That plenty of people thoroughly dislike Christmas is an ill-kept secret, but because the sentiment runs counter to so much popular culture, people do not discuss it much.
Still, the weekly readers’ poll seems to have provided an outlet for those disaffected members of our community. While none of the five proffered responses to the question – What do you like most about celebrating Christmas? – were particularly cynical, a determined handful of voters made their voices heard under the “other” option.
Their comments captured something of the fatigue many feel after weeks of commercial pressure to buy, to shop, to be jolly, to consume. To be fair, supporters of the holiday proved as vocal as its detractors.
In total, 384 votes were cast, led by 245, or 63.8 percent, who said “gathering with the family” was their favorite part of the holidays.
Voters left only four comments, however, none necessarily involving the family.
“Church,” said one.
“Eating turtle meat, our delicacy,” said another, although leaving unexplained why turtle meat at Christmas might be different from turtle meat at another time of year.
“Please remember that Jesus is the reason for the season,” said a third, offering a lovely sentiment, but without any “family” reference.
Finally, “singing carols” was the fourth remark.
In second place were 70 votes, or 18.23 percent, cast in favor of “getting time off from work/school.” While not particularly relevant to Christmas, no one has publicly complained about the Christmas/New Years holidays, which, coming in midweek this year, tend to extend into weekends.
In third place, attracting 39 votes, 10.2 percent of the total, was “eating and drinking,” two out of the three favorite activities of people, but, again, not particularly exclusive to Christmas.
Voters in the category left no comments, making difficult any further understanding, but leaving one to ask how Christmas might be different from family gatherings at any time of year.
In fourth place were 21 votes, or 5.5 percent of the total, cast for “other,” usually a forum for people to sound off. This one proved an assortment of cynicism, quiet faith and personal reflection.
Six of the 17 comments in the category mentioned the birth of Jesus Christ. Trenchantly, one voter pointed out how sad it was that the poll did not mention Jesus, that he “wasn’t an option.”
Other responses ranged from “midnight Mass” to “cool weather” to “watching TV.” One accepted all the poll options as excellent reasons to enjoy the holiday, saying “all of the above.”
Voters clearly less enamored of the holiday than others offered five answers to the question about what was best at Christmas.
“Nothing,” said one. “Making money from tourists,” said another. “Haven’t celebrated Christmas for many, many years,” said a third, echoed by a fourth: “Don’t care for Christmas. Just another day.”
A more enigmatic point of view, perhaps, pointed to a general weariness with the relentless, perhaps obligatory, public display of good cheer: “Where is the webcam?”
A thoughtful opinion closed out the poll category, however, leaving a sense of hope in the midst of the noise and tumult, perhaps sparing Christmas for those hoping for better: “I love everything: music, Christmas songs, food, decorations, the spirit, Christmas movies.”
The birth of Jesus, the respondent wrote, was the entire point of the season: “His coming into the world in the form of a human being was the greatest gift ever and [for] which we should constantly give thanks.”
The fifth option in the week’s poll was “giving and receiving presents,” which drew only nine votes, 2.3 percent of the total. Clearly, children are not among poll respondents, but it seems odd that so few votes – and no comments at all – attended the option.
Next week’s question:
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?
Yes, they spur us to self-improvement (explain)
No, no one keeps them (explain)
They are not bad, but are a form of wishful thinking (explain)
Resolutions are another way of saying “new year, new start” (explain)
To participate, visit www.cayCompass.com.