Bah Humbug! A Christmas Rant

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Bah Humbug

Happy Monday friends! More importantly, happy pre-Christmas Eve! We were watching A Christmas Carol as a family the other night and I came to the realization that I am a lot like Ebeneezer Scrooge. Now, I’m not miserly but I am a bit of a bah humbug when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Mrs. Frugal Rules says I’m a pessimist who likes to rain on her Christmas-song singing, jingle-bell ringing, holiday cheer parade but really, I think I got burned out on those things as they were celebrated to an excess as I was growing up.

I tend to go against the grain in many things, so why not have a little rant during the time of year that weโ€™re supposed to be thankful? Not to mention the fact that as a true Seinfeld fan, I couldn’t allow Festivus to go by and not have an airing of grievances. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That said, please keep in mind as you read my rant, that itโ€™s not against the day or season itself, but more so the massive over-commercialization of it.

I love Christmas, I really do, but do we REALLY need to have Christmas crap hawked at us starting in late August? I kid you not, our Costco here in Omaha had Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas cards and a few ornaments out the last week of August. What happened to Labor Day??

Am I the only one that thinks itโ€™s just a bit nutty to advertise buying a car as a justifiable Christmas gift? I know, youโ€™d be crazy NOT to buy matching Lexusโ€™ for you and your partner, but I just wonder how many of them come out saddled with bloated car loan payments.

Ok, I donโ€™t hate everything about Christmas. I LOVE looking at Christmas lights, for some reason I always have. There are a number of neighborhoods here in Omaha that go all out and pay to have their houses decorated. I wouldnโ€™t personally spend the money to do it, but boy does it look good!

What on earth possesses airline companies to put us consumers over a barrel when it comes to traveling over the Holidays? I know itโ€™s supply and demand, but why on earth jack up the rates two and three fold just because you can? Thankfully we donโ€™t deal with this, but it does hinder family members coming to see us as who wants to spend $900 to fly 1,000 miles?

I just want to know who doesnโ€™t have a calendar. We know a full year in advance when Christmas is coming yet we still rush to buy last minute Christmas gifts because of lack of planning. I can understand being busy and all, but did you not have any better time than 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve to go out and buy presents? Whatโ€™s even crazier is the amount of money marketers spend convincing us to spend even more money on the days leading up to December 25 th.

I love gift cards, I really do. I also enjoy giving them as gifts if I know the person enjoys the particular place I am buying it from. That said, when I ask for a $25 gift card, does it really make sense to ask me if I want to buy a $100 gift card so I can get a bonus out of it? I know it means I would get more out of it, but why bother hawking something at me so far out of my stated price range?

We have a cat in the Frugal Rules home. However, ever since the last little Frugal Rule became mobile he makes himself scarce as he is outnumbered 3-1 and it usually doesnโ€™t bode well for him. However, that Christmas tree comes out and youโ€™d think that thing was dipped in cat nip. He goes nuts and makes it his lifeโ€™s mission to grab every last ornament off the tree. I guess I shouldnโ€™t be too upset about that one though, as the kids like to ride him like a horse. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is less of an issue if we buy something from Amazon, but what person thought up the packaging for toys? Not only do you need a degree in mechanical engineering to get it apart, but you also need to have the hands of Wolverine to get them out of the packaging. By the time theyโ€™re out of the box, the kids have moved on and are drunk on Christmas cookies.

Last and certainly not least โ€“ Christmas music. I absolutely HATE Christmas music! If I hear Jingle Bells or Silent Night one. more. time. I just may punch myself or drive a railroad spike through both of my ears! Of course, it doesnโ€™t help that I live with Mrs. Claus and her merry little elves. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย Mrs. Frugal Rules has been working on me for over a decade, but I just canโ€™t take it any longer.


There you have it friends. Mrs. Frugal Rules thinks I am crazy, and will call me Grinch at times or say Bah Humbug in passing. I do enjoy Christmas, I really do, itโ€™s just some of the things we do to over commercialize it drive me mad. Thankfully, there is always Christmas Vacation or Elf that I can watch to keep myself from ending up in the corner, in the fetal position and sucking my thumb. ๐Ÿ™‚


What is it that drives you nuts about Christmas? What is your least favorite Christmas songโ€ฆcome on, I KNOW youโ€™ve got one!


Photo courtesy of: Sarah _Ackerman

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • ROFL! Our cat does the same thing with the tree, John! It’s like it’s his personal mission to see how high he can climb and bat ornaments off the tree. I’m the same way with the Christmas music – can’t wait to say “buh-bye” to that stuff – yuckalicious!! It’s not the music itself, I really think it’s the “hypocriticalism” of it all, you know?

    • John says:

      I hear you there Laurie! I worked in a retail setting for years through high school and college and I was burned out on it altogether. That’s also not to mention the fact that I’m not an overly cheery person – at least that’s what my wife says. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I like country music, but as a general rule I am not a big fan of most country Christmas songs (which thankfully don’t get a ton of air time where I live). There is something about the combo of twang and jingle bells that results in something really bad for my ears…

  • There’s too many bad Christmas songs for me to just pick one! Haha, but the one thing I don’t like is bad versions of Christmas songs, though I will agree that it’s very difficult to make a new version of an old song and have it sound good. Our cat is too old to mess with the ornaments but I can imagine a younger cat going crazy knocking them down.

    • John says:

      I agree DC. I do like some of the older ones, but then they go and mess it up with newer versions and it just makes me want to drive nails into my ears.

  • I agree with you about Christmas creeping up so soon and missing other holidays. The sad thing is now stores are opened all through Christmas when they used to close. Profits win out in the end.

    • John says:

      Completely agreed Charles, profits do win out in the end. I do wish they would be closed closer to the Holidays, but then we couldn’t get our last minute “deals”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • MMD says:

    You’re a little bit of Grinch! Come on, Christmas music isn’t that bad! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can totally identify with the cat and tree thing. We just got a new kitten, and she has decided that the entire tree is her giant play thing. Thankfully we just her declawed, so no more worrying about her climbing.

    • John says:

      Oh, yes it is MMD. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yea, we had the same thing when our cat was younger. Now, I think he’s just taking his frustration out on it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I love this list. You know what packaging really makes me nuts? CDs. I rarely buy them anymore but that plastic around them plus the seal on three sides, oi.

    • John says:

      Thanks Stefanie. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hear you on the CDs. We got a new client recently and had to write up a bunch of product descriptions, which included literally over 100 CDs. We had to open every blasted one of them – I almost had forgotten how much I disliked doing that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Matt Becker says:

    I love looking at christmas lights too. One of our neighbors has a pretty crazy setup and our son is loving it as well. I do like christmas music though. Can’t take your side on that one. Hope you and the family have a great holiday!

    • John says:

      Our kids love it as well, which is neat to see them enjoy it. Though, I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you on the music though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas as well Matt!

  • I would be in the serious dog house if I purchased a car for the Mrs. without involving her in the process. I just want to know…where can I buy one of those big bows they put on top of the car? I can never seem to find them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to listen to Christmas music. I can tolerate a few of the more upbeat songs, but if I hear ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ one more time, that might do me in.

  • I agree with you on the over commercialized part. Christmas has become all about spending and running off in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner to fight with your neighbors over some sale at the local Walmart. It’s sad really. The overpriced airline tickets are ridiculous!

  • A car commercial came on the other day when I was with my fiance, pitching buying a car for your spouse, and I jokingly told him I wanted a beamer for Christmas. Do people actually buy each other cars for Christmas? That’s nuts.

  • The buying a car for Christmas idea is ridiculous! What kind of husband buys their wife a $40,000 car without talking about it first? And the big bow? Where do you get one of those at?

