Scrolling Headlines:

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UMass Board of Trustees approves rise in tuition, student fees -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former Minutewoman Quianna Diaz-Patterson named to Puerto Rican national softball team -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UMass rowing’s Jim Dietz inducted into CRCA Hall of Fame -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jury selection begins Monday in second gang rape trial -

Monday, June 15, 2015

Students turn attention to state legislators as decision on UMass budget looms -

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alumna and next director of Brooklyn Museum Anne Pasternak ‘created her own path’ -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

UMass graduate crowned head of 600-year-old Indian kingdom -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Committee recommends UMass increase tuition, student fees for in-state undergraduates -

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The perks of being a Scrooge

MCT

It’s that time of year again, boys and girls – the time for garish decorations, obnoxious holiday music and fat bearded men in red suits running amok. Yes, the Christmas season has once again reared its holly-wreathed head and the winter wonderland festivities are heading into full swing. It’s the most magical time of the year, right?

Bah, humbug. Let’s just get it over with already.

Christmas has gone from a cherished holiday to a highfalutin exercise in consumerism, to a decadent display of American greed at its tinsel-trimmed finest. Malls and shopping centers nationwide are flooded with wide-eyed shoppers foaming at the mouth like deranged animals for buy-one-get-one deals and markdown specials. Families of all assortments engage in the delicate death match of gift giving, competing for who can give the biggest and shiniest and most expensive gifts. It’s all about merchandising, advertising and the push to buy, buy, buy. Forget silly things like compassion and goodwill towards all people, because things like that can’t be wrapped in a pretty package and topped with a Hallmark card. And that guy in the Santa suit ringing the Salvation Army bell outside the supermarket doesn’t want your altruism; he wants your money. Christmas is no longer a holiday; it’s slowly but surely become a commodity.

And for a holiday that is supposed to be about coming together and celebrating with friends and loved ones, Christmas is certainly steeped in more ill will and hostility than you can shake a jingle bell at.

On the one hand, are the folks that feel the yearly need to wage an annual war on Christmas — not the people who attack the holiday, but the people who vehemently defend Christmas from those who might attack it. Highway signs and bumper stickers litter the periphery of every line of vision with intolerance, which only adds to the carnival atmosphere of a severely overrated holiday.

Then there are the people who post obscene amounts of holiday-related fodder on Facebook and Twitter under the non-denominational moniker of “Happy Holidays,” lest they risk offending someone somewhere by wishing them the wrong kind of holiday cheer. The holiday season always seems to bring out the animosity in people.

It already feels like Christmas is upon us because the tacky inflatable Santas and epilepsy-inducing light displays started going up mere days after Halloween. It’s less of a holiday and more of a circus; the magic died with the discovery that the smelly old guy at the mall who dons the same crusty red velour suit and bushy white beard every year is not the real Santa, not even an agent of Santa, but a creepy old man who gets his jollies crushing the dreams of hundreds of children.

Maybe the beauty of the holiday diminishes with age, or is just a consequence of becoming too jaded, but all the same, the Christmas season is more of a chore than a joy. Between the credit card bills, the angry religious fanatics and the horrible color combinations of red and green that don’t match and never will, it’s taking more and more effort every year to get into the “Christmas spirit.” My advice is to avoid the whole thing all together; December is a much more pleasant month without the crippling frustration of marathon gift shopping sprees and trying to be nice to the people I severely dislike in the spirit of the season. Wake me up when January hits — until then I will be hibernating like the grouchy old bear that I am.

Ebenezer Scrooge was right all along. Bah, humbug!

Emily Brightman can be reached at ebrightman@student.umass.edu.

 

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