‘Tis the Season

Warning:  In this post, I do very little, save bitch about my job.

Ah.  December.  The air is cold, but dry and sunny; things are winding down for the year.  Project deadlines are up and everyone is rushing to get all their business taken care of before the end of the calendar year.  Parties are being scheduled and presents are being purchased.

And my students are overwhelming me with questions about Christmas in America.

It’s hard to explain why this irritates me so much, but it’s a combination of naivete, insensitivity, and ignorance compounded through bad television.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that they are not asking because of any of those things, they’re asking out of natural curiosity and a genuine desire to understand an alien culture better, but the way the questions are phrased sometimes has me tearing my hair out.

Naive question:  “Why do Americans believe in Santa Claus?”

So now I have to explain that most people don’t and the ones over the age of say, twenty, maximum, are generally considered crazy.  Also, it’s only kids, but each child is different and believes until a different age, depending on upbringing and religion.  Etc.

Insensitive question:  “Why don’t you go home for Christmas?  Don’t you miss your family?”

Uh, yeah, of course, but the reasons are private and I don’t feel like sharing them with a classroom full of students.

Ignorant question compounded by misconceptions from tv viewing:  “Do all Americans really fight with their families at Christmas?”

How the hell do I answer that?  How about “Yes, but not like they do in the movies or on t.v. and for reasons that are too complicated to be explained to anyone not in their family or who has known that family for decades.” or, maybe, “No, that’s only in the movies.”  Answer one is too complicated, answer two is too simple.

It’s only the eighth and I’m tired of Christmas already.


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