Around this time of year, many people assume (wrongly) that I don't like Christmas. I groan and cover my ears when I hear Christmas music playing and I make disparaging comments about people who already have their Christmas trees up/Christmas shopping done/houses decorated. This often gets me the "bah-humbugger" label, applied by people who haven't actually picked my brain on the subject.
Let me assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth.
In actual fact, Christmas is one of the precious few holidays that I care about at all (the other three being Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Halloween... though my love for the latter is diminishing a bit). I never liked Valentine's Day, I'm not even remotely Irish (despite the fantastic American melting pot that is my DNA) and I don't drink hardly ever, so I don't give a whooping funt about St. Patrick's Day. Easter is sort of a throwaway holiday to me... it's when the rest of the world finally gets around to celebrating something that I, as a Christian, try to celebrate every day - the resurrection of Christ. And I still don't get what rabbits and eggs are supposed to have to do with that, especially since rabbits don't lay eggs (with the notable exception of the Cadbury Bunny). I only care about New Year's in the sense that I have a legitimate excuse to stay up ridiculously late and hang out with my friends... which is another thing that I would do at any time of the year. Otherwise, hey, a brand new year... just like the last one. Big fat hairy deal.
No, I like Christmas. What I object to is the overcommercialization of Christmas. I object to the fact that Christmas has become 99% about buying stuff and 1% about being with your loved ones (and forget Christ, because we have taken him out of Xmas). I object to having Christmas goods on display as early as late September (August in Cuernavaca, which I think is funny since it doesn't even snow there). In fact, I object to the general retail practice of having your holiday goods in stock at least two months in advance of the actual holiday. Because I assure you, the day after Christmas they will start putting out stuff for Valentine's Day. And once that one is over it'll be Easter merchandise. I object to the fact that the overcommercialization has, for many people, made the holiday season more stressful than enjoyable. I object to the fact that every year my own mother stresses out because she feels like there's not enough money available for us to have a "good" Christmas. At Christmas of 2006 (right after she almost died) I told her that I thought we would all be content this year with the fact that we still have a mom. I don't think she believed me then, and I don't think she believes me still. Don't get me wrong, gifts are nice, but I won't feel Christmas was a failure if there is not a sufficient quantity of gifts under the tree or if the gifts do not add up to great enough of a cash value. I object hugely to that... if you've let your kid get the idea that Christmas sucked this year because he didn't get the $300 gift he wanted (or even the $100 gift he wanted), you and your kid both need a sound beating.
Let me repeat: Christmas is NOT ABOUT STUFF.
Christmas is about being with your loved ones, showing them you care (be that with presents or presence), getting the whole gang together and letting hilarity ensue. Christmas of 2008 in my family will forever be remembered as the Christmas that Dad tried to melt the ice in the driveway with a crab burner so Grandma and Grandpa could get their car out of the driveway. Thanksgiving of 2009 has officially been labeled "the Thanksgiving of the Coiled Crap Hound". I can't wait to see what Christmas 2009 will do... but it's not bloody Christmas yet! I mean, come on people... you just wore yourself out over one holiday! Give yourself a little down time before launching into the next one, why don't you?
I propose a two-week non-holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Also that'll give me time to get my son's birthday celebrated and not have him have to deal with Christmas getting all over a day that is supposed to be about him.
So in closing, yes, I do wish you a Merry Christmas... but not for another couple of weeks, all right?