I get winter depression like clockwork. It's the worst during the years that I live in this rainy coastal city of gloom and yuppies. Some winters are spent in a fun town where I can downhill ski and that helps a lot. But it still gets me. I live in this city for work; it's a desk job that makes me feel lazy and physically gross. The motivation to be active isn't there much beyond walking. Where to go? It's dark, it's raining and cold. The gym is just not the place for someone like me. I have so little time anyway. Things become the worst near Christmas time. My dread starts in October and kicks in hard when the stores start playing music and doing tacky displays. I feel like there are many perfectly acceptable reasons to despise Christmas. It's just a celebration of the worst part of our culture: compulsive materialism. I feel an existential terror when people around me snicker and make jokes about the Black Friday tramplings and stabbings, as if it's just one more thing to entertain us. As if it doesn't signal the steep decline of the West and the things we like about it. The pressure of conformity is immense. To say out loud "I hate Christmas" seems to evoke a visceral reaction in people, I can't believe how few people truly agree with me! It's like they are insecure about it, do they know deep down that it's actually bad? I can't say anything bad about the family aspect of Christmas, if it works for yours, power to you I guess. My family was fairly dysfunctional which is probably the origin of this stuff. I gave up on partaking in many of the rituals years ago. My family doesn't expect anything from me now. For that I feel ashamed. For some reason I find it unbelievably difficult to even mail a card to someone. I always have great intentions of drawing some and including a little letter. Sometimes I get half done, but it's rare that it's completed. When it comes to buying gifts and acknowledging people, I seem to have an irrational phobia or something! I'm terrified to watch someone react to a gift I have chosen. I feel stupid, embarrassed, I worry they'll fake pleasure. What do you buy for someone who has everything? Everyone I know has a house full of stuff! So much stuff! I can't make them something, I can't get past this wall in my mind. I've been riding this for years in such a way as to diminish people's expectations of me. But now, I'm in a relationship with a NORMAL GUY. He's functional, regular, fairly conventional. So is his family. He's got two kids. I feel deeply embarrassed that I can't pretend and go through the motions and do the bare minimum of Christmas crud with them. I'm embarrassed to explain how inept I feel, how low and sad, how afraid. I feel tremendous pressure (mostly from myself) to try to partake, do their dinner thing, to buy his kids some toys. I managed to buy stuff last year, but I don't know that they really liked what I got. They get SO much stuff from relatives, it's Fr***ing disgusting. I hate being part of this indoctrination. Christmas is not making those kids better people. And the stores! My god it's too horrible to step foot in a store or mall in December. I worry that I seem "weird" to his parents and siblings and his little kids just won't understand. This year I'm taking off to the ski town for 2 weeks and avoiding the whole thing. Thank GOD for that. But I feel very guilty about it. They aren't even my family! The ski town is where my "family" is, I built a life there for ten years. I don't want to do Christmas with those people either. I feel so much anxiety in my chest that never stops. I want to hide and be alone so badly. I wish I had a cabin in the woods. Do you have an irrational fear and hate of Christmas?