Dispatches | December 10, 2009

This week at TMR Dedra and the office workers decorated for Christmas. Charles and Lisa and Lindsay plugged in my old Target-bought fiber-optic tree and decorated it with colorful chrome ornaments hung with paperclips. They wrapped a passel of fake presents to put under its light-pulsing plastic branches. And they placed Santa paraphernalia about our conference room and main office. Next week, we will have a Christmas party for our interns before they head home for a month-long vacation.

It’s all quite nice and cheery. Except for me. As a kid on the day after Christmas, I felt much like Esther does in The Bell Jar: dull, stuffed and disappointed. As I got older, I began to feel this way well before and long after the holiday.

Fortunately I have a husband who feels the same way about most major holidays. For Thanksgiving break we went to Palm Springs. On turkey day we took a tram into the mountains to hike and picnic. For Christmas we are planning a similar escape, first to Arizona and then to Mexico.

Around the office I made the mistake of announcing that I don’t like Christmas. My co-workers looked at me as if I had sprouted horns on my head and warts on my nose. I know better. There are certain likes and dislikes that you share only with your intimates. For example, you should only divulge how you feel about babies, holidays, religion, drugs, nude beaches, and your childhood to those who know and like you. None of these topics works in polite conversation.

So I’ve outted myself. I don’t like Christmas. But unlike Scrooge, I can do without visitations from ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. In fact, because I dislike the holidays so much, I practice the old axiom that it’s better to give than receive. My husband and I write Christmas checks and send gifts to our family and friends before we put out a “gone fishin’” sign and fly off to warmer climes.

Last year, Christmas dinner was sushi at Nik Sans, and we spent the next day sunning on a beach on the Sea of Cortez. Sitting in the shade of an umbrella sipping a daiquiri, I had forgotten what day it was until two young girls in bikinis walked passed me carrying brightly wrapped packages with floppy red ribbons. The juxtaposition of sea, sand, and Christmas presents made me smile as I ordered another drink to toast the holidays.

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