It starts just after Halloween now. You’ve noticed, right? A few lights in stores, a jolly Santa standee, a little shakeup in the playlist of four or five radio stations, and it starts. Earlier than ever come the reminders of what’s coming, and thus earlier than ever my least favorite thing about my most favorite holiday begins: People bitching about Christmas. Here’s some ammunition to help you argue off the joyless, humorless, and uncreative.
“Christmas starts too early!”
Are you kidding me? Whaddayawant, more time to savor the weather? We should start the hype the first time the temperature drops below 40 degrees as far as I’m concerned. January, February and March are bleak and horrible, and so would November and December be without twinkly lights and eggnog. Why anyone complains about anything that brings color and light to two months of grey freezingness is beyond me. Not only would I like to see Christmas start earlier, I’d like to see it last longer. I’d be very happy moving Christmas to March and having music and lights run through till spring training.
“It’s too religious/not religious enough!”
Here is what I would like for Christmas this year: I would like all those of you who complain about Christmas being too inclusive and those of you who complain about Christmas being too exclusive to pair off. You all share a common interest in imposing your viewpoint on others, so this should be easy. Find your opposite number, pair off, and argue about theology, in private and with that person only, until Dec. 26.
This is an everybody-wins scenario: You both get to jump up and down and shout at someone about religion and the rest of us can go about being happier without either of you.
“It’s too commercial!”
All you people tutting “tHe tRuE mEaNiNg Of cHrIsTmAs hAs BeEn LoSt!” in the face of rampant consumerism are talking out of your butts. Let’s get something straight. Christmas as a fun day is not a new development. Christmas has been about gettin’ stuff since Day One. 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.” (Matthew 2:11)
That is quite literally chapter and verse on Christmas, and those 40 words that are the final authority on what is and is not “Christmas” specifically mention:
- Spoiling children
- Product placement
- Celebrity endorsements
- And obliquely reference:
- 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 stuff it about Christmas being too much about lights, parties, and presents. Christmas has always been about lights, parties, and presents.
So bring it on. All the best things about Christmas. Bring on a million tiny lights. Bring on eggnog and mulled wine and hot cider. Bring on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story and Gremlins. Bring on the Jingle Cats and Bootsy Collins’ Christmas album and holiday hip-hop and A Very Techno Christmas. Bring on cheese logs and chocolate Santas and cookies. Bring on lines for Santa and giftwrap for charity and mobbed malls. Bring on Santa hats and reindeer antler headbands and neckties with wreaths on them. Bring on trees: real, artificial, and really artificial. Bring on the glass ball ornaments and hundred-foot tinsel garlands and HAPPY HOLIDAYS written in 10-foot light-up letters. Bring on the office parties where somebody was dumb enough to bring mistletoe and the family time where somebody was dumb enough to bring wine. Bring on Frosty and Alvin and Rudolph and that sanctimonious twit Linus.
All of it.
For the grinches among you … patience. It’ll be February soon enough.
Alan Brouilette is a Forest Park resident who writes a column for our sister publication, the Forest Park Review.