Is it too early for Christmas?

 

 
beautiful-christmas-tree

As I sit here this evening with Christmas music playing softly in the background, I realize that I may ruffle a few feathers when I say what I’m about to say. Since the advent of the Christmas season (ha ha) seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year, there is no doubt considerable backlash from various sources–mostly through social media and around the water cooler. “Don’t celebrate Christmas until Thanksgiving is over!” and “Give Thanksgiving a chance!” are some battle cries I often hear. It has caused me to consider both sides of the argument over the past few days, and I think I have two–no, three!–reasons why I fall soundly in the “celebrate early and often” camp.

First, the practical reason. Christmas is a lot of work! Fun and lovely and magical though it is, there is no getting around the reality that dragging a considerable amount of decorations and possibly rearranging a large part of the house is no small task. Even if you are just a ‘Charlie Brown Christmas tree’ decorator, there is effort involved, and I for one like to enjoy the fruit of our labor for more than just a few days. This year, too, Thanksgiving is quite late in the month, which leaves less than four weeks between the two celebrations. Personally, I like to be able to have the house decorated long enough to become sick enough of it in order to want to do all the work necessary to take it all down and put it away for yet another year. And lastly, the kids love it. They have never once asked us if it was time to “get rid of Christmas” in all the years that we’ve had children, and are usually the opposite. “Is it time YET to decorate the tree?!”

But that doesn’t speak to the “problem” of Christmas music, however, and that so many people have a problem with it playing as early as November 1. First of all, I humbly ask, so what?! If you don’t like to listen to it, change the station. With all the options out there for musical avenues, a person could quite literally go the entire season without turning on the “Christmas stations” even once. Or, on the flip side, with media like Pandora or Sirius XM (…or CDs, or cassette tapes, or 8 tracks…), a person could listen to and enjoy “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” in the middle of July (or so I have heard…) There is little argument against the music beginning ‘so early,’ in my mind. If you don’t like it, don’t listen. But I love it, and though I don’t really care for our local radio station that only seems to have a tight rotation of a mere 15 Christmas songs, I can easily get my fix from the Pandora station I lovingly created myself.

On a more serious note, though, it got me to thinking beyond the commercialism of Christmas and the “Buy more, more, MORE!!!!” aspect of the argument. I don’t deny that it’s there. It is rampant. And if I had more bravado, I would write my personal manifesto against ‘the wish list’ and all Christmas gifts, but that is a blog post for another day. Beyond that, however, there can be so much more. Christmas doesn’t have to be about getting and amassing stuff, and truly, it shouldn’t be. Despite what anyone or anything has tried to change it into, that wasn’t the true meaning. Maybe someday, Christmas shopping will begin in mid-August, and we can all rail against the evil corporations. (I’m not interested in starting the discussion about paganism and the origin of the tree, etc., etc….that’s not my point, either.) As I have chewed on this, I have come to the conclusion that in our home, even if we begin our Christmas celebration early, we are not automatically bypassing or ignoring Thanksgiving. On the contrary, if we are living life with a grateful heart every single day, from the realization that we woke up to live another day to the setting of the sun and all the moments worth our gratitude in between, every day can be Thanksgiving. Why do we have to stuff it into such a short box of one measly month? For people with an appreciative heart all year long, early Christmas isn’t infringing on thankful time–it’s an extension of it. I want to live such a thankful existence that every day is Thanksgiving, and Christmas is a welcome addition to the mix.

I have a long way to go. While I know I am a blessed person indeed, I don’t always remember to voice that thankfulness in everything I do and say. My kids are watching, however, and that character quality is quickly caught but sluggishly taught. If I can have them catch the attitude of thankfulness, their contentment will skyrocket and their attitudes will improve, just like my own. We are all works in progress, but I simply cannot expect that maturity in my kids before I demand it of myself.

So this holiday season, if you struggle with whether to decorate early or wait until the “conventional appropriate time,” remember that “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I don’t worry about “early Christmas” anymore; I enjoy both Thanksgiving and Christmas for the joyous and wonderful time they are…together.

Now, if my kids could only convince me to start making Christmas Crack before December 1, they would be soooo much happier! I’m thinking I need to stand firm on this one, though…

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