The Real War on Christmas
We’ve all heard it before—Bill O’Reilley’s rants over the “War on Christmas”. Bill doesn’t like when people call Christmas trees, “Holiday Trees”. He thinks gender-neutral toy commercials offend the little baby Jesus, and don’t even think about taking the “Christ” out of Christmas. But I am here today to tell you about a different war on Christmas — a war that impacts over 19.7 million people every year. This war is so painful, and brings so much distraught over individuals, families, and friends, that I beg to say it must be stopped. Yes, people, its time to accept that the Real War on Christmas is: College Finals.
It all begins the week of Thanksgiving. We are just beginning to calm our nerves from the nightmare of midterms, and are looking forward to seeing our families and eating turkey over our 4-day-weekend. While at home, we pull out our winter coats and help Dad put up Christmas lights. We sleep in, eat a lot of food, have late night laugh-fests with old high school friends, and watch a lot of movies. Then we are dropped off at the airport and we say to our families, “Don’t worry, I will see you in a few weeks for Christmas!” We make it home to our grey and cold dorms or apartments, settle into the oversized bean bag, flip open our computer calendar and realize – there are only 2 weeks until finals.
“Why?!”, we scream into the air with our fist. Why must they tease us like this? The next move is obvious – head over to Target to stock up on coffee, frozen pizzas, candy, number two pencils, and anything else that will assist us in hunkering down for the next 21 days. The second task is even clearer – find our syllabi and figure out which final test or paper comes first. Organize all assignments due on your calendar, take a good look at it, and kiss your life goodbye. Thus begins your 21-day war.
We then proceed to spend mornings, afternoons, and nights in the libraries. We study for exams, rewarding ourselves with gummy bears for every page written on our 20-page research paper. We spend way more time on Facebook than usual, scrolling through posts, and wishing we had our friend’s lives. We see comments such as, “Just set up my Christmas tree!” and “I love drinking Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate while watching Christmas movies #Christmas #Nothingtodo #Hot chocolate.”
The days go on and on into December and our mom keeps calling to ask what kind of side dish we want on Christmas, but at this point Christmas seems years away. And actually, since finals are always in December, we begin to sort of despise the holiday since we never get to enjoy it. Our trash is overflowing, and the kitchen is piled high with dishes. We haven’t done laundry in weeks, and have continually sacrificed showering for that extra 15 minutes of sleep (which is just enough time to have that awful dream where you were signed up for a class but forgot to attend all semester/quarter). We drive through town and see holiday spirit everywhere. But the holiday spirit is nowhere to be found in us. How can it be when we are crying ourselves to sleep every night?
But we make it through, and we finish. And this accomplishment should be accompanied with relief but all we can think of is how we need to clean our whole house and travel home. So we get out our bleach and start scrubbing. We pack up our clothes and drive all night. We arrive at home, sleep for days, and wake up to Christmas Eve. Our mother says, “Have you even bought presents?” And all we can think is, “Did I even pass my classes?” So we run to the computer and check the grades… Sigh, passed. “Thank you, baby Jesus!” It’s time to bring out the eggnog and gingerbread cookies because the war is over and Santa is coming to town!
Merry Christmas! And to all the students – congrats on finishing!