Christmas

Christmas is a Holiday not a Season

It’s almost sad that by the time Christmas rolls around many people are so sick of the sights and sounds of the ‘season’ that they cannot wait to get their Christmas tree down. In fact, in the United States – Christmas paraphernalia is often seen sitting in boxes before Halloween is over and Thanksgiving and fall celebratory garb sits in the clearance aisle before any family has had time to sit down and enjoy a Turkey with all the trimmings. What the heck? Is it Christmas ALREADY?

The worst part is that the Christmas season is being extended every year. Whereas normally radio stations don’t switch to an ‘all holiday’ theme until the Friday after Thanksgiving, this year – many made the switch mid-November. MID-NOVEMBER!? Really!? Why? It’s hardly even cold yet in mid-November and people are still fighting over whose turn it is to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Now we have to worry about Christmas too?

One major US retailer recently placed an advertisement on their Facebook page proclaiming that they ‘Would not be decking the halls until Thanksgiving was over!” Believing that “it is only right to celebrate one holiday at a time!” It seems certainly curiously that any retailer would have to make that statement to begin with, because it just makes common sense. And here they are feeling the ‘need’ to defend themselves.

Perhaps the reality is that the economy has become so bad that corporations are hoping that extending the shopping season and placing the constant ring of bells under garland-draped aisles will encourage people to shop more than usual. Is November such a dull month filled with the lack of consumerism that retailers are hoping subliminal conditioning is the only answer? Sure, there isn’t a lot of money to be made in the world of retail for Thanksgiving – unless of course, people need new tablecloths – but should we really be forced to rush through such an important holiday? Especially in this economy, where taking a minute to be thankful for what we DO already have, and for the PEOPLE in our lives who we love may just be our saving grace.

Bottom line, is that the Christmas season is starting to get too long. Hospital emergency rooms are already bombarded with more stress related incidences in December than they are during any other month of the year. Most people are already living far beyond their financial means. Many people are losing their homes, losing their jobs, losing their health insurance. Do we really need to extend the stress of the holidays any more?

Obviously, the holiday season DOES bring out the best in people. It is a time of year where no matter where you go you will see the warmth of twinkling lights, and people smiling (between fighting over the last toy at the store). People are more giving, and large non-profits report staggeringly high number of donations during the holiday season. (Although that may be folks trying to get a last minute tax deduction). Families that live far away connect, fires and candles are lit. Food becomes the most popular attraction, and of course, there is the magic of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a child. Even so, it seems that extending it before Thanksgiving and until after New Years takes away the fleeting glory of the season. If we love the ‘feeling’ of the holiday season, the joy and the peace that it brings, maybe each of us should try a little harder to keep our attitudes light and filled with joy throughout the entire year, rather than just during Christmas?

Then we could go back to the fact that Christmas is a holiday, not a season.

No one seems to go overboard during any other time of the year. If it were simply the religious importance of the holiday than most Christians would start celebrating Easter in February. In fact, maybe we should start doing that too? Then instead of having summer, winter, spring, and fall we could rename the seasons – Memorial Independence, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

From where this author sits, starting too early and celebrating too long is a trait of the young college student who is getting their first exposure to the dangerous mixture of freedom and alcohol. Even that gets old. If we aren’t careful and don’t take the time and make the conscious decision to savor the holiday and keep it short, sweet and SPECIAL – the potential to lose the holiday spirit exists.

Maybe we should take cues from the Christmas music that is blaring in our ears on nearly every radio station we turn to, (thank goodness for I-Pods) and make a law to celebrate The Twelve DAYS of Christmas. To celebrate the advent Sundays of the holiday. To deck the halls on Christmas Eve like the Pagan tradition suggests and keep the trimmings up until the arrival of the Three Wiseman.

It’s sad, but Christmas overload has taken its toll on many people. Families are inhaling their Thanksgiving dinners and rapidly pushing away from the table in order to stand in line all night to get a good deal on a flat screen television. They are bidding adieu to friends and family early so they can rush out and shop at 3am on Black Friday. Have we forgotten that Black Friday is a month (or more) away from Christmas? While the stuff you are filling your house with and racking up your credit card bill with might be a good deal, there is a good chance THE STUFF will be there the week before Christmas. But your family….you never know.

When do YOU start celebrating Christmas? Do you think that we have gone overboard in our celebration of the holidays?

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