It's the beginning of break week here at Public U. It's the time of year when undergraduates scamper away, parking is abundant, and the lab is empty. Except for me. It is very strange that in the scant few years that I have been a graduate student, this is the first time that I haven't noticed the end of the semester (until this morning when I waited for a long time for a bus that wasn't coming). It could be due to the lack of classes or formal schedule. However, it is strange to lose that marker of the upcoming Winter Holidays.
The other day a few of us got together to destress (and whatnot). The conversation turned away from grad school (for once!) to the shopping season.
It's expensive, bemoaned B.
I agree. I said, Thanksgiving really is my favorite holiday.
There was a shocked silence around the room.
Well, it's just better, I may have said it a bit defensively. I mean, really, how do you defend your choice of favorite holiday?
But, but... Presents?!?! J., was obviously shocked. Others joined in the chorus of how Christmas (or your favorite semi-religious holiday that involves the giving of gifts) really was worth all the hassle, time, and frustration.
Later, this scene replayed itself at my lab's Holiday Party at Advisor's house. This time. however, I got a few more agreements with my sentiments.
Now, it's not that I don't like Christmas. It's more that I don't like the hassle of gift-giving. First off, between Dr. Man and I, I buy for 20 people. That's just immediate family and Grandparents. So, there's a lot of me guessing what people would like and hoping that they don't have it (gift receipts really are my friend). Additionally, most of the people I buy for have larger amounts of disposable income than we do. This means that most of them have bought whatever they wanted (that's within our price range). Plus, in trying to please everybody I end up getting someone mad at me. There was the one Christmas where a certain male relative didn't speak to me for the rest of my visit because of my gift (a gift certificate to cinema that shows independent films-- he frequented said cinema). There was another time where a female relative was upset at the “obvious” price disparity between her gift and everyone else's gift (which was entirely untrue!).
So, it's not that I don't like Christmas, it's that I don't like the materialism of it. Next year, I swear, I'm just donating money to a charity of everyone's choice!