Christmas is finally, FINALLY over. Thank Amazon.com, JCrew, and the other retail gods.
See, I have what I call “white sheep syndrome.” It’s like a form of survivor’s guilt: I escaped soul-crushing poverty but doing so came at a definite cost. To save myself, I had to leave other people behind and not look back. Specifically, my sister.
My sister has been under- or unemployed for a really, really long time now. Not because she’s lazy (she’s an incredibly hard worker); or because she voted for Obama (I don’t think she’s ever even voted); or because she wants to get government assistance instead of working; or wants to avoid paying taxes.
No, she’s been under- and unemployed because she made different choices than I did. She’s had a combination of bad luck, trusted the wrong people at times and mostly, put other people first. She’s taken on family responsibilities that others (including myself) have walked away from.
So, all I can think about during the holidays is my sister, and others like her who are having a really, really bad time this year. And when I think about that (and that’s all I can think about, basically), I don’t really give a shit about any gift I get or give. Because every pretty wrapped thing is just that….a thing. It doesn’t employ my sister and no gift or bauble gives me any peace of mind.
As you can probably guess, I’m not a lot of fun around Christmas. Luckily, my life-love XFE and his family tolerate me for a few days.
But there are a few other factors that make it a weird experience. First of all, Vegas at Christmas is a lot colder than most people imagine. That’s because most people go to Vegas in the spring, summer or fall. But as anyone who was there for the RnR earlier this month can attest: Vegas gets cold. Sure, it’s not exactly snow-on-the-ground cold, but it’s definitely not lounging by the pool weather.
Another reason Christmas in Vegas is so weird is because, of course, XFE’s parents don’t live on the Strip. They live in an actual neighborhood, with normal houses. So when you tell folks you’re going to Vegas, they think of the Bellagio or something. What they should be thinking about are stucco houses with xeriscaping.
XFE and I do spend a couple of nights in a hotel on the Strip every year and have a couple’s dinner away from the family. And that’s where another weird aspect to Vegas Christmas comes in: Everything is a lot less crowded. It’s not empty or anything, but there are definitely a lot fewer people. And all the people that are there are mostly people from religions that don’t celebrate Christmas, like Buddhists for example. There are a LOT of Asian people in Vegas over the Christmas.
But one of the most unusual and fun Vegas Christmas traditions I’ve been exposed to over the past few years is Christmas Bingo! Every Christmas, XFE’s family goes to one of the casinos and pays bingo. In previous year’s XFE and his sister have won, but this year, I won $50! Which is awesome. I think I’ll send it to my sister.
Now, let’s move on to the next holiday: New Years! Which I hate a lot less than Christmas. Here’s hoping for a better year for everyone.