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I was debating a little bit about talking about my class privilege and how it has impacted my attitude towards Christmas. Admitting that you have some privilege when you’ve experienced a good amount of marginalization is emotionally throttling, though I must admit that my obnoxiously bubbly take on the whole Fake Jesus Birthday celebration is dependent on the fact that I have never experienced a Christmas without food, friends, family or presents. Even as an adult where the material gift-giving lessens, I still hop and skip around my job singing one of the five renditions of This Christmas that I have heard before 11:00 a.m. At home, I put in my Charlie Brown Christmas DVD and dance along with Snoopy all over my living room as is my right. OK, so MAYBE “obnoxious” doesn’t quite cover it…

As an atheist, my attitude toward Christmas is equally perplexing to my secular/non-Judeo Christian friends. I’ve written on length about my feelings in previous posts, but to sum it up:

It’s a season that’s all about peace on earth and motherfucking good will towards men (and women and both and neither). There’s chocolate. There’s alcohol. There’s friendly gathering. There’s gratitude. There’s sometimes dancing. There’s laughter. There’s compassion. What the hell isn’t there to get all giddy about? That is, if you have had the recurring experience and opportunity to have everything that I have mentioned.

I never want to feel like I’m throwing my happy Christmas memories in anyone’s face, but inevitably, that is exactly what I am doing when I giggle about the Christmas that I zipped my brother up into my brand new mountain climbing backpack and put him in my closet because I no longer wanted to be bothered with him.

The things that you realize when you hit your 30s…

That may or may not have the same Christmas that I got my new stereo system, and yet, I still had the nerve to throw a temper tantrum because my brother got a Playstation console. Again, there goes my class privilege. The one thing that is for certain is that I no longer consciously take for granted what I have been given these past 33 Christmases. Fuck, I got a nice wine glass set and Starbucks gift cards from my relatives last year. You know what that means? They have money AND they know me! And yes, I still go to Starbucks. I don’t have any issues with that. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their white chocolate mocha. I’m just sayin’.

Aaaaannnd there goes my class privilege again.

Let me establish some background here. My family is by no means wealthy; however, because we have always resided in expensive neighborhoods and gone off to private schools from preschool to university, my view of class privilege has been greatly distorted. Going to school in Boston sure as hell didn’t help either.
I’ve had to learn that, when you have privilege, you are required to acknowledge it. This is a constant work in progress since I make regular gaffes like assuming that everyone has attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or traveled outside of the United States. I recognize that it’s not my fault that I have been given so much that others have not, but it is my fault when I unconsciously keep throwing my privilege in everyone’s faces. What I basically need to work on is finding another way to express my gratitude sans snobbery during the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…because it always has been for me.

CUE THE FLASHBACK WAVES

I think that I have my father to partially thank for that. My father went without for most of his childhood, so he did what he could to make sure that his children never did. I still remember the year that I refused to go to bed on Christmas Eve because I was determined to learn how Santa got into our freaking house via chimney when we didn’t have an open fire place. When I was older, my father told me that my mom made him go outside and climb on the roof to get me to go to bed. I remember sitting in front of our 10 foot plastic tree (real trees were verboten due to my allergies and asthma) covered in silver tinsel, 6 sets of lights and my Christmas arts and crafts projects from my overpriced Montessori school when I heard the thumping on the roof. I ran to my mom to make sure that she had the cookies and the milk ready, then finally conceded to bedtime. When I woke up the next morning, the presents under the tree had doubled and there were crumbs where I had left the Chips-Ahoy.

There was also the year my brother insisted on opening every present that wasn’t his, but wouldn’t be bothered with his own. Hashtag Baby’s First Christmas Anecdotes.

And the year I got in trouble because my brother had taken my mother’s supply of walnuts and dumped it all behind the couch while my dad was trying to set up the living room for Christmas.

You get the idea.

So yeah, I’ve had it good. Really fucking good. And it’s taken this long for me to realize it. I also realize that some people won’t ever realize how good they have it. I don’t want to be one of those people.

Like I said earlier, it was never my intention to impose my good will and good fortune onto others, but intent is not magic even if you’re part of a different marginalized group. I still do want to share my cheer because this has been a fucked up year. I’m not even going to link bomb you with all of the bullshit that’s been happening. If you’ve been paying attention, you won’t even need to Google.

What I would like to do, however, is take this opportunity to take the tidings of great joy and good will towards everyone that this season propagates and implement said action to every motherfucking day. Yes, I am aware of how fucking hard that would be. You know what? I don’t care! It’ll be worth it, and everything worth doing is a giant pain in the ass.

Because we deserve better from one another.

Because we who do good deserve good to be given unto us.

Because in the end, and this is definitely the atheist in me talking, we humans are all we’ve fucking got.

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