Why Love the Christmas Season?
And why hate it?! It always surprises me when I hear about or stumble onto somebody who hates Christmas. What a contrast to me, who wants to gear up for Christmas every September 25th (and sometimes I start planning for next Christmas January 1, if not the day after this Christmas – I always like to do better in my giving). Like my eccentric ‘Grandma Claus’, I sometimes leave some of the Christmas decor up all year long – anything I can get away with, really. Like my eldest daughter, I want Christmas music playing all year long – especially the traditional carols, and most particularly done in old Celtic style and instruments. In fact, our front sitting room where Christmas morning always happens, has just been christened ‘the Christmas Room’. I’m in the process of adding more red, white and green to it. I plan to do large Christmas themed paintings for it. Yes, it will feel like Christmas all year long in that room. Thus I can go feel the Christmas spirit whenever I feel the need.
Why my Christmas madness? When I was a munchkin it was the thrill of the anticipation of what was inside the presents, but I also always loved the music and movies, the candles and wreaths, the food and treats, and every other good Christmas thing. The joy. Yes, I soon learned that it wasn’t so much the presents of Christmas, but the presence of the Christmas spirit. And I quickly got caught up in the giving instead of the receiving. As a daughter, a sister, a friend and neighbor etcetera, I began to think of what I could give to whom. And being that I had always had more time and skills than money, I was always making things for others. As a mom and then a grandma, I’ve embraced the role of ‘Mrs. Santa Claus’ or ‘Mrs. Saint Nicholas’, and my Christmas focus is most totally on the giving spirit side of Christmas, and most towards spoiling the grandkids nowadays. Not spoiled rotten. Spoiled just right. Spoiled sweet. Okay, I confess, this year I went overboard. I’ll try to scale back next year. I won’t go quite so Lego nutty again.
Now, why do some other people get mad at the thought of Christmas? I understand that some people don’t believe in Christ. Well, I suppose it is probably the majority of the planet. So, some of those people rankle at the thought of Christmas. Some even sue against any show of it. But, you know, I’ve many times thought that if I didn’t believe in Christ, I would still enjoy the spirit of the Christmas Season. What’s not to like? The joyful spirit of giving and the birth of a beautiful baby. Beautiful decorations and lights. Lovely music and heartwarming movies. Delicious foods and confections. How could anyone hate any of that? You don’t have to believe, to partake and enjoy the spirit or magic of it. I’m not Catholic, but I have wonderful Catholic friends and I adore their churches and cathedrals and more. This sort of comparison and a list could go on forever.
I think I am most surprised when some Christians I know seem to openly despise Christmas. When I appear shocked at whatever disgusted comment or sour face they have made on the subject, they explain with, ‘I hate the commercialism’. They hate how early Christmas things are for sale. They even hate the Christmas music playing too early. They hate the expectations of everyone else. And that list goes on. They prefer Easter. Some even prefer Halloween. Anything but Christmas. I understand that Christmas can bring it’s stresses. If you let it, I suppose. Oh yes, I’ve been stressed over Christmas expectations. Plenty stressed. Thus I have simplified what I do a little or a lot each year. As needed.
You know, I suppose in a nutshell, in a Christmas nut nutshell, what I am thinking right now, is that every individual can take or leave what they want out of the Christmastime season. They can take or leave the nativity scene. I adore the nativity scene. They can take or leave the lights. I love the lights. They can take or leave the candy canes. I’ve always enjoyed candy canes – sometimes in hot cocoa, but especially to hang on the tree. They can take or leave the music, movies, food, sales, shopping and all. I’m cool with most of it. They can take or leave the tree. I am Christmas nutty about the tree. I keep it up all year now and call it the seasonal tree. In fact, to my hubby’s chagrin, I’ve got two ‘seasonal’ trees in the ‘Christmas Room’: one for the kids, one for the rest of us. One of my darling friends puts up about seven trees in her house every Christmas. Each has a theme. Each is gorgeous. Oh, yes, I was talking about people taking or leaving whatever they want out of Christmas. Well, you get the idea. And you know, I used to hesitate to offend people by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and switched to ‘Happy Holidays’. Well, now I say both with a smile. And people can take or leave it.