Another Christmas has come and gone, unless you're someone who celebrates Epiphany. I was thinking a little about holiday depression, partially because of Charlie Brown.
I've heard that it's not true that suicides increase significantly around the December holidays, but I still think they're depressing for many people. And it's probably not just Seasonal Affective Disorder; I used to think I might have that, but I'm not sure I'm any more generally depressed then than in any other month, and I'm probably less depressed overall than I used to be, due to various factors including medication. Then again, I do mentally associate sadness with cold, and winter can be a very frustrating season, what with the ice and snow and such. But I think it's also pretty common to be more aware of your own depression when other people around you seem happy, or when everyone seems to think you're SUPPOSED to be happy. I don't recall this ever hitting me particularly hard around Christmas, though. It's not as much fun now as when I was a kid, but that's probably largely because other people did most of the work then, as well as how I got a whole week off from school. My birthday, though, was always kind of sad for me because hardly anyone acknowledged it, and I didn't have any close friends I could celebrate with. And that's in mid-November, which is also when the cold generally starts setting in, so there might be some kind of subconscious connection there. Charlie Brown felt that the holiday season emphasized the fact that people didn't like him, and I get that. No one even has to actively exclude me; it's just that I don't think I'm important to anyone. But then, a lot of people think they're Charlie Brown.
I also thought of how the Grinch could potentially be seen as having much the same problem; he doesn't want to be invited to the Whos' Christmas celebration, but he hates that they're shoving it in his face.
Not that they necessarily KNOW they're doing that, but it's how he sees it. Of course, his reaction is destructive, but it also leads to his becoming friendlier. Hey, if Christmas spirit can make Skeletor do good deeds, what hope does the Grinch have? I've never seen the Jim Carrey Grinch movie, and while I'm not saying I'll necessarily never see it, I don't have any particular desire to do so. From what I've heard, though, it fits into the somewhat annoying trend of reducing an established villain's motivation to a reaction to some particular childhood trauma. Later movies did the same kind of thing with the Phantom of the Opera, the Wicked Witch of the West, and even Leatherface. Not that I don't think childhood trauma is significant, but most people who experience it don't become serial killers or holiday thieves. Charlie Brown and the Grinch both also have an aversion to conspicuous Christmas consumerism, but most of us other than Kirk Cameron can agree about that. Really, part of why Christmas merchandising in September bothers me isn't because I hate Christmas, but because it kind of cheapens things when you're seeing decorations for almost half the year.
I will say my holiday season this year was pretty hectic. This past weekend, I visited both my parents. My mom made Beth and me a ham and cheese quiche (hadn't had any of that in a while) and cake. At my dad's, my brother and his wife and son (my nephew) came to visit as well, and we exchanged gifts. We also learned how to play Farkle, which is similar to Yahtzee, except you get multiple rolls. There's more risk involved, and as someone who isn't so keen on taking risks, I didn't do so well. Then we drove back up to Brooklyn so we could work on Christmas Eve, and returned to Beth's mom's house that evening. Presents I received included a Carl Barks Donald Duck book, the Hungry Tiger Press edition of L. Frank Baum's John Dough and the Cherub, a CD of Devo's first album, a Mario shirt (which I dropped in the mud when one of my bags ripped, but it should be okay after I clean it), and Radiant Historia, a game I don't know much about but that sounded interesting.
I have a backlog of games I need to try, including some on systems we have but that aren't hooked up. So does Beth, for that matter. I told her she needed to take some time playing video games and wearing dresses, since she has several of both she never uses. I got her Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World for the 3DS, which seems appropriate as she knits, but also because we seem to mention Poochy more often than most people probably do.
He ain't stupid, you know. And today, I officially started a new job at the place I was already working, but no longer through the temp agency. Busy, busy, busy!
Is it more common nowadays for people to share stuff to the Internet on holidays, or is that based on a misinterpretation or lack of a representative sample on my part? It does seem like, back in the days of e-mail lists, there were rarely any posts on days like Christmas. It's like the unspoken corollary of "Christmas is a time to spend with family" was "and nobody else." I hear a lot about people spending too much time looking at screens, which may be true, but it does help me feel less lonely.