You guys. I am having serious issues with the holiday season thus far. Not because of things relating to my last post, and not because of my ridiculous amounts of knitting stress that keep cropping up. No, no.
My issues lie with the fact that it’s not even Thanksgiving and there are Christmas commercials during every Law & Order rerun. It’s not even Thanksgiving, and there are silver and gold and red and green decorations up in stores. Stores like Toys ‘R Us are even advertising “better sales” from 5pm to 9pm ON Thanksgiving Day! So, during the exact time that Thanksgiving, a holiday of family, love, and gratitude, is supposed to take place, there are going to be workers working instead of enjoying a meal with their loved ones, and people gunning for the best spot in line for bigger discounts in this tight economy.
I hate to say it you guys, but we’re ruining Christmas.
It pains me to discuss this, really. Christmas is, hands down, my favorite holiday. Even above my birthday (a national holiday most recognize as “the day after Cinco de Mayo.”) I am ready for Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, I’m ready for Christmas baking the day after Thanksgiving, I’m ready for Christmas… anything! The day AFTER Thanksgiving!
You know why I want to put off the celebrations? It’s not for lack of Christmas spirit, let me tell you.
It’s because the more we keep moving up the celebrations, whether you view Christmas in a secular or religious light, the more we dilute it. The more we commercialize it. The more we make it about Toys ‘R Us deals and J.Crew sweaters and buying the biggest, shiniest thing at Best Buy at midnight on Turkey Day, instead of about those moments that truly encapsulate the holiday spirit. The time you spend baking cookies with your mom, or making the perfect colorful card to send your best friend, or sitting next to a crackling fire with hot cider watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – that’s what I love about Christmas, and that’s exactly what it feels like is missing when the winter holidays move up into Halloween territory.
The sooner Christmas starts, the less meaningful all of those moments become – because the only reason to move up a holiday that technically only lasts 2 days is to get more money out of it. And that just makes me so incredibly sad.
Don’t get me wrong, I love presents as much as the next upper middle class white girl! You don’t get through a bunch of years of private school and time spent in Los Angeles (during the formative college years) and reading fashion blogs like it’s your job without liking nice things – but I also recognize that that is not what the holidays are about. Nor were they, past the age of about fourteen, my favorite part of the holidays.
What do I love, then? To put it simply – Christmas makes me happy. The spirit, the music, the feeling of magic in the air. I don’t think there’s literal magic in the air, but when the days start winding down to the big day (that twenty-fifth day of December), the air gets a little crisper and just feels so full of possibility.
I love twinkly lights and the smell of pine and the crinkle of gift wrap. I love roaring fires (even started with Duraflame logs) and mulled wine and bundt cakes. I love trying to put hats on my dogs and making sure they don’t knock over the low-hanging ornaments on the tree. I love picking out the tree with my family – convincing them to get the biggest one we can fit in our house, even though my mom thinks it’s a pain and my stepdad is the one who has to fit it in the tree stand. And I love that, every year, they admit I was right!
Why am I going on and on about this holiday that I am also slightly railing against? Because I’m not upset with Christmas. It’s not Christmas’s fault that WalMart wants to make an extra buck before the turkey has even been carved. It’s not Christmas’s fault that CVS insists on lining their shelves with cheap elf decorations in the middle of October. And it’s not Christmas’s fault that this entire holiday season, one that I imagine originally held no more than sleigh rides and cocoa and maybe a handmade gift like a new pair of socks, has been taken over by blockbuster sales and commercial jingles.
So I am going to view Christmas in the best possible light for these next few weeks. I am going to remember the feelings of generosity, of love, of pleasant company, of welcoming others into your homes and your hearts. I am going to enjoy the sparkling lights and the seasonal refreshments and the way that a holiday song makes you bop along without thinking. I am going to try extra hard this year to celebrate the true meaning of the season in a year that seems intent upon trying extra hard to sell me on the materialistic parts. I am going to find joy and meaning in the parts of the season that I love, and hope everyone else is able to do the same.
Have you noticed the holidays speeding up? What’s your favorite way to celebrate?