Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Death of Christmas

This is not my favorite time of year. I hate Christmas with the fire of a thousand suns. Yeah, I know that seems a bit extreme, but I stand by my statement. I originally was going to vent about how Christmas has been so bastardized by greed and gluttony, but I've changed my mind. Instead, I'm going to write about when Christmas lost its magic for me.

When I was a little girl, I loved Barbie dolls. Every year, all I wanted for my birthday, Christmas and Easter was a new Barbie doll. I received so many over the years of my childhood, I could populate a Barbie commune with them. When I was 7, I remember going to school one day (after being out for a couple of days with a nasty black eye) and opening my exceedingly messy desk to find a birthday/get well present from one of my classmates, Sarah. It was a lovely Barbie in a pretty summer dress with blue shoes to match. I was thrilled. I proudly carried that doll home and showed my mom what Sarah had given me in school. I believe that was the beginning of people regularly giving me Barbie dolls as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I'd say that most often, they were Christmas gifts, but let's face it, that was twenty years ago and my memory is a little fuzzy.

Flash forward from when I was 7 to when I was 11 or 12. This was the ultimate year of the Barbie. Between all the relatives who gave me gifts, I managed to accumulate four brand-spankin' new dolls for Christmas. I'd never had that many new Barbies at one time, I didn't know which one to play with first. Ah, such excitement from molded plastic and tiny articles of polyester clothing! I was, and still am, so easy to please. I thought for sure the number of dolls I would continue to receive would only increase as I got older. I never once thought the splendid feeling of opening new Barbie dolls would soon come to an end.

The very next Christmas, after thinking for an entire year that the previous holiday's bounty was an indication that more and more Barbies would come, I only received one Barbie. I was heartbroken. Surely I should have gotten at least the same amount as the year before, so why didn't I? I was older, and the older you get, the more you get, right? Wrong. It was the last Barbie I received as a gift, ever. Apparently it was decided (without consulting me, of course) that I was getting too old for little girls' playthings. I didn't think I was getting too old, so why did everybody else? I still played with my Barbies, combing their hair and dressing them in the many outfits I had amassed over the years. I loved every strand on their blonde heads, every bendy leg and stiff arm. So why was I too old to get them?

I never understood why. It was then that Christmas lost all its charms for me. I didn't think it then, but looking back I suppose I thought on some level that if I was too old for my cherished dolls, I must have been too old for a child's holiday. Christmas is for toys and I was too old for toys. Sure, I'd get somewhat excited about some of the other things I'd get, like books or a new toy-like gadget. But no one understood why I didn't get as excited as my sister did about getting clothes for Christmas. It's because I didn't want any stupid clothes; I wanted my Barbies, damn it!!!

So there it is, the reason I hate Christmas so much. Perhaps it's selfish, but put yourself in the mind of a tween-age girl whose only passion at the time was a formed plastic doll. I'd been told that I was no longer allowed to enjoy my passion because I was too old for it and needed to grow up. A harsh message that broke my little heart. I've yet to recover.

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