The Post-Christmas Joy

You have to go to hell before you go to heaven

Leonardo Del Toro
4 min readDec 26, 2022

Christmas is a hard time for me. I don’t know why that is because everyone and everything indicates to me I should be joyful. But the forced and fabricated invitation to joy is deeply irritating to me. But today is the 26th.

I slept until nine after Christmas; this was the first good night in a week. No more faces to put, and the people I had to put faces to are gone. There’s still great food around and nowhere to go or do, and no one to see. This is joy.

The obligation of Christmas is the biggest buzz kill ever. I don’t know if it is just me, but so many people get stressed at Christmas, even though some will not admit it.

A strange dichotomy produces the stress of Christmas. We somehow think we will have a religious experience, but everything we do is just a pagan extravaganza. Lots of drinks, material goods, and indulging in sweets and all kinds of foods. That should confuse the hell out of our minds. But we also have the obligation to see people and be merry and happy even if we don’t feel like it. We must do everything to achieve this moment of joy with family and friends. No wonder people feel stressed.

Sometimes I think Christmas is an attempt to repeat a mind-blowing spontaneous event that happened in the past as we remember a great enlightened man and create a celebration by adorning trees with ornaments giving gifts to our friends, and reenacting what Christ instructed. The vibes were so high, and everyone was happy. So they decided to do it again next year. But the next year was a little less fun…until it became a repetitive and uninspired tradition.

And, like everything cool at first, it cannot survive the year-after-year repetition burnout until it becomes a caricature of itself. I’m sure the first Burning Man events had a vibe that was unique, but with every passing year, it becomes further and further from the core value. Impermanence rules.

But since we do not perform Christmas as a religious experience, for example, we don’t drink ayahuasca and connect with Christ by dancing naked around the Christmas tree all night and having visions; we expect to get high and joyful from a sort of proverbial joy celebration. Some people are most annoyed with Christmas music and the commercialized rituals that come with it. We might as well just throw a big party with no religious search attached and be more joyous in the end. But there is a measure of truth in all of this.

I see a collective burnout and depression during Christmas. This is particularly hard for single people and old people, but it’s hard for just about anyone. We allow Christmas to be purging and cathartic to our souls. We are constantly being bombarded with the concept of being good to others, joy to the world, not being a Bah humbug, and going along never criticizing Christmas; don’t you dare.

But we can barely fulfill all of these requirements because we will not fix ourselves in a few days rushing around, cooking, shopping for presents and decorating the house, oh, and bringing a big tree inside and wrapping it with lights.

Even though it is possible to have fun at Christmas, the more seriously we take this whole endeavor, the harder it is to relax and feel joyful. That is sometimes a struggle for me, and I suspect many feel the same.

The true joy of Christmas, in the end, is when we let it all go and it’s finally over. Not that Christmas celebrations were bad, and the cookies tasted bad. It was all good, but because we set our expectations in the wrong places, we had our energy sucked out by the concept of: “we must be happy,” the mother of all kill buzzes. After Christmas, Crist is born. The perfect human is filled with joy and goodness, and somehow it makes it all worthed in a twisted way. And I see Christ up there laughing. Oh, all you silly people.

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Leonardo Del Toro

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