  • Thank you thank you thank you for this post!!! I feel like I have to hold back so much of my hatred for Christmas because people will think I’m Satan (see how close that is to spelling Santa?) or something. I fucking loathe Christmas music. Yes, you too Mariah Carey from that song in Love, Actually. ๐Ÿ™‚ The part you wrote about the cat and also Christmas packaging cracked me up!! Hands of wolverine…totally! I think also I used to tolerate Christmas more, but with blogging my loathing has grown, because it’s like shiny happy people being shoved down my face. Aren’t I a peach? ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially the health and fitness blogs I read. If I see one more picture of your Martha Stewart ish gluten, sugar, dairy free cookies with instagram pictures I’m going to jump off a bridget! Whew! OK I feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • John says:

      Lol, glad you feel better Tonya. ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to enjoy Christmas more as well and now enjoy it for the kids and my wife, but the massive over commercialization and cheery-ness has just made it too much for me. Thanks for the addition of the fake cookies, that gave me the laugh I needed this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I know many people who buy tons of gifts and want me to do the same. We’re keeping it kind of minimalist around here. I honestly don’t want anything and don’t want any gifts. The car as a Christmas present is just ridiculous…do people really do that? The Christmas song that I absolutely hate is the one about Grandma getting run over by a reindeer…WTF?

    • John says:

      We really try to be that way as well Andrew. We have enough junk, so we really try and go for quality and not quantity. I’m with you on that song….really?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • LOL! I don’t like how early they start promoting the holidays these days. It honestly takes some of the joy out of it when I see Christmas tree displays go up in September. Nobody is thinking about buying a Christmas tree then! And OMG! I’m not sure if Wolverine’s claws are tough enough to get through some of the plastic around kid toys. It’s terrible! I’m so-so on Christmas music. I enjoy some but I couldn’t do it 24/7 as I know some people enjoy, ummm…. maybe like Mrs. Frugal Rules. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do wish you and Mrs Frugal Rules and your beautiful Children a very Merry and blessed Christmas!

    • John says:

      I’m there with you Shannon, it does take some of the joy out of it – a lot in my opinion. But, as my wife would say, that’s just me being a pessimist. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you and your wonderful family have a very Merry Christmas as well Shannon!

  • Mackenzie says:

    My cat goes crazy with our Christmas tree too! Always love your rants, John ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Karen says:

    Christmas music is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I automatically change the radio station whenever I hear a Christmas song.

    Bah Humbug, indeed!

  • Catherine says:

    “Am I the only one that thinks itโ€™s just a bit nutty to advertise buying a car as a justifiable Christmas gift?.”>>>NO. I was watching TV the other day when an ad came on where the wife runs outside to see hubby standing there with a big red bow on the car on Christmas morning, and I thought ”who the hell buys cars for Christmas, and if my husband did this I’d murder him” Hope you and your family have an amazing Christmas John ๐Ÿ™‚

    • John says:

      โ€who the hell buys cars for Christmas, and if my husband did this Iโ€™d murder himโ€ Lol, I like your way of thinking Catherine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you and your family have a great Christmas as well!

  • Debby says:

    I’ve been driving my colleagues crazy with my humming of “it’s going to be a cold and lonely christmas without you”. Ever since I wrote a post about how I’m not going to visit my family this year for the holidays, that song has been on replay. I guess at this point I’m on someone else’s festivus rant list lol.
    The seasonal crowds flooding all the stores bug me much, so I’ve been avoiding them thoroughly! But overall, I like Christmas and I’m always on the lookout for a Christmas miracle of my own ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pauline says:

    Happy holidays! I am with you on the music, especially in some shops where they must have 5 different lightening decorations playing in full volume and not in sync the same part of Jingle Bells. Staying 10 minutes in the shop is painful enough, I donโ€™t know how employees can go through the day.

  • I’m with you, the over-commercialism of Christmas drives me nuts too.

    My mom bought me a Christmas music CD a couple years ago…it still has the packaging on it. I’m not a fan of Christmas music either because a lot of stores, and even some of the radio stations I listen to turn to all Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. I think “Oh Christmastree” is probably my least favorite Christmas song.

