The Annual Humbug Report

Have I mentioned I don’t like Christmas?  Because I don’t.  And it’s not because I’m against peace on Earth, goodwill toward my fellow Terrans, or even a little bit of healthy capitalism.  I’m not religious, so it doesn’t do much for me in that way, but I don’t care if other people want to celebrate the birth of their savior by killing a tree and throwing gift cards at each other.  And if we want to live our life according to a schedule set down by ancient tradition, I guess I don’t see the harm in being the meat puppets of the dead.

I think this is coming out wrong.

I don’t hate Christmas, although I do hate certain elements of it.  I hate the billion and one versions of A Christmas Carol we have to put up with, every single year.  I hate the music.  It’s sappy and sentimental and just oh so repetative.  I hate that I have to give up a month of my life, every year, to commercials with Santa Claus selling everything from radios to dishwashing detergent.  And I hate watching people run around, putting so much damn pressure on themselves.

Okay.  Strike two.  Let’s give it one more shot.

There are good things about Christmas.  Unfortunately, for me, all those good things seem to stem from children.  Christmas is like the circus for me.  I could go my whole life without ever seeing another circus.  But when you go to a circus with a child, it’s all fun and new and exciting.  It’s wondrous.  And that’s something I can get behind.  I’m sure when I have children myself, Christmas will be cool.  But for adults…I just don’t get it.

Well, I get the time off aspect.  It’s always nice to get some time off from work, but as a professional novelologist, I set my own hours.  Which is very convenenient and tends to lessen the importance of holidays.  I highly recommend it, if you ever get the chance to do the same.

Maybe it’s just programming.  When we’re young, Christmas is something to look forward to (if we’re lucky), and we end up carrying that feeling with us into our adult lives.  But it seems ridiculous for adults to do this.  Why buy each other gifts when we’ll probably just end up buying the wrong thing?  I’m not against gift giving.  I’m just against the notion that someone decided that we have to give gifts to each other at a predesignated point in time and if we don’t, then we’re not in “the spirit of the season”.

I just don’t like Christmas, and I reject the notion that it makes me a Scrooge to say that.  It doesn’t make me heartless or cruel to say that Christmas is annoying.  And that it only gets more annoying as it spreads itself across the calender like some amorphous, glutunous blob-monster.  I could handle it when it was a month.  But now Christmas seems to start before Halloween, and this, I refuse to accept.  Maybe when Christmas gets back to after Thanksgiving, where it belongs, I’ll be more forgiving.  But as long as 1/6th of my year has to be swallowed up by the dreaded holiday season, I can only say what needs to be said as the last sane man.


Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Doug Johnson
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Yet another reason why you are amongst my favorite novelologists. Humbug, indeed.

  2. Rosi
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Do you want to be my messiah? You’re quite good at putting my own vague thoughts into coherent sentences and then spreading them amongst your followers – that’s what a messiah is supposed to do, right?

  3. Rippley
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I’m with ya buddy!!! I hate Christmas, too.

    I’m not religious; hell, I’m straight up atheist. But that isn’t why I hate Christmas. I hate Christmas because I dislike my relatives and the emotional acts of “love.” My parents separated when I was ten years old. My father couldn’t keep it in his pants. He had cheated on my mother with somewhere around thirty-two women before she left him–still enjoys bragging about it. He left us on Christmas to shack up with some lady he had met at a pub. A year later he hooked up with this hippie lady, who he married. So, my father, later divorces the hippie leaving her with three children. And now he travels around the world impregnating every woman he can get his hands on.

    My mother lost her mind and became conspiratorially nutty. Every other day she accuses me of any number of crimes. I’m selling her jewelry on the black-market. I’m trying to sell her house. I’m trying to get her money. The funny thing is, while she came from a wealthy family, I have been paying her bills and sticking money into her bank account for about three years, so she can buy jewelry and whatnot. I do this all for a woman who freely admits she should have aborted me.

    Anyway, my mother’s family comes to my house. I buy her parents, and her sisters and brothers and all their fifty children expensive gifts. And in return they make dirty comments and insult me. “You’ve bought two thousand dollars worth of gifts, and you don’t have a job…” They remark. “Did you steal all this stuff?” They ask. “I don’t understand how a guy, with only a bachelors degree in two worthless, dead fields of study could afford to do anything.” Their kids rip apart all my books. They ask me how my lowlife father is. They basically rip apart anything I have to say. And then they say, “… awe, but we love you.”

