I Hate Christmas. Here’s Why I’m Celebrating It for the Next 2 Months.

The saddest Christmas ever turned me against the holiday; the hardest year ever has made me look forward to it

Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
ZORA
Published in
5 min readOct 26, 2020

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Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

I must have been 12 the year I decided to hate Christmas for the rest of my life. I awoke that particular Christmas morning to the sound of my two younger sisters already ripping the wrapping paper from their gifts. They shouted with delight and awe upon seeing what Santa had brought them that year. They still believed in Claus, with one being just five and the other four. But by 12 years old, I knew where our presents came from — the uncles. You know, the uncles you just met for the first time, the ones who aren’t related to anyone in your family, and who sleep over in mommy’s bed at night?

Right.

I must have had six uncles that year, so I figured Christmas was going to be sweet. Exuberantly, full of hope and whimsy, I hopped out of bed, into my robe, down the hall, and into the living room of our tiny two-bedroom apartment before plopping beside the Christmas tree. My sisters sat on the floor to my left while our mother perched just behind them, smiling as she watched over their shoulders, proud of what she had done.

As they tore through their gifts like animated yuletide Tasmanian devils, I searched for mine. Printed paper and bows flew as I dug through the rubble of shredded reindeer and Saint Nicks looking for my name. There were so many presents! As my sisters continued to tear and shout, shout and tear, I searched… and searched… and finally, it hit me.

My mother hadn’t gotten me anything for Christmas.

No one said anything to me that morning. My mother watched as I looked for even just one gift with my name on it. She saw me searching, knowing there was nothing there for me, and she didn’t say a word. Instead, she refused to make eye contact when I looked to her for answers, hoping maybe my gifts were hidden somewhere else. She just sat there smiling like the Cheshire Cat, still proud of what she had done.

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Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
ZORA
Writer for

3x New York Times Bestselling Author | 'The House of Ill Repute (Kensington Publishing, 2024)