Christy Lorio: I’m the 5 percent

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Christy Lorio (photo by Leslie Almeida)

Black Friday! Are you excited? Did you camp out in front of an electronics store this morning? Are you already stressed about finding the perfect gift for every single person that you are in direct daily contact with?

I’m not, and here’s why: About 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, regardless of their denomination. But guess what, I’m the 5 percent. Yup, there is no Santa pulling a reindeer in my front yard, no Christmas tree in my living room and instead of waking up early to open up presents I prefer to sleep in and enjoy the extra day off. Bah humbug? Suit yourself.

It’s not that I’m a scrooge, or that I don’t become giddy for peppermint lattes that coffee shops start pushing this time of year, it’s just that I’m not religious and it feels inauthentic to celebrate what has become such a materialistic holiday. I know my opinion on Christmas isn’t popular, so I usually just politely retort with a “Merry Christmas” back or skirt around what I’m really thinking when asked how I’m spending December 25th. I don’t want to be a killjoy, and I usually get dirty looks when I tell people I don’t celebrate. Sometimes I wish I could get into it, since being inundated with visions of sugarplum fairies is inevitable but I just can’t get jolly, no matter how hard I try.

I wasn’t always this indifferent. Of course I loved Christmas as a kid but I stopped getting giddy over the holidays when my dad passed away about 11 years ago. The fun really got zapped out of it, especially when I saw other people celebrating with their families while I was still getting over such a traumatic loss. A few years after that my husband and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona after Katrina where we didn’t have family. Sure, I had friends who lived two hours away, and my brother was a four-hour trek, but it didn’t feel the same giving gifts in our rented, white-walled apartment. It was just us and the cats, and it all felt a tad too depressing. I also found myself underemployed for a year, so exchanging presents seemed frivolous, financially burdensome even. So we stopped and haven’t started back since. Instead, we surprise each other with small tokens of appreciation year round. Flowers on a random Wednesday is much more exciting than an obligatory fancy new razor or a six-pack of socks under the Christmas tree.

Aside from buying a gift for my mom, usually from the Freret Market, I don’t dread stocking up on candy canes and gift baskets comprised of fat little sausages and individually wrapped smoked Gouda wheels. I’m not stressing out about re-gifting some crappy reindeer coffee mug that no one else wants either. Come Christmas Eve, after I go spend a few hours with family I enjoy a truly silent night, just my husband and I with those same damn cats and now our dog. So, don’t fret, you don’t have to buy me a gift — but I will drink your eggnog if you bring it over.

Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.

4 thoughts on “Christy Lorio: I’m the 5 percent

  1. You are welcome to come over and enjoy our 2 trees! They are decorated to the nines! We refuse to stress over the holidaze and all the chaos, gifts, etc…. We keep it pretty simple (just the 2 of us) + dog & 2 kitties.

    I just love the sparkle of the tree in the evening, unpacking family ornaments each year and remembering family and friends. We also give small gifts year round to each other and think the over spending that happens in December is out of control for many. We also prefer to make a donation to our favorite charity! A festive walk thru Christmas in the Oaks is a great way to support city park and enjoy one of the holiday festivities in New Orleans. We will be visiting Santa and seeing the snow on Fulton Street….one of our traditions.
    Peace and joy!

    • So glad to see someone else still calling it “Christmas in the Oaks”! I think it’s fine and dandy to celebrate or acknowledge other religions, but this all started because of Christmas. Other religions do not seem to embrace Christmas, so how “open and accepting” are they really?

      I also give gifts throughout the year and spend my Christmas time with family and friends and celebrating the reason for the season.

      Merry Christmas!

  2. I am ambivalent about Christmas. I love the lights and sparkle and the festive atmosphere. I only buy presents for my g-nieces and nephews which is fun. However, the Christmas music in the malls is depressing because it cheapens those beautiful songs. I also think all stores should be closed from 12noon Christmas eve to the day after Christmas. I feel so sorry to see people working on a holiday when others can be with their families.

  3. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Loved Christmas as a child, but as I’ve gotten older, parents and dearest friends passed away, niece grown up, it’s just not the same. I’ve become somewhat of a Scrooge, but so be it. The week or so before the day itself is bad enough, but when stores and now radio stations start with Christmas before Thanksgiving…please stop!

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