being, in the hopes that this will thaw a layer of ice off my frozen shriveled little heart, and allow me to not be such a buzzkill this year. So let’s get to it.

Day Seventeen: Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown

“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.”

If there’s one quote that perfectly encapsulates how I feel about Christmas, it’s this one. I do like getting presents, and cooking big meals, and going to holiday parties and wearing tacky sweaters. I like sipping coco by the fire curled up with people I love. I like singing Christmas hymns at the Christmas Eve service at church, and lighting the candles and reading the nativity story. I like all those things, I really do! But I just don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I get annoyed at those people that start freaking out about it in July. I get annoyed when Christmas decorations come out the day after Halloween. I get annoyed by Black Friday sales getting moved up to Thanksgiving. I get tired of hearing an endless loop of “Christmas” songs that really only talk about fat snowmen or winter wonderlands. I get tired of the non-stop barrage of holiday commercials trying to convince me to buy some more inane crap. I get tired of these assholes on Fox News bemoaning the “War on Christmas.” I’m sorry douches, but the “War on Christmas” was lost the day the flipping Flintstones celebrated Christmas millennia before the birth of Christ.

I can’t separate the commercialism from the holiday. I can’t separate the secularism from the holiday. I can’t separate years of guilt – for causing my extended family to fight, for them spending half their yearly income to make us happy. I can’t separate years of resentment of my extended family, who are constantly being bailed out by my parents yet treat them with jealousy and judgment. I can’t separate the constant reminder that Christmas is a time to be with someone you love – and yet here I am, unsure if I’ve ever felt that way about anyone. I want to. I hope to. But right now, I can’t.

And neither can Charlie Brown. But by golly he tries. He directs the Christmas play, hoping it will inspire those feelings inside him. But all everyone wants to do is modernize the holiday, and the play, to make it more fun and more relevant. He tries to get a Christmas tree, but they’re all aluminum and multicolored and weird. Ultimately however, it all works out. His best friend Linus delivers the nativity speech, reminding Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas. His friends circle around him and decorate his crappy little dead tree. And Christmas is saved for our lovable hero.

Charlie Brown is… the most cynical little optimist around. Yes, he complains about Christmas. Yes, he gets rocks for Thanksgiving. Yes, he gets no respect from friends and pets alike, and that little redhead girl never notices him. But he tries so darn hard. He always goes after that football. And honestly, that’s so freaking inspiring. It gives me hope. I know he’s just a cartoon character, but if that little guy can deal with his issues, well then so can I.

So let’s go after those footballs. Lucys of the world, beware.

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