I should preface this column by saying right up front that I enjoy Christmas.
I mean… what’s not to love, right?
Seeing friends and family… that’s good. Having some time off from work… that’s good, too. Eating turkey, pumpkin pie and getting a schwack of presents. Totally good.
But, just like with alcohol and food consumption, moderation is the key to enjoying the festive season. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to do so, because we’re inundated with all things Christmas for about two months leading up to the day.
I think I got my first Christmas sales flyer sometime in October, and the television commercials began just about two seconds after I put my Halloween costume away.
Seriously, by the time Noel actually arrives, I’m ready to kick someone in the fa-la-la-la-las. It’s my wholehearted belief that anyone who even says the word “Christmas” before… say, Dec. 15, should be strung up by their Jingle Bells. Of course, I also believe it should only snow on Christmas Eve, and melt about three days later, giving way to summer again… but apparently that’s “crazy.”
The Christmas specials have got a bit out of hand these days, too.
When I was a kid, it was a special thing to be able to see animated holiday features like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course… the simply perfect Charlie Brown Christmas with the unmistakable music from jazz great Vince Guaraldi.
Those were, and still remain, classics. But now it seems every single Mattel and Hasbro toy on the market has some sort of holiday special, and I half expected to see the “Transformers Save Christmas” this year.
Hollywood celebrities are also in on the act. Every year, both A- and B-list stars churn out Christmas albums because, apparently, nobody’s holiday would be complete without Roseanne Barr’s rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.”
News programs also chime in on the season with myriad vapid stories telling us how to “survive the holidays” or have a “stress-free Christmas.”
I don’t have to write a whole story to tell you how to survive the holidays… crowds at the malls, explaining why it’s a different Santa everywhere we go, planning a huge meal with guests… I can explain it in two words. Egg nog. Light on the nog, heavy on the rum.
But maybe, like good old Charlie Brown, I’m not focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. For believers, it is a supremely special day marking the birth of a saviour, and according to King James and good friend Linus, “on earth, peace and goodwill towards men.”
Now, the latter is something of which we all could use in excess these days, wouldn’t you say? So maybe I’ll just put aside the rant for now, slip some Vince Guaraldi on the CD player, raise a glass of nog and simply say, to you and yours, have a Merry Christmas.