Growing up, Christmas was always a glorious celebration of family and life. Not for religious reasons (at least not for myself) but it was always so wonderful to be with family and to celebrate for the sake of celebrating. It still is, of course, even though the magic of the season transforms with age to be less ‘in the moment’ and more nostalgic. That’s how it seems to be for most people – deliberately listening to specific Christmas songs or watching Christmas movies to try and ‘get into’ the spirit.
There’s nothing wrong with that but there’s a disparity of sorts that seems to happen at this time of year. Not to take away from everyone who does celebrate, yet a lot of people seem to be Grinches or Scrooges deliberately. More and more, there’s complaining that Christmas music plays too early or that decorations are up too soon. That’s not without merit; October’s jumping the gun and I understand wanting to wait out of respect for Remembrance Day. However, the holidays only come once a year. Why not soak up all of the Yuletide joy while you can?
The biggest issue is the fighting over the trivial things. For instance, the supposed “War on Christmas.” A decent portion of the Christian population believes that “Christ” is being taken out of Christmas. Now, in all fairness, a lot of people who celebrate Christmas aren’t religious. There’s a fair amount of commercialization involved in the season, and many traditions have evolved surrounding myths of Santa Claus and flying reindeer, rather than the birth of Jesus. Like I said, I’m not a very religious person myself. For me, Christmas was always a time to get with family and enjoy spending time with each other.
Getting presents is exciting (let’s be honest) and giving them is fantastic; seeing people light up when they first lay eyes on what you found just for them. I don’t see what’s so wrong with that. But instead of simply enjoying these traditions, so many people seem to be intent on arguing which ones are “right” and “wrong.” It’s not naughty or nice to enjoy Santa, food, carols and presents or to celebrate one’s spirituality. Why people bother arguing either way is beyond me. It’s ludicrous to be angry at someone for saying “Merry Christmas,” but it’s also nuts to rage at someone for saying “Happy Holidays.” Everyone celebrates in different ways for different reasons. But isn’t it wonderful to celebrate, even if it’s simply just for being alive? What’s the point of fighting over why we celebrate? Isn’t that the antithesis of the season in the first place?
Growing up, Christmas was a sea of cigarette smoke. Many members of my extended family smoked and the windows stayed shut since it was cold outside. There were too many people to talk to. Strangers would wander in and out of the house to visit my grandparents. People would feel sick from either eating too much or having one-too-many rum and Cokes. The house we would gather in for Christmas Eve would be a mass of confusion.
I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I still wouldn’t. Things have changed. Loved ones aren’t with us anymore. New people have come into our lives, boyfriends and girlfriends, newly birthed cousins and the like. Most people have quit or, are trying to quit, smoking.
But it’s largely still the same. Swathed in nostalgia, we play Christmas tunes, we talk, we eat too much and we drink too many rum and Cokes. It still tends to be a mass of confusion. Yet as we strive to recreate that magic of nostalgia, the Christmas spirit remains. In the swath of people arguing and threatening each other over Twitter, the politics of society and bitching about shopping, we block all that bullshit out for a couple of glorious days and celebrate family and life. We don’t argue about what we’re celebrating or why. We simply enjoy it while we can.
I’ll drink to that.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
– Alan Holmes, Entertainment Co-Editor