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Christmas traditions I refuse to do with my kids

There is not enough eggnog in the world to make me go Christmas caroling.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I’m not one of those Grinches who complain about over-commercialization of the holiday or refuse to get into the spirit of things. I love Christmas. I love the cold weather, warm drinks, twinkling lights and giving people stuff. Every year I even attempt to bake, which has varied — but mostly inedible — results.

And yet, there are a number of traditional holiday things that I just can’t imagine myself doing, if only because they involve being out among the masses since I prefer staying in my cave with my family, who never cares overmuch if I’ve showered.

1. Christmas caroling

Despicable Me Minions Singing

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You know how most radio stations will start playing Christmas music on November 1, and then by the time Christmas rolls around you start thinking that if you have to hear one more heartfelt verse of “Christmas Shoes” you’re going to stab yourself in the eyeball with a candy cane? I feel like that’s what Christmas caroling would be, only with more whining from my kid and less feeling in my toes.

2. Any kind of public tree lighting

Will Ferrel Elf Christmas Tree

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My love for Christmas and the annoyance I feel toward my fellow man are practically inverse to one another. The more I go out during the holiday season, the more I realize how much I shouldn’t be allowed in public. I know that if I went to a tree lighting, there are a number of people I shouldn’t be allowed to interact with: The people who have been camping out since noon to get a good spot and will glare at your toddler if they get too close to their collapsible yurt, that one middle-aged dude who will smoke his cigar wherever he damn well pleases, thank you very much, and the mom of six who has been wasted on spiked cider for days.

3. Seeing a mall Santa

Billy Bob Thornton Bad Santa

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Oh, how I both loathe and pity the mall Santa. On the one hand, he represents a tangible idea for a lot of kids: the spirit of giving and joy. On the other hand, I’ve yet to meet one who didn’t absolutely hate his job, not that I blame him. Also, my kid never really wanted to sit on strangers’ laps, and I never forced her.

4. Driving around to look at Christmas lights

House with color changing christmas lights

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I never really understood this tradition. I mean, I guess I could see it if I lived in a city where there weren’t a lot of decorations out. But I don’t. I live in a place that requires a half hour drive to the grocery store. Gas ain’t cheap, people.

5. Paying extra money to go see some attraction that’s been Christmas-fied

Disney Parks Christmas

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Ah, the Christmas-lit amusement park. It’s just like a regular amusement park but with more irritated people and no rides to go on.

6. Seeing Christmas-themed movies in the theater

Simpsons loud movie theater

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Have these ever not sucked? Whether it’s some suburban family getting into hijinks around the holidays, some talking Labradors getting into hijinks around the holidays or some CGI animals getting into hijinks around the holidays, you’re better off staying at home and watching Jingle All the Way if you must see holiday hijinks.

7. Cookie swaps

Cooking show bad at cooking

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Why, no, random school mom that I’ve literally never spoken to before in my life, I don’t want to enter into a “who’s the best at baking overachievement” death match with you. Thanks for asking.

8. Going to see The Nutcracker

hedgehog in tutu doing ballet

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You have two options here. You can shell out the $50 per ticket and take your family to go see a proper ballet company perform this holiday favorite, while you hiss at your kid to shut it every time they want to know, “How come no one’s talking?” Or you can shell out $10 per ticket and attempt to see past a sea of glowing phone screens to watch a local or youth ballet do it, while you hiss at your kid to shut it every time they want to know, “How come no one’s talking?”

More on holiday traditions

Holiday traditions from around the world
Know your stuff: Celebrating Kwanzaa
Small holiday traditions that make a big impact

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