The holidays are a time of happiness and wonderment to me. I am transfixed by sparkling lights and find myself carried away by the romance of mystery that the season brings. My favorite sights are a glimpse of a christmas tree through a pulled curtain, flashes of colored light behind a fenced-in back yard, and of course wrapped presents under a tree. Christmas works best when it is partly hidden, shrouded in darkness, mystery, and wrapping paper. This leaves you to create magic in your mind, filling in the things unseen with fanciful creations of your own.
I just wish they’d go back to doing it at Christmas.
This year Christmas stuff started going up well before Halloween. Like, middle of October or so. There is apparently a general retail push to lump all the holidays in together and simply have a “Holiday Season” instead of a separate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. As an individual I find this irritating for several reasons. First, each of our holidays is special and unique. They all have their own flavor that makes us want to celebrate them in different ways — with family, cooking, shopping, costuming — what have you. Shove them all together and what’s left? Holiday #1, #2, #3, and #4? Gee, that sounds fun. Where’s the character in that? I suppose ideally (for retailers, hereafter referred to as the Bad Guys) every holiday would just be another Christmas were people would feel obligated to buy presents for everyone they know.
My second problem stems from me, and not really from the Bad Guys. I like Halloween, I enjoy Thanksgiving. New Years is special to me because it’s also Lena’s birthday. But I do love Christmas. And because I do, I try as hard as I can to keep it as special to me as I can. And a big part of that is waiting. I wait for the fruitcake (You always wonder who those people make the fruitcake for? It’s me.) I wait for the egg nog. I wait for the lights and the tree and the pine-scented candles. It kills me to wait for it, but I know if I didn’t, if I started christmasing up the place a month or two early it would start to fade in its significance. Like a dirty sock on the floor in the living room (Lena!) that you pass by every day for a week, you just stop seeing it because it’s always there. This “Holiday Season” bugs me because I am concerned that’s the ultimate result. The holidays will become so common that no one will care anymore. Also I have a bit of a non-smoker type reaction to everyone else giving in and decorating early when I’m making myself wait, but that’s just me. Bastards.
On a tangental note, and just for the record, I do want to make the point of saying that I have zero problem with retailers saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in order to avoid offending non-christians. I think that the idea that trying to be nice to other people is offensive to christians themselves is at once amusing and just a little bit pathetic, and seems very much at odds with what I understand christianity to be all about. It seems like, if it were me, I would feel glad about reaching out to embrace the world with my holiday, instead of trying to keep the entire occasion to myself. After all, no one really owns December 25th, and christians are just sort of borrowing Christmas anyway.
I don’t know if writing this blog was such a good idea. Now all I can think about is fruitcake, and I can’t have any till Friday. (/whine!)