Has anyone ever thought about how our society begins to celebrate the holidays earlier and earlier every single year? I know I’m not the only one out there who thinks it’s absolutely absurd. As a retail worker, beginning signs of the impending “busiest time of the year” do not evoke feelings of joy or generosity. To be honest, it’s quite the opposite. On November 1st, the mall in which I work set up a giant Christmas tree outside of my store, as well as wreaths and lights hanging from the ceiling throughout the interior of the building. I’m sorry, people, but the first of November is way to earlier for holiday cheer.
So, as someone who ponders the motives of why humans do the things they do, I began to wonder what it is that possesses Christmas to begin weeks before Thanksgiving is even over. And this is what I’ve concluded – as a society, we have nothing else to look forward to.
Think about that for a second. It’s been stigmatized since your very first holiday season that this is “the most wonderful time of the year”. Growing up, Christmas has always meant spending time with family and receiving the exact gifts you asked for from Santa. Twinkling lights and the smell of pine conjure up warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s inevitable.
But what about the rest of the year? Work, school, taxes, responsibilities, and deadlines fill our lives. War, hate, crime, death, violence, and worry is all around. For some reason beyond explanation, Christmas seems to put all of those other things on the backburner. The whole point of the holidays is to spread Christmas cheer, show loved ones that you care, and put a smile on other people’s faces. We make ourselves believe that everything is better during this time of the year.
Then why not make Christmas come a little bit early, right? We all could use a bit more joy in our lives. It would be nice to have something to look forward to aside from mortgages and student loans. So, we set up a tree, we start playing Christmas music, and we begin our shopping because it somehow makes our hearts a little happier than they are the rest of the year. Instead of one month of holiday prep, how about two? Clearly, Thanksgiving is irrelevant compared to Christmas so we’ll just bypass the Indian and pilgrim celebration and invite back the fat man in a red suit.
As a society, we’ve let ourselves become so unhappy. Our world is full of negativity and strife that brings us down daily. We can’t turn on the television or read the news without something saddening our souls. So we love Christmas.
Although I do not personally fall into the category of Santa hat wearing, cookie baking, gift wrapping, “I LOVE CHRISTMAS” type of person (I’m actually more of a Grinch…sorry), I understand where everyone is coming from with the whole early holiday thing. It’s an internal and innate desire for compassion and joyfulness that most people think can only exist during the last few weeks of every year. And I think that it’s really sad that we forget how to extend that generosity and liveliness into the new year and beyond.
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