All the people clutching their pearls about how the meaning of Christmas has been lost are talking out of their butts. Christmas as a fun day is not a new development. Witness:
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
That is literally chapter and verse on Christmas, and in those 40 words that are the final authority on what is and is not “Christmas,” specifically mentioned are:
• Spoiling children
• Product placement
• Celebrity endorsements
And obliquely referenced:
• Getting drunk with friends and coworkers
• Holiday parties
• Gift competitiveness
Furthermore, if you include Matthew 2:10, “They were overjoyed at seeing the star,” you can add “displays of light” to the list of things that have been part of Christmas since the day Christmas was invented. So shut up about Christmas being too much about lights, parties, and presents. Christmas has always been about lights, parties, and presents.
And this is how it should be because after Christmas, we go into the much worse time of winter — the part of winter with nothing to look forward to. At least in December we have Christmas coming. Thanksgiving through New Year’s is one, long, glorious distraction from the weather. Jan. 1 through May 1 has nothing to distract you from the fact that you don’t technically have to live here. Really, Christmas would be better-placed on something like Feb. 25.
Think about it! We would have Christmas lights and decorations and trees and parties and sweaters and all that great festive crap for two extra months! Two glorious, festive, tinsel-bedecked extra months. That’s three full months of the Christmas season, with benchmark parties for the New Year and the Super Bowl, plus it stays light out later than 3:45 p.m. when it currently gets dark, which’ll ameliorate holiday-related depression.
After the big day (again, here we’re thinking of it as Feb. 25), we’re within two weeks of Spring Training and within a month of the first nice day. There’s really no drawback to this idea.
I can’t even imagine Jesus would be mad about my moving His birthday back a couple of months. Surely in the event of a second coming, He’d presumably have greater concerns than where the big day fell on a calendar that didn’t exist the last time He kept an appointment book. Besides, once I explained the idea, I’m pretty sure a guy from the desert who never experienced waiting for a train on a 6 degree day would cut me some slack even if said guy didn’t also have to maintain a reputation as the forgiving sort.
It would be the end of the Real Dead Tree Era, for sure. This is not a drawback; our Christmas trees pretty reliably saw Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, and they start to look a little thin by then. I love Christmas, but not enough to fetishize the past, so real Christmas trees are a tradition that needs to go. I don’t get the affection for something that drops sap and sharp needles anyway. No one romanticizes “a real icebox,” yet people get all moony over getting a “real Christmas tree.” Screw that. I want the fakest of fake trees. Mine is hot pink and was delivered unto me by Amazon.
People with small children would get two more months of good behavior, too — that hideous Nazi surveillance elf of the shelf would be around and threatening to tattle all the way from Black Friday until nearly Spring Break. That’s got to be worth a little extra hassle over presents, right?
In closing, let me point out that summer has great festive-holiday spacing; Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day. Beautiful, even distribution. I am only asking that winter receive equal treatment, that we separate Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and Christmas a little better.
Alan Brouilette writes a column for our sister publication, the Forest Park Review.