An unhealthy dose of Christmas

Graphic by Bryan Schiavone '13

Last Christmas morning, no explosive holiday spirit emerged from my room. I did not wake up first, or sprint down the stairs in utter excitement, or satisfyingly stare the plethora of presents five hours after they had been arranged.

No, on my Christmas morning I woke up at nine a.m. with a humidifier at my side, three tissue boxes on my night stand, and a firmly closed bedroom door, as none of my family could come near me the night before, on Christmas Eve. After ambling into the living room and muttering a painful, raspy “Merry Christmas,” I spent the day with a mask on my face, a great, endearing experience I really recommend to others.

Enough lead up: around Christmas, I, and about half the nation, contracted H1N1 or, as it was popularly called, Swine Flu.

Though last year was a unique year, in that a new strain of the flu was able to affect an unusually high amount of people, I think everyone can agree that a general, lingering feeling of physical crappiness is widely present around Christmas, whether it’s the flu or just a cold. Everyone seems to have something to complain about during this time.

This is because Christmas is placed smack dab in the beginning of Winter, when temperatures are reaching their coldest and our bodies are the most vulnerable to sickness (this is due to the cold weather causing our nasal passages to dry, and, therefore become more susceptible to viral invasion).

Not only do people feel physically sick during this time, but people also become most depressed during this time in the winter. The extreme case of this occurrence is what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is diagnosed and even medically addressed with anti-depressant medication or supplements of melatonin.

Basically, the moral of this story is that I do not think Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year.” Because I don’t think the period when people are sniffling and most physically miserable deserves to be called this, period.

When presented with these ideas, some people might say that it is good that Christmas is located where it is on the calendar, as it gives people a reason to be happy when they feel sick.

Graphic by Connie Zhou '12
This is true, but let’s be real, we all know people do not think this optimistically. For instance, let’s say a hypothetical Cindy Lou Who is taking a stroll in her car one Dec. 13th. As she passes the downtown shopping area, she may momentarily appreciate the aesthetic display of lights arranged on a few of the stores. She may even think to herself, “I’m so happy it’s Christmas!” for a brief moment.

Soon enough, though, as the cluster of lit-up stores passes into the distance, Cindy’s sinus pain returns. No longer does she relish the idea of the upcoming holidays, as all she can think about is how she is sick of being sick, weather she should vaccinate her kids for this year’s flu virus, or a million other sickness-related, un-merry details.

This is not a column hating on Christmas and everything it entails. I love Christmas day. Except in some sensitive cases, I think most of the people who hate Christmas just hate Christmas for the sake of hating Christmas (sorry, haters, this is not a contribution to one of your “Reasons Why I Despise Christmas” sites).

I am just pointing out this idea: that the pretty lights, and gleeful anticipation is not enough to make up for Christmas’ un-ignorable unfortunate timing. My recent discovery is that people continually call Christmas the “most wonderful time of the year,” without really thinking it through.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but If Christmas was “the most wonderful time of the year”, then my personal opinion is that it would be in April. April is just an awesome, loveable month: winter is ending, people aren’t sick, and there’s even a break from school and another Christian holiday (two reasons why people might argue that Christmas time is great). Put Christmas into the equation, and it would just be a flawless month. Or, in a perfect world…everyone would live in Australia, because Christmas (the actual one) is warm.

Graphic by Connie Zhou '12
I will concede that there is one definite good thing that came out of Christmas being in December last year: the laughable, and slightly off-putting pictures that were taken on Christmas morning, depicting the rest of my family smiling and being adorably jovial, while I am randomly wearing a mask in the corner of the room.