In case any of you were wondering why I'm kind of a grinch, read on:
When I was about eight or nine, my mother (and her boyfriend at the time) scarred me for life.
I hadn't believed in Santa Claus since I was about four or so when I realized that it was impossible for someone to be alive and well long enough to have delivered presents to my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother as well as me (in a fit of curiosity, I had interrogated my whole family about this mighty suspicious Santa Business), much less being able to defy the laws of physics and deliver presents to every child on the face of the earth on one single night. I figured he was dead and either parents or some third party was filling in. I related this theory to my sister and younger cousins and got in a ridiculous amount of trouble over it. Seriously. You would have thought I'd set the family cat on fire, the way I was treated over that.
I ultimately decided that recanting was my best option. I didn't want anyone to be mad at me and, ever the pragmatist, wanted to continue to receive goodies every year. So I pretended to buy my mother's explanations about how Santa wasn't really dead (and children who don't believe in him won't get any presents), went on with my life, and kept up appearances in order to ensure that the gifts would keep coming...
...until I was around nine or ten, when my mother's boyfriend decided that it would be really hilarious to put switches in my stocking. I'm not sure what made them think following through with that plan was a good idea. Maybe they thought that I'd take it as constructive criticism from a totally objective third party and mend my sister-tormenting, smart-alecking ways, or that I'd take it as a joke. I didn't, of course. Since I knew that Santa wasn't real, I took the presence of switches in my stocking as proof positive that my mother thought I was a bad kid and didn't love me anymore (and, of course, liked my sister better than she liked me). I cried for hours and my Christmas was totally ruined.
It didn't ruin all Christmases forever, of course, but it's still one more item on my gigantic list of reasons why I'm not really a fan of the last two months of the year (my birthday excepted, of course). Others include the obnoxious music, poor behavior of people I am stuck being nice to (I've spent the past few years in the service industry), and, of course, the preempting of my favorite television shows in favor of shlocky Very Special Whatevers. I also don't like the way red and green look together. So there. Again.