DR. MATT CLASSICS: Bah Humbug

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Originally Posted: December 11, 2007

Folks, you might think that I’m a big fan of Christmas, seeing as how all kinds of people are always wanting to give me gifts, especially this time of year. Well, true, the gifts do come my way, and I appreciate the love from my fans, especially in the form of gift certificates or money orders, but here’s the thing: Dr. Matt is not without his hang-ups, and the Christmas season is one of them.

Now, I’m well aware of the benefits of both giving and receiving (receiving being a personal preference), and this time of year does bring both the Gingerbread and the Egg-nog latte at Starbucks, so it’s not that. It’s just that Christmas itself is so arbitrary, this fixed moment of time on which we pin so many things, from gifting to communing with family to discounting sweaters. How does so much of the year seem to hinge on this one event?

I’m no Scrooge, I do enjoy the “spirit” if you will of this time. But honestly, folks, where does this spirit go when Christmas is gone? If it arrives and we enjoy it, then why do we release it? Do I not deserve a Nintendo Wii on January 25th as much as I do on December 25th? Could my friends not pool their money now to buy an iPod-compatible stereo for my Toyota Plug-In Hybrid Prius? I think we can all agree that the answer is yes.

Today, a friend of mine asked me what my gift-giving plans were. To be honest, folks, I hadn’t really given it much thought until that moment, and when asked, I anxiously searched for an answer, for surely good people have thought about who they will get Christmas gifts for. Am I not a good person? I pondered as I realized I did not know who might be deserving of a gift from me. Sure, I know what you’re thinking. “Dr. Matt, isn’t just being around you enough of a gift?” you’re undoubtedly saying to yourself. You make a good point, and this is really the heart of what I’m talking about, that gift-giving sometimes comes from an irrational place, or can be driven by the desire to be accepted and normal, or heck, even loved.

Ooo, I got you with that one, didn’t I? Yes, you, who gives gifts in order to get love. Oh, that’s not you? My mistake, I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t always give without a shred of selfishness, or who doesn’t always love unconditionally.

“No, no, it’s definately just you, Dr. Matt,” you say. “My gifts have no conditions.” Oh, you mean conditions like concentrating more gifts in one particular time of year?

“That’s different,” you say. “Christmas just allows me to concentrate my gift giving to one time period. It’s just effective time management.”

Hmm… I see. So, there’s many times during the year when someone deserves a gift, and you just pay those gifts out as an end-of-year, final inventory?

“That’s right,” you say. “I’m just reconciling my accounts before the end of the year.”

And how did you choose Christmas?

“Well… it’s just the time of year… when you do that sort of thing…”

Mmm hmm, I don’t know about you, but the whole thing sounds mighty suspect. Folks, at this point you might be asking what my blasted point is. I’m just saying think, people, think. What are you celebrating? What are you giving for? If you are going to give, then don’t waste your time getting what you think you should. Give only from the truth. Do you really want to honor the other person? If so, then is your gift from that place, or is it from the place of, “It Christmas, me want eat brains”? Most of all, think to yourself: why now? Why this gift now? Why not this gift 3 months ago? Were you destitute then? Was the gift not deserved?

…Alright, ALRIGHT, the truth is I don’t know what to get you. Fine, are you happy now? I’m upset with Christmas because I don’t know what to get you. And you probably got me something, and it’s probably awesome and whatever I get is just going to look stupid.

When is this whole thing over?

-Dr. Matt*

*Dr. Matt is not a real doctor.

Dr. Matt

Dr. Matt* gives advice on relationships, life, death, half-life, pet ownership, sexuality, asexuality, proto-sexuality, and mustache growing. * Dr. Matt is not a real doctor.

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