Well, it's taken longer than usual - I just noticed it yesterday - but nonetheless, it's apparently time for the "Christmas is too commercial/No one remembers Christ in Christmas anymore" people to start their yearly Crusade o' Whining. Everyone knows at least one person who feels the need to inform the rest of the world of these "facts" every single year. I will admit that usually I hear it around Thanksgiving. So I don't know if I haven't been listening, or if the Crusaders are just late getting started.
The reason these people drive me crazy, is because they imply that a) everyone feels the same way as they do, b) it's required that you agree with them, because of course, they are right, and c) they are unwilling to take any personal responsibility for the situation.
Here's what I think ('cause I know you're dying to find out). Christmas is too commercial, if you let it be. I happen to think that it is absolutely ridiculous, and should maybe be illegal, to start decorating for Christmas and selling Christmas stuff around the time of Labor Day. True, I have been known to purchase items for Christmas gifts throughout the year, but I put them away until Christmastime. And if we go on a trip, yes, I will look for someplace to buy a Christmas ornament, so that when we are decorating the tree in December, we can have fun remembering said trip.
But I don't actually start celebrating Christmas until Christmastime, which happens *after* Thanksgiving - which by the way, is it's own most excellent holiday. And because this is my personal policy, I tend to ignore the decorated stores, and radio stations that start playing Christmas carols after Halloween. I go along my merry way, enjoying each holiday as it comes along. It works for me, and to be honest, I don't really consciously think about it most of the time.
So it puzzles me why other people feel absolutely FORCED to accept the concept of an early Christmas season. Yes, the advertisers want you to do that, and try harder every year to get your attention. Because they are in the business of making you think/decide/know that you really want or need something, so that you will spend your money, and they will stay in business, blah, blah, blah. So all of a sudden, there's all this "pressure" attached to the holiday season.
The thing I find most ironic about this, is that these are usually the same people who regularly have no problem ignoring other things every single day of their lives. Like traffic laws. Or homeless people on the street. Or someone being cruel to an animal. They have no trouble cutting in front of others in line, because they are in a hurry, and their time is more valuable than the rest of us. But they are absolutely incapable of ignoring marketing that starts two months too early. How tragic for them.
On to people claiming that Christ is no longer the most significant part of Christmas. I have two responses to this statement. One is that, much like the marketers who "force" us to start thinking about Christmas in August, apparently people are forced to ignore the celebration of the birth of Christ as well. What a shame for them. To have no control over their personal beliefs and observances of holidays. If only the world would change so that their lives would be easier.
Secondly, I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of people who enjoy and/or celebrate Christmas - or more importantly, Christmastime - who don't believe in Christ, or are at best ambivalent about religion. I really don't understand why people are so threatened by this.
Personally, I do think of Christmas Day as the official celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Our Christmas decorations include Nativity-related items, as well as Santa, Rudolph, and candy canes. I enjoy religious Christmas carols as much as secular ones. I love to give people presents, and yes, I think it's fun to receive presents. I love that Santa Claus comes to our house every year.
It seems to me that there are plenty of people who aren't able to enjoy any holidays, for reasons that are actually beyond their control - poverty, illness, homelessness, hunger, to name a few. I think it is more than worthwhile to devote your attention to helping anyone in these situations, though I think that, like Ebenezer Scrooge by the end of "A Christmas Carol," it's important to keep this kind of "Christmas" in your heart all year round, not just at Christmastime.
But I'm not willing to listen to a privileged - or often overprivileged - person whine about how hard life is for them at holiday time. Because they do it to themselves, and only they can undo it.
I shall now step down from my soapbox. I apologize if anyone reading this has found it depressing, I certainly didn't mean it to be. I for one, am still having a wonderful Christmastime, and have every intention of continuing to do so!
In that vein, I feel that I must remind you that there are a mere FIVE days to go until Christmas! I'm sure glad I don't work at the North Pole right about now ...