    After they leave, my father harasses me to go to this bar, where he and my eight-million siblings get drunk and talk about the fragile state their mothers are in. We talk about their life in Ohio or Kentucky or Texas or Illinois or South Carolina or Argentina or China or Korea has been this year. And then we get shitfaced drunk and listen to our father bolster about graduating at age 15 from Harvard and that we’re all his little geniuses. And he wishes how we would listen to his wisdom and make tons of money like he does. And how he very disappointed in all his children who didn’t become mathematicians and computer programmers like he did. Then he looks over at me, and says, “I had such high hopes for you, but you did exactly what I told you not to do. Why would you quit such a high paying job to become a worthless schmuck?” I shrug, and explain to him what a terrible mistake I’ve made.

    Then I go home, get on the computer, and throw money at his competitors. My girlfriend comes over and tells me about the wonderful time she had with her family that hates me. She shows me her endless supply of gifts, and tells me about how her parents wish I would die.

    So, yeah, Christmas can go jump off a bridge for all I care.

    To the North,


  4. Jonathon Montogomery
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Too bad you aren’t a big fan of Christmas. I am. I’m going to buy my children all your books for Christmas.

  5. Paul Bear
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Christmas is a wonderful time to buy books. You should cash in on the material world and hock as many books for the Christmas season as possible. Merry Christmas–Read Divine Misfortune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Fredz
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    My wife Donna loved your book Monster. She was so excited about it. I thought I’d read a few chapters. I couldn’t put it down. Monster was hilarious. So hilarious I bought a copy of the Nameless Witch and The Automatic Detective and Divine Misfortune. Hopefully for Christmas your new book Chasing the Moon will make our Christmas a special one.

  7. Peter Parker
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Humbug to Christmas!

    Do you know what I’m going to be doing for Christmas? Reading Divine Misfortune and avoiding my brother and his snotty little, undeserving children.


    Not the place; not the time.

    p.s. I can’t wait to buy some of those audio books you’ve been talking about. Will you be reading them?

  8. William Tautilus
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Christmas is fine by me. My only problem is the blatant materialism. I swear it is hard to watch a television show when they have a commercial every two minutes.

    I watched your video blog. I don’t know much about the publishing business, but I thought Orbit or whoever would spring for bit of advertising to generate book sales. I guess not, since you are selling your own books.

    What would the video industry be without those previews at the beginning of every movie? I’d love to ask the publishers that question.

  9. Posted December 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    For me Christmas isn’t about religious celebration either. Its more of a reminder of what’s really important like family and friends. I mean they are always important, but working everyday and being busy with life sometimes makes me a little self centered. The Holidays redirect my focus to the people I really care about. I think Christmas time creates a lot of “good will toward men.” I work in a toy store and many people have been buying hundreds of dollars worth in toys for Toys for Tots. Its wonderful. ^_^

    I don’t like how Christmas stuff is up before Halloween either, thats all retail’s fault. But there is something comforting about tradition, merriment, and getting nostalgic about sledding in the woods when you were eight while sipping hot chocolate on a chilly morning.

    I can get behind the christmas carol thing its been rehashed. But I love watching the old Rank n Bass stop motion holiday specials every year. The Burger Meister Meister Burger, the snow miser, and the abominable Bumble? I love those guys. Maybe I’m just a sap but I can’t see how people can really hate Christmas. I agree its mostly for the children, but shouldn’t we all be young at heart once in a while and have fun this time of year? Snowball fights anyone?

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted December 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I repeat. Humbug.

      I’m not a big fan of tradition, honestly. Not just during Christmas, but all year round. I suppose my problem stems from a dislike of being told when I’m supposed to do something by society in general. I like traditions that are more personal, though even those can become more of a hassle and obligation than anything else.

      As for Christmas time being a time to be “young at heart”, I don’t get that either. Maybe it’s because I’m already young at heart. Or possibly because I don’t believe there is anything especially youthful or fun about Christmas as opposed to any time of year. I do understand liking time off. That’s about it.

      Also, I hate the cold. Hate snow. Hate sledding. So there is nothing about Christmas or this time of year that I really enjoy. That’s not all Christmas’s fault, but it sure doesn’t help.

      • Posted December 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much for responding. You are one of my favorite authors even if you are a Grinch. It sounds like your glass of eggnog is half empty. I guess it just depends on whether you want to think negatively about Christmas and be unhappy or look for some good in the holiday and choose to enjoy yourself. I am not saying everyone should hop on the band wagon of yule tide cheer, but is it really that much fun to hate almost everything that has to do with the holidays?

        p.s. I love that WoW decorates for Winter veil. How do you feel about the Christmas Quests? I look forward to all the festive events.

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