    • I also managed to go years without a Christmas tree because my cat goes crazy over a real one, will chew on the lights (she has been shocked and knocked over my sister’s tree one year), or will knock down ornaments. My mom bought me a small fake tree, cheapo lights and dollar store ornaments this year and, so far, the tree has remained standing, no light chewing, and no ornaments have been harmed…

    • John says:

      “My mom bought me a Christmas music CD a couple years agoโ€ฆit still has the packaging on it.” That’s awesome, I think I’d be doing the same thing as well.

  • There’s a lot about today’s Christmas to Bah Humbug for sure…..what I try to do is filter out all that nonsense and just focus on what I want Christmas to be all about. That, and a couple of stiff drinks makes the season a lot more merry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Christine Weadick says:

    I worked years ago in a store that received some Christmas music in early Oct. The store manager insisted that it had to be played over the PA system …. In October….. You wouldn’t believe the complaints we got on the floor, well maybe you would. The funniest was when someone pointed out the manager to this sweet little old lady…(gotta watch out for those little old ladies!!!) and she walked up to him and tore him a new one in the middle of the store. We didn’t dare laugh out loud but we once outside the store we just about wet ourselves laughing!!!! Oh she was steamed!!!!!!
    The radio station I listen to up here waits until Dec 1 to start playing the Christmas songs and it’s one an hour max the first week slowly working up to more as time goes on…. I can live with that.
    Our cats tend to leave the tree alone. We had one that was a kitten at Christmas and she kept pulling the tinsel garland off the bottom of the tree but that was the worst she did. Hubby threatened to shave her butt if she didn’t leave the tree alone, like she listened. I was out of the house when he actually shaved a small patch of fur at the base of the tail. She didn’t trust him again…ever…. She liked to hide under the tree, I’d go to water the tree and there would be a little pink nose right there to make sure I did it right…. The year after the butt shaving I simply didn’t bother putting that garland on the tree and all was good…….
    The commercializing of Christmas drives me batty…..My kids got home made gifts as kids and the grandson does too. They have always gone over well…..

    • John says:

      Oh, October…that would drive me over the edge I fear. I’d be likely to go postal in that situation. Homemade gifts are great! Especially when they’re so well received. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Loving the grievances, John! Happy Festivus to you guys!

    My biggest pet peeve when it comes to the holidays is the insistence of some people to do things “the exact way that great grandma so-and-so did…” The thing is, nobody like great grandma’s recipes and it’s pretty unfulfilling to make something for Christmas dinner only to have it sit virtually untouched on the table because nobody likes it.

    • John says:

      Thanks, to you as well Mrs. Pop! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I totally hear you on that! Tradition is one thing, but ramrodding it down someone’s throat because someone did it in such a way long ago is something else altogether.

  • I am not a big fan of the over commercialization either. However I do like almost all things traditional Christmas: the music, the lights, the big dinners, the parties, the holiday TV specials etc. With that being said I can’t help but wonder how some people don’t go Clark Griswold (the last scene from National Lampoon’s when he ties up his boss) during some of the excesses of the season.

  • Great rant John! I have always wondered who came up with toy packaging. They seem to be in love with the zip tie market, because there are about 100 for each toy. Ridiculous!

  • I agree that the marketing of Christmas has become more and more ridiculous. That being said, now really is the season to get together with family and friends and sing Christmas carols. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…

  • Anytime I hear Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, I want to claw my eyes out. That’s my least favorite Christmas “carol.” But I LOVE all the other ones! (I’m listening to Pandora’s Christmas channel right now!)
    Merry Christmas, Scrooge! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • LOL loved this post so much! That hubs was listening to christmas music in October. Definitely made sure he had his earphones in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Steve@SmartShoppingSense says:

    I enjoyed your Xmas rant since it hits home on so many levels yet it was never spoken aloud due to fear of being labelled a Grinch or a Scrooge! No pets at my place but two toddlers under five years of age routinely terrorize the Christmas tree ornaments on a daily basis. But I do love hearing the traditional festive Christmas songs in December.

    • John says:

      Lol, yea, my family knows me well enough to call me Grinch and know my feelings won’t be hurt. We’ve got the pets and the toddlers, so it makes for an interesting time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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