Merry, Merry, Happy, Happy?

My paper mosaic Nativity.  All paper shapes, pieces, hand cut by me.

It’s that time of the year, again.  The Holidaze are here.

Please don’t read into this blog and think that I’m depressed.  Maybe I am, but I don’t really see it that way.  And if I am depressed, it has more to do with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) than the actual holiday.

First of all, I work in retail.  Sure, my shop is a niche market, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the rush and hubbub that is the end of year gift giving frenzy of the retail sector.  What it does mean, however, is that just like most who work in retail, my holiday spirit spark of joy fizzles out before December.

My solution to this, is that next year I’m going to try and do the bare minimum for all the holiday stuff happening in the village, but not much else.  The gifty ideas and inventory will arrive in November, and I’ll showcase it starting around Thanksgiving and through early January.  At least that’s my plan right now.  

Also, I’ve noticed that in the past that the gift idea bits and bobs don’t really do well for me, so I didn’t order any this year.  Maybe it’s the new location and the growing patron base, but I’ve had more requests for those things this year than I ever had before.  So I’m going to try and up that next season – I wrote both these ideas on my 2019 calendar, but actually remembering it and following through will be the hard part.  

Then there’s the fact that neither The Goat nor I have family locally.  That in itself isn’t unusual anymore.  What is unusual is that we don’t “go home” for Christmas or have people visit us here, which makes for a nice, quiet Christmas without the rush of trying to cram all the family visits into a 48 hour period and overeating because one or more family member will be upset if you aren’t at their house for a meal.  But once again, all of our gift giving and celebrating is over before Christmas even arrives.  We see The Goat’s family over Thanksgiving, and my family all live far enough away that gifts are sent via the post.

Then there’s the whole religious aspect of Christmas.  Even as a pre-teen/ young adult, I didn’t understand why Christmas was often a bigger “event” than Easter.  They both have ties to Christ, family dinners, and fictional benevolent beings bestowing gifts. 

Christmas, however, has a perceived necessary larger monetary gift giving tradition, while most adults never even think about what they’re getting for Easter.  Radio stations don’t play Easter songs for weeks prior to Easter.  Can you even name an Easter song that is’t a hymn?  Peter Cottontail is the only one that comes to my mind.  Many have started decorating for Easter, but not like they do for Christmas. 

And have you ever heard anyone claim there’s a War on Easter?  No.  Because most people understand that it’s a (mostly) religious holiday, even non-Christians who still give their kids Easter Baskets.  Many people even accept the religious aspect while acknowledging that many of the Easter traditions are mash-ups of pagan or other religions’ traditions related to Spring and rebirth.  Yet, for some reason, these same people often get angry when you suggest that Christmas traditions are also a mash-up of pagan and other religions’ traditions related to Winter and they “death of Mother Nature”. 

Why has this always bothered me?  Because from a religious standpoint, Christmas is essentially, at its most basic, a really big birthday party.  While Easter,  is a celebration of what makes Christians Christians – Jesus’ final act as a human on earth, the resurrection and redeeming of humanity.   To me, everyone has to be born (even if it a miraculous virgin birth), but resurrection and redemption of the human race?  Now that doesn’t happen every day!

I’ve come to understand, more fully, now that I am learning to live with S.A.D., why the lights and festivities surrounding Christmas are so important for our morale, especially in cold, dark, winter climates.  And maybe that’s the sole reason for the difference in celebration exuberance between Easter and Christmas, but it still always leaves me wondering. 

If you live in a warmer climate and Easter is the bigger holiday, please let me know!  I’d love to hear about it.  After all, Christmas and Easter don’t fall during the same seasons everywhere on the planet, and there are even places that don’t celebrate them as a legal holidays.

All of these factors, and the glum weather, have compounded this year and have made me less enthused about Christmas than I usually am.  After all, I love listening to Christmas music, wrapping gifts, Christmas trees, and Christmas cookies (that’s another thing, you know you can make “Christmas Cookies” any time of the year, right?).

I don’t enjoy the expectations that every Christmas is a perfect scenario of family and friends, sparkly things, and amazing gifts.  In the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold had this idealized, perfect, Christmas in mind.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know how that ends.

Often, many of us do the same.  And in doing so stress ourselves out over what is supposed to be a birthday party for a saviour that’s been gone for over 2,000 years!  I’m not trying to trivialize it, I consider myself a Christian.  But seriously, is there anyone else who’s been gone for even 100 years for whom you’d throw this kind of a birthday party?   

Again, try not to read to much into this blog.  I’m not trying to be a Grumpy Gus, I’m just trying to think things through and come to terms with the fact that my expectations surrounding Christmas need to be reexamined.  After all, Christmas isn’t the only thing celebrated during the time surrounding the first day of winter.  Why should any of us expect Christmas to outshine all the other traditions of the season?  In examining my expectations and rethinking everything else happening at this time of the year.  I’m hoping to relight that spark that gets extinguished so early in the season of light, hope, and love. 

Merry, Merry, Happy, Happy to you and yours.  May 2019 bring many good things into your life.