Cilantro

SarahKatKim & I are to hosting Reverb throughout 2016 as a way to share writing prompts and providing a space for writers via our Facebook group. In December of each year, we host a prompt-a-day to provide structure and a way to close out the year.

Just Not That Into It // Everyone has their own tipping point. What do you hate about the Holidays?

The Holidays, I have realised, are like cilantro. Some people really like Christmas and some people are vehemently, violently opposed to it.

I don’t mind cilantro. But there is nothing I like about Christmas.

My family disputes that I actually feel this way because there is one picture of me from Christmas morning 1983 looking super delighted about all the presents under the tree. But being a child and being excited about Getting Stuff is quite a lot different than having a well-considered adult opinion about not wanting to celebrate the holidays. So about ten years ago, I stopped putting up a tree; stopped decorating; put all the ornaments in storage, and I have never looked back.

I’m treading lightly here, because this subject gets people riled up. But in truth, my holiday tradition is to happily attend other people’s events, and then to take a beach vacation at Christmas. My displeasure with The Whole Christmas Thing has nothing to do with YOU – it has everything to do with my own thoughts, and feelings, and values.

You want to put up four Christmas trees decorated with heirloom ornaments because it reminds you of your faraway family and your dead grandma? I love that. I love hearing about it. Your house looks beautiful. It’s just totally not something I would ever do. And that’s okay!

You want to do Elf on the Shelf, and buy your kids a pile of presents, and celebrate Western Commercial Christmas with zero reason for the season and ZERO regrets? More power to ya. I will just hide you on social media for December because I find the Elf on the Shelf extremely creepy.*

You want to set up a giant ceramic snow village with working ski lift and train, and spend hours gazing into it, wishing you were living inside that Christmas winter wonderland? Enjoy! Looks so pretty! That epic collection of breakable tchotchkes gives me so much agita, but that’s your problem, not mine.

The point is this: I am never going to convince people that not engaging with All of The Holiday Garbage and taking off for the beach is the right way to celebrate Christmas. When I discovered I could do that, it was a revelation. I finally got that peace and relaxation around the holidays that I was craving. And other people are never going to convince me that eating a bunch of foods I hate, claustrophobic seasonal decoration, and toys that make noise are somehow…a symbol of peace and love and brotherhood.

Likewise, some people are just programmed to like cilantro. They can tolerate it on pretty much anything, and the mere idea of it doesn’t ruin a dish for them. But others – cilantrophobes – can’t even entertain the idea of cilantro. They don’t get it. They are literally programmed differently (the ability to taste the “soapy” or “metallic” taste in cilantro is actually a genetic difference between people), and berating them and making fun of them, or challenging their perceptions of themselves and their senses, and calling them names to try to get them to eat it is not going to change ANYTHING.

In conclusion, me putting cilantro in my salsa is not a referendum on your $600 Christmas tree. People are just…different. There’s room enough for both this holiday season.

*The Elf on the Shelf thing should be banned and no parent or child should be subjected to it, but that’s another post for another time.

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