Since before Halloween, stores have been putting out their Christmas merchandise. Red ribbons and silver bells along with trees of every shape, size, and color wait in the stores to decorate someone’s home. I actually saw a metallic purple tree in Savannah a few weeks ago. It was resplendent with pink lights and green ribbons. I won’t say I hated it, but I wouldn’t want it standing in my living room for the month of December—not even one day of it. I’m more a traditionalist myself. I want my old faithful ornaments that the children and grandchildren made or that we’ve collected over the years. I also like the ornaments that someone chose or made just for my family. Just recently we added a handful of red Santas done in plastic canvas and filled with Hershey’s kisses. None of our ornaments are expensive. They have little monetary value, but to me they are priceless. I do like my Christmas tree.
So many people my age tell me that they no longer put up trees. It’s just too much trouble, they say, but I will put one up as long as I’m able to do it myself or convince someone to help me. My grandson Stuart was that someone for a long time. Every year he very loyally came out and helped me stand it up. Putting the ornaments on is a labor of love.
I love the feeling of Christmas. People are nicer in December. Watch carefully as shoppers throw change or folded bills into the Salvation Army buckets. Groups visited the nursing homes until COVID stopped that, but they still turn their attention to giving. We collect food for the disadvantaged and presents for needy children. The idea of Christmas reminds us to care for each other, to be the kind of people we should be year-round.
Yet people complain constantly about the commercialism of Christmas. An incredible number of ads are directed toward children. My son Calvin calls it the “I-want-a season.” If you click on Facebook, America’s modern-day backyard fence, you’ll see all the slogans: Keep Christ in Christmas. Christmas ain’t about money! Jesus is the reason for the season.
Let us stop and think for a minute how the world got in this problematic position. Christmas wouldn’t be so commercial if we, the consumers, didn’t spend like lunatics, buying every whatchamacallit and thingamabob out there. Supposedly it starts on Black Friday. People usually trample each other, snatch sale items, and growl and snarl like wild dogs to save a few dollars. I wonder if COVID stopped that. Where’s that Christmas spirit I was just talking about. Obviously, it once stayed home on Black Fridays.
We can’t change the world from a Facebook page or a billboard, but we can change the way we celebrate Christmas in our own households. Christmas is less than a month away. Whether your shopping is done or not, take some time to spend with the children you love. Read “T’was the night before Christmas” to them. Cuddle on the couch and watch Rudolph and the Grinch. Don’t forget Frosty the Snowman. Make some gingerbread cookies and let little hands help. So what if they get the kitchen all messy? Kitchens are washable.
Spend a little quality time remembering the reason for the season. Remember calm Joseph, Mary, and the new baby in the stable out in the countryside.
As Christmas Day rushes upon us again, we can’t change the way the rest of the world celebrates. We can, however, change the way we do things around our own trees or hearths. We can change our own worlds. It’s entirely up to each individual to celebrate as he wishes. May it forever be so.