Taken at face value, who could argue against “Christmas cheer?” Everyone looks forward to the Holiday Season, so the lore goes. Christmas is a national reprieve from the mundanity of everyday life, a time to set aside our troubles, kick back, and revel in festivity.
When “cheer” is experienced genuinely, it can have great salutary effect. But when cheer is effectively enforced — by cultural and/or familial custom — it can do just the opposite. I don’t feel particularly compelled to adopt a cheerful demeanor simply because tomorrow happens to be the 25th day of December, and the expectation that I must sours my mood further. Ritualistic expressions of saccharine cheer are almost always pretty depressing, in fact, on Christmas or any other day. [Read more...]