I hear it’s not too early to be thinking about Christmas; it may be too early, however, to hear what I’m hoping to get for presents; that can wait another month or so. I used to be one of those who scowled at the sight of holly paired with ivy before Thanksgiving. Not any more.
It’s not that I’ve given up and gone to the dark side of commercialization. I like Christmas, so why not think about it and stretch the season out a bit. It doesn’t mean I’m going to start flashing red and green or wishing anyone the merriest. I’m just going to get into the Christmas spirit sooner this year.
The reminder that Christmas comes earlier every year usually arrives with the seasonal displays in stores, the ads in the newspapers, and the songs on the radio. This year it hit me in the middle of August, with the beginning of play practice. Every year the church I attend puts on a play at Christmas, and this year they mistakenly gave me a part. So I’ve been thinking about Christmas for two months already.
Most everyone agrees that Christmas is over before you know it and that it doesn’t last long enough. So why not extend it. And most everyone is in a good mood at Christmas time, everyone except those that have suffered some emotional trauma that is forever linked to the blessed holiday – like getting a potato under the tree because someone thought you had been a naughty boy. I am so over that.
I have many good memories about Christmas: the way the downtown decorations in Belle Plaine swayed in the snow-filled wind, my brothers and sisters looking at Christmas lights with my dad while Santa came to our house, reading to my wife and kids by the Christmas tree and so on. In fact, I keep Carol of the Bells, and Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas on my iPod.
I know a group of sisters (not nuns) who have already done their Christmas shopping. That kind of activity requires a good memory; otherwise it might be November of next year before you remember where you hid the gifts.
There are other downsides of starting the holiday season early. For instance, you really can’t be yourself with Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Men hanging over you like so much mistletoe. More than once I have had my behavior corrected with “please…it’s Christmas,” or “Jerry! Not at Christmas!” One year I was told that I almost ruined the holiday when I took advantage of a year-end sale at my local Ford dealer.
Of course, concentrating on Christmas cheer doesn’t mean we have to skip over Thanksgiving, but Christmas is not just about getting presents. It’s a reminder that we need to give of ourselves by treating each other with love and kindness.
Is this a crazy idea? Yes – crazy like a box wrapped up with a bow. Would it be so bad to be in the Christmas spirit longer than just on the night before, or the week, or the month? I find it to be so much more pleasant to be around others at Christmas, as most are in a good mood. I think it may be the way to live. So, I’m going to give it a try, I’m going to choose to be as happy as my happiest Christmas memory. What have I got to lose? I may be wrong, but I doubt that I will be eating Crow for Christmas.
Since there is no time like the present, Happy Christmas to all.