The Holiday Season Has Been Taken Over By Satan!

Hear me out.

Every year the fall season arrives. The leaves start falling. The air gets a little colder. You can feel the excitement amongst people as the holidays approach. Or is that feeling dread? What is supposed to be the most the most wonderful time of the year often turns into a nightmare for so many people, including myself.

If you are an October Scorpio like myself, the holiday season starts with your birthday. I love my birthday. The 25th is a perfect square mathematically speaking and so am I. It is the same birthday as Katy Perry and Drake, a pair of celebrities that I hope will make a track together one day.

My birthday used to be such an innocent thing when I was a kid. It is a magical day when it is okay for everything to be about you and to shamelessly hope for as many expensive gifts as possible. I never got everything I wanted of course because I came from a low income family but I usually got a few things I wanted.

As an adult this holiday has lost some of its innocence. A part of this has to do with my knowledge that The Satanic Temple, a political and religious organization based out of my home state of Massachusetts, acknowledges the birthday of an individual as an important religious holiday about exalting thyself. This makes me a little uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. Is it wrong for me to revel in the amazingness of myself, especially as I get older and (seemingly) have less reasons to do so as I continue fail to live up to my own expectations?

The Satanic Temple also acknowledges Halloween as one of its religious holidays. There are of course as we all know lots of Christians out there who refuse to celebrate it due to its invoking of spooky and demonic stuff. As a person who was raised Christian and practices his own version of it in my adulthood, I have always refused to buy into this narrative. Halloween is whatever you make of it. I prefer to make it into something fun where I get to dress up as some kind of character other than the one I usually play in my day to day life and act goofy.

It is true though that as I get older this holiday too has lost a lot of its innocence. No longer is it about dressing up with my friends and siblings so that we can go door to door collecting candy from strangers. More often it is just about partying and indulging wicked desires. There are people I know that actually practice witchcraft and similar types of stuff on this day, which can be harmless or dangerous depending on the intent of the people doing it. For most Christians this is reason enough alone to avoid the holiday, regardless of what the people practicing the holiday say there intent is.

November comes. The leaves are all dead at this point. Being outside is becoming a lot less fun as the world gets colder and uglier. There is a few weeks to prepare yourself for the dread of getting together with family you barely see or speak to all year. The realization that you have been more naughty than nice is settling in.

Thanksgiving usually is a bitter sweet holiday that reminds you that the last time you had a real feast like this with several meal courses was about 7 months ago on Easter. The struggle to attempt remembering table manners is real. The statements you prepared the previous night for all of the small talk questions from relatives go over fairly well. You realize that you are in fact thankful for the people and things in your life even if they do not quite live up to everything you think in your head that they should be.

Then Christmas comes! The cobwebs come down and the Christmas trees go up. Light is exchanged for darkness. Everyone rocks around their Christmas tree and jingles all the way. We watch The Grinch and A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life and not only remember what Christmas is really about but that life is in fact worth living and that we matter. We realize that all we want for Christmas is a woman as beautiful and perfect as Mariah Carey to greet us in a red suit on Christmas morning and make love to us. The kids get everything on their wish lists regardless of what spoiled brats they already are. We remember that God came down in the form of baby Jesus to save us from our sins. Life is good.

Do I sound cynical? That is because I am. This time of year is awful for those who have poorly planned their finances all year like myself. Having lived as a renunciate of sorts for many years that lives in all sorts of places and with a minimal amount of money, this inescapable holiday is cruel to me. Some of this has to do with poor planning on my part, this is true. Much of it though has to do with the conflict about what this holiday is and how to celebrate it. The guilt of receiving gifts from people whom you did not buy gifts for is one of the worst in the world. The worst part that you do in fact actually care a lot about some of these people but the subtle implication is that by refusing to participate in the exchanging of gifts that I am not reciprocating the love.

What am I trying to get at here? I am not sure. Do not mistake me. I love the idea of Christmas. For some reason though I usually end up feeling miserable and lonely during it, even when I am with other people. A few Christmases I have spent by myself which oddly have felt more appropriate to me.

There just seems to be something terribly wrong with this whole set up. The juxtaposition of my birthday and Halloween next to thanksgiving and Christmas has always proven impossible to balance. Both of the holidays seem absurd and not designed to coexist but instead to cause lots of duress on everyone who is expected to participate in them. They feel disruptive and instead of natural. I hate all of it. I want so badly to experience the magic and joy that they tease yet it feels so unattainable no matter what I do, always slipping out of reach just as my fingers begin to clasp upon it.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Shawn Mason

Shawn Mason

front desk clerk at the Ridgeline Hotel in Gardiner, Montana next to the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.