I hate Christmas. Don’t hate me.

by Abby McDowell
8 December 2017



You can call me Scrooge.

You don’t have to get me a gift.

But, please, don’t hate me for hating Christmas.

I have gotten my own abundance of appalled expressions as my friends exclaim, “But why? Christmas is the best time of the year!”

It may be for you, but it’s not for me.

As a child growing up in a house with foreign parents, there were many aspects of my life that were different from those of my peers. There were many things that I was willing to accept. Things that never bothered me because I loved my parents. I loved my life. Yet, Christmastime was a time that always made me sad.

My parents are the only people living in the United States from their families. I have no cousins, no aunts, and no grandparents within 3,958 miles of me.

I’d see Christmas movies as a child, and I’d see the typical Hallmark family coming together at the end of the film, only to realize that the true meaning of Christmas is to be with family and be grateful for what you have. After doing so, I’d proceed to call my grandmother with a cheery hello as she flipped through all the names of my cousins, struggling to find mine. Those conversations were always quick to end with the excuse that she had to get back to Christmas dinner and that she’d say hi to everyone for me.

I wanted to eat Christmas dinner. I wanted to say hi to everyone. But I never got to.

My parents tried their best to give me and my sister the Christmas they knew we wanted. They’d surround us with friends and gifts that we could barely wait for when it came to Christmas morning. As young kids, we were perfectly content with this.

As we got older, however, receiving my uncle’s Christmas gift in March with a note – “Sorry this was late. XX” — was always the sting we needed to understand that although my parents were trying their best, no one’s best was going to give me the Christmas that I’d imagined for so long. So for us, Christmas came to mean something different. Christmas was much deeper than gifts.


I wanted to eat Christmas dinner. I wanted to say hi to everyone. But I never got to.


Sometimes, we just didn’t receive gifts at all. I suppose my parents would get a call from my grandmother or my aunt saying, “What would Hannah and Abby like for Christmas this year? I just want to get it right.” With the underlying meaning being, “I haven’t seen your kids in years. I have no idea what they like.” My parents would understand this, and they’d give us a gift on behalf of them that we thought they couldn’t get overseas.

How naive of us.

The late gifts, the short phone calls, and the cluelessness that all came around Christmastime were all just symbols of a family that would never be close.

Christmas may be the best time of year for you, but it isn’t for everyone. I think it’s time that people start accepting that Christmas is a hard time for families sometimes, and not everyone has the Hallmark Christmas experience that they wish they could have.

So you can call me Scrooge.

I don’t expect a gift.

But, please, don’t hate me for hating Christmas.



Abby McDowell is an editor and columnist for Oswego East’s news magazine the HOWL

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