Thoughts on holidays

It’s the holiday season. Halloween is over, and now it’s time for…Christmas? Wait, isn’t Thanksgiving up next? You wouldn’t know it from walking into a department store. You wouldn’t know it from the advertising. What happened to Thanksgiving? Where are the handprint turkeys and pilