Seriously, I was sick of "Black Friday" ads a week before Thanksgiving. It would help the day feel "fresher" if they didn't start having Black Friday sales in the middle of Freaking July. And seriously: when did black Friday become a national holiday? When did it stop being the semi-official start of the Serious Christmas Shopping Season and become a Competitive Shopping Event? On the other hand, I got an email ad today (from Wilson Combat) that could legitimately be called an "after Christmas" sale notice. I'm sure that means something, I'm just not sure what.
The thing is, I love Christmas. I mean, most people decorate for Christmas way more than I do, and I've known people who plan their Christmas six months in advance, way before I do. I know a guy whose house decorations for Christmas put the local shopping centers to shame, and focused his whole year around Christmas. Maybe if you saw me, or saw our barely decorated little house, you wouldn't think so, but I love Christmas.
Last year, we broke with longstanding tradition of getting only a real tree and putting it up a week to 10 days before Christmas. We got a plastic tree, put it up early and stored it in the workshop after New Years. Not in the attic, in my workshop. It came out this year on December 1st and has been lighting us up every evening since.
Christmas is unique among holidays in America. It has a very strong Christian tradition (well, duh!) as well as very strong secular traditions, and I love them both. I love giving gifts to loved ones and friends. I love the old favorite songs and the whole feeling of this time. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment and everyone in the office was wearing silly Christmas clothes. It added a smile and light heartedness that doesn't automatically go with dentist visits. The gift-giving secular tradition is so big that people in retail will tell you that Christmas often determines whether or not they stay in business. Getting back to the Christian traditions, another aspect of the holiday is the annual struggle to "keep Christ in Christmas" and not overlook the spiritual side of the holiday. One of my favorite facts in life is that there's actually a court ruling that tells you how many reindeer (three) a holiday display must have to remain "sufficiently secular" to be legal to display on public property. If I have three or more reindeer on display, it's secular, but if it's only two reindeer, I'm obviously trying to convert you! Even two and half, say I display two reindeer and a package of reindeer sausage, won't make it secular enough. You've just got to know that when lawyers are deciding that "three is the number and the number shall be three", someone had to suggest two and a half.
A 2006 Zogby poll showed that 95 percent of folks are NOT offended when they hear the words “Merry Christmas.” The real kicker is that 1 in 3 are actually very offended when the words “Happy Holidays” push out the phrase “Merry Christmas.” This should not come as a big surprise because another poll by Fox News/Opinion Dynamics showed that 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas.Every year you hear about some overzealous morons somewhere deciding that the most innocuous secular symbols are too Christian. I hate to break it to them, but candy canes are nowhere to be found in Christian scriptures; nor are wreaths, trees, or decorative lights on those trees. They are not religious symbols. And even if they were, the absence of religious symbols isn't a diversity of views; it's presenting only the atheistic view. This year, the ubiquitous charge of racism joined the party as we learned that the 1960s stop-motion animated "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is a horrible show charged with bullying, racism and homophobia. Of course, we also were also bludgeoned that "Baby It's Cold Outside" is about rape and not mutual flirtation, as was the intent, joining "White Christmas" in being banned. White Christmas was first singled out in 2014. Colleges are at the heart of this fake diversity fest.
As we go into the Christmas weekend and the Big Day, take time to enjoy it and your loved ones. If you feel a need to get some perfunctory gift for someone you'd really rather not give to, I say don't do it. That's some sort of bizarre social ritual, not Christmas. Don't put yourself in debt for Christmas; even if it means the kids get a "meager" holiday. It won't hurt them and may just help them. If you're one of the 45% who recently said they'd just as soon skip the whole thing - I say skip it. It's still a federal holiday, so you have that going for you. Lastly, if you work in retail, the USPS, or package delivery service and will be running your buns off for the next four solid days, you have my sympathy.