Well the holidays are here again, and this farmer is going to make a decree that hopefully you can all agree with. I do believe that the time has come for us to... “take back Christmas!" There I said it! First, let me start by saying that whatever religion you believe in and whatever traditions you enjoy participating in this time of year, I am all for it and think it’s great! And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas in a religious fashion, how about helping to try to bring back just the “spirit of Christmas”?
It seems as if for the most part, we have turned into a collective mass of bodies filling the malls and big box stores, desperately searching for just the right gift, which ends up usually being made of plastic, metal or glass, and typically originating in China. This is of course after we have driven around the parking lot for a half hour, having other drivers yell at you while trying to take the same parking spot. How that is supposed to signify Christmas is beyond me.
It also appears as if “political correctness” has taken its toll on Christmas as well. Now with the risk of offending anyone in this country, just the mere mention of the word “Christmas” sends school districts, and local city councils into near panic mode. No longer can we have Christmas parties, vacations, presents, or what have you. The new term is now... “winter”. Winter breaks, winter dances, etc…and that’s not even mentioning what decorations can be used in public spaces anymore, like at a "winter dance". Mangers out, crosses out, even angels are now getting the boot from public displays. The craziest though, has to be the school district that banned the use of red and green icing on “winter cookies” due to the close association of the colors with Christmas! Bah humbug indeed. We have even had to learn to modify our behavior this time of year. Gone from the lips of many is the old popular greeting of “Merry Christmas”, which we have had to change to the more neutral “Happy Holidays”, in order to make sure we are inclusive of everyone who might be celebrating “other” holidays. Were non Christmas celebrating people really that offended by people saying “Merry Christmas”? Honestly, even if you don’t believe that Christ was born on December 25th, and even if you don’t believe in Christ at all, I would like to think that most people got the point of the greeting that suggests; “during this special time of year in December, we hope that your days are filled with good stuff and good times.” Seriously, it’s not that difficult. I myself, would not be “put out” and apt to correct someone if they said to me “Happy Hanukkah”, and I’m not even Jewish. I would simply understand that to a Jewish person, they are merely expressing a sentiment that means something to them.
I guess what I don’t seem to grasp, is why we have decided to overly complicate something as simple and as beautiful as a day…one singular day of the year, set aside to commemorate (even if to you it is just symbolically) the birth of a deity? And it doesn’t even have to be Jesus. Take your pick. If you do a little reading you will find that according to either records or myth, Krishna of India, Mithra of Persia, Horus of Egypt, Buddha and host of others were all born on December 25th.
We have even managed to “stress ourselves out” up to a whole month ahead of the day itself. Just after Thanksgiving (and now even on Thanksgiving Day) people stand in line for hours and sometimes even overnight, in order to be able to buy up those “door buster” items on “Black Friday”! And just to add to the stress, we can't help but to "over do" everything during the holidays…we over eat, over drink, and really over spend! Which of course causes us to continue to be stressed out come January when it’s time to get back to the gym, as well as take a good look at the credit card bill when it hits the mail box…ouch!Whatever happened to the simpler Christmas? The one filled with fun, frivolity, and good cheer? Peace on Earth and good will towards man? I think this year…we take it back.! I know it can’t happen all at once. But for the sake of the "ol' Christmas spirit", why not try, even if just a little? If you’re not a “Christmas person” and someone says “Merry Christmas”, don’t be offended. Just smile and say “thank you”. And if you are a “Christmas person”, don’t be afraid to say “Merry Christmas”. Instead of trying to “one up” your relatives on Christmas Day with who gave the better gift, how about keeping the gifts smaller, and just “being” with friends and family, visiting over coffee and good food? Donate time or gifts to a shelter, charity, church or a needy family. It would certainly go a long way in “making spirits bright”. If you celebrate the day for religious reasons, remember what the day is for. And finally, be good to yourself. Don’t over stress about the day, because Christmas was never meant to be about what you did or didn’t give or receive under the tree. Like life itself, it’s about the time, love and attention you give to the people that matter most.
I’ll see you in the groves and... Merry Christmas,