The Gozamos Grinch and Gozamos Elf duke it out over Christmas. Whose side are you on?

Ba-humbug! Christmas Sucks!
– Remedios Piña

I think the only redeeming quality this holiday season has is the music. I have to say Christmas music has a special catchy something. Too bad it doesn’t make up for the rest of the holiday.

Most people who don’t like Christmas will tell you it is because of the way it promotes this overly consumerist environment, but that’s not me. Hey we live in the U.S. It’s a capitalist nation, and frankly we need people to buy more to help the economy recover. But what is annoying is the shoppers. Every year annoying shoppers and tourists flock downtown and make my otherwise relaxed walks from the El to work a complicated navigational dance.

Then there’s the gifts. I’m all for giving people gifts as a way to show them how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate their presence in your life, but to be socially forced to give everyone you know a gift–it’s too much. Have you seen how many people are in an average Latino family? Not including the cousins and in-laws. I’m not trying to generalize or stereotype. I’m speaking in reference to my own family who nears the mid-double digits when you count cousins and nieces and nephews and in-laws. Shopping for the gifts can become quite the hassle, and not just because of the quantity. How do you know what you got for them was meaningful enough to say “Hey, we’re family,” especially when you’ve probably only talked to more than half of them a handful of times.

Most of all I hate the “Christmas Spirit.” I think it is just an excuse that allows people not to care the other 364 days of the year. We like to praise each other for volunteering an hour at a homeless shelter, and then go home to our warm houses and large dinners. I used to work for a catering company, and it would make me so angry sometimes that there would be so-called charities who would throw themselves lavish dinners to congratulate themselves for raising a couple thousand dollars, often spending three times as much on the celebratory dinner.

I am not by any means saying I am above this. I don’t even volunteer on Christmas or Thanksgiving. And although I know that almost every place that needs volunteers throughout the rest of the year would really only ask for an hour or two commitment a week, I still don’t take the time to find something.

I wouldn’t say I hate Christmas, but there’s definitely a very strong dislike. I feel absolutely no remorse whatsoever stating this. I understand that most of my reasons for having such a strong dislike border on selfish; you’re more likely to find a Festivus pole in my apartment than a Christmas tree. Call me a Grinch all you want, hell I’m sure if I could own a tiny dog with the strength to pull me and a sleigh full of stolen goods, I might be tempted to commit a few breaking and entering offenses.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!
– Melissa Nuñez-Mangold

“Christmastime is here.” Those sweet notes sung by the Peanuts gang are enough to melt the iciest hearts. Hell, the opening notes alone are enough to make this ice queen want to hop into some Christmas tree-print jammy pants and snuggle next to the garland-adorned fireplace, maybe even with a mug of egg nogg for kicks.

Now, even though I just referred to my pajama bottoms as jammy pants, do not mistake me for a warm and fuzzy kind of person. While I do appreciate the softer things in life (like my beloved jammies), 11 months out of the year I am fairly moody, with a smidge of sarcasm and a dash of bitchy. But there is something about the Christmas season that transforms me into this happy little Christmas elf, running around hanging ornaments and wreaths and putting presents under the tree. The moment I’ve fully digested my Thanksgiving leftovers, a wave of Christmas warmth washes over me like some sort of hand-knit Martha Stewart afghan throw. It’s a good thing.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not crazy. Not clinically anyway. It’s just that I seriously love Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the music, the warm feeling from family and friends. What’s not to love? Christmas is effin’ magical.

Just look at the way it transforms the abysmal winter scenery into this gorgeous twinkling display of all things glittery and golden. Sure, the summer months may be bright and full of sunshine, but the aesthetics of Christmas are a glistening oasis in the otherwise gray and bleek winter months. As the last few leaves have finished falling, up go the Christmas lights, giving a new beaming life to the otherwise barren trees. The storefront windows in the Mag Mile are decorated in grand fashion, causing pedestrians (okay usually tourists) to stop and stare. It brings back a liveliness to streets that faded as the summer came to an end.

Christmas brings people together. Whether it be co-workers sharing treats and one too many drinks, or friends exchanging laughs at an ugly sweater party, Christmas gives us a reason to pause the everyday craziness of life and enjoy one another’s company. We make it a point to wish friends and even acquaintances a happy holiday. We gather and share actual real-life conversations, not just text messages and Facebook posts. We travel by train, plane and automobile to see friends and family members we haven’t seen the rest of the year. And even though there are plenty of people who complain about spending time with their families, there are even more college students, people working far from home and military troops who are already counting down the days until December 25th, when they will be home with their loved ones, possibly enjoying the comforts of Christmas pajamas too.

And often, when we gather with these loved ones, we’ll exchange gifts, which is simultaneously a fan favorite and a grinch’s gripe about the holiday. Scrooges argue that retailers make the holidays over-commercialized, putting up their decorations as early as Halloween and creating frenzied mobs with low-priced doorbuster deals as bait. To that I say, kindly get your panties out of a bunch. Who cares if the decorations are up early? It’s not like they’re going to cancel Thanksgiving and the entire month of November just because Target puts out gift wrap on October 31st. And if you don’t like shopping with the Starbucks-caffeinated masses, I’ve got this great invention I’d like to show you called the Internet, and it’s a wonderful world of online shopping. Just last weekend I got a good chunk of my holiday shopping done, right from the comfort of those infamous flannel pants of mine.

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