If I have a favorite holiday, it is clearly Christmas. The only holiday I decorate for, Christmas holds a near obsessive place in my heart.
I don't hate much about the holiday season. I love the hustle and bustle. I love the gift buying (as long as I don't have too much financial stress). I love the over scheduling. The weird food. The 24-7 Christmas music. I love every aspect of the holiday season.
Except for one: The complaining.
I'm talking to you, Mr. I-don't-want-to-go-to-a-party-every-weekend-in-December. And you, Ms. All-this-over-commercialization-is-ruining-Christmas. Not to mention you, Miss It-makes-me-mad-when-people-say-Happy-Holidays.
I just want to say this once, loud and clear for whoever reads my little blog to read: Stores don't ruin my Christmas. Someone calling a Christmas tree a Holiday tree doesn't ruin my Christmas. People who don't celebrate Christmas don't ruin my Christmas. My Christmas isn't disturbed by Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule or MidWinter. My Christmas is personal. It's about celebrating what's important to me. And I fully support anyone else in their desire to celebrate what's important to them.
What ruins my Christmas is being sucked into the never-ending argument of whether or not it's okay for stores to tell their employees not to say "Merry Christmas." It's listening to this year's diatribe on Holiday Trees in stores. It's whining about how the Christmas decorations went up the day after Halloween. It's the 900th time I've been told that Christmas isn't about shopping.
Frankly, I think it's fine for stores to tell their employees not to say Merry Christmas when they are working in the store. It's their prerogative as a store. If the employees don't like it, they can work somewhere else. If the store wants to wish everyone a "Happy Satan Day," then they have the freedom to do that. If you don't want to shop there, don't. If you don't want to work there, don't. But don't believe that they should somehow be forced to accept Christmas and Christianity if you aren't willing to spend eight days a year wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah.
And I don't care what who calls their tree. Mine is a Christmas tree. It's really just a tree with lights and ornaments, but it symbolized Christmas to me. In the nativity story, though, there is no tree. The tree is a yuletide tradition brought into Christianity by stubborn pagans. It's not by definition Christian. So, if someone wants to call it a Yule tree or a Holiday tree or a December Tree, they should be allowed to do so.
I like that Christmas used to be one day and now it's November 1 through December 25. I like the season. And I don't mind if stores cater more and more to early shoppers. I used to be one. I used to start shopping in September, and frankly, it's more fun to shop when the decorations are out.
And finally, yes, Virginia, for me Christmas is about shopping. It's about gift giving. It's about searching out something that will bring a moment of happiness to those I love. It's not about one-upping or obsessive math to ensure that everyone's gift comes in at exactly $20, but it is about giving things to people. Now, in a perfect world, I would start December 26th and have handmade gifts for everyone on my list, but I don't. So, I shop. And I enjoy shopping. I enjoy Black Friday and I enjoy the crowds and the sales and everything draped in red and green. I enjoy the repackaging of everyday items to convey Christmasyness. I shop because I love. If you don't, the quit shopping, but stop trying to sap my enjoyment by harping on and on about how horrible it is for everything to be so commercial. Yes, it's commercial. Yes, it's a shame. But it's also a joy to those of us who enjoy it.
If there is one theme to all of the mid-winter holidays, it is peace on Earth. And peace on Earth, starts with peace in your hearts. So, this year, try to ease up on defending the sanctity of Christmas, and just let everyone celebrate what they want to celebrate. If you want to wish people a Merry Christmas, then please do, but don't lecture those who tell you Happy Holidays in return. Just live and celebrate and enjoy and let everyone else do the same.
And if you can't do that, then please, don't send me chain emails telling me that I shouldn't either.