It seems like everywhere I turn these days Christmas has already arrived. The stores are full of decorations and toys and gift ideas . . . . I confess I feel overwhelmed. Magazines are full of gift ideas. My kids come home from school everyday with some type of Christmas benefit we could/should contribute to. While I admit to a certain love of Christmas music - and I would listen to it all year long if my family would let me, and must also admit that I'm kind of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas.
The power of marketing behind Christmas is poisonous, it lets the media and the stores have the last say in what our holiday should look like - without giving us room to breathe, to think, to reflect about what Christmas could mean without all the hoopla.
Some of my friends are all to familiar with my rants about how our community goes all out to care about the needy children/homeless families and the hungry during the holiday season. Don't get me wrong - I agree that hungry, homeless people need help from the community - I just feel that that help should be freely given all year long - not just during the holidays.
I do think the holiday season is a bit magical. Twinkling lights, the promise of gifts to be unwrapped. The smell of the pine tree, all of the cute handmade ornaments. I love to bake during the holidays - the kinds of treats we only make once a year. I love to see the snow fall on Christmas Eve. I can remember the excitement of Christmas when I was a kid. I get it, really I do.
Except, I can't help but think what would happen if we only celebrated Christmas for the month of December. If no one bought presents before then. Or mailed their Christmas cards. Or decorated their homes or stores. Would we run out of time to find the perfect gift, the perfect tree? Would I appreciate Christmas music more because my time to enjoy it was fleeting?
I know, I know. Many of you are shaking you heads at me. How could you possible make Christmas perfect in only 25 days? Maybe we can't. Maybe, rather than searching for the perfect gift, the perfect tree, the perfect tradition, the perfect holiday - we would be left with our imperfect selves. Would we have to give more of ourselves to our friends and family because we couldn't buy the perfect holiday? Would we really get to know one another, warts and all? Would we spend more time laughing and loving and sharing because we weren't worried about the money we weren't spending? Would we reach out to our community because we weren't so busy shopping and wrapping and trying to by each other's affections? Would January 1st be happier without the thought of the credit card bill arriving in the mail?
Christmas probably wouldn't be perfect - but I'm not sure we should expect it to be. Gifts given and received should be done joyfully, from the heart. I can't wait for December 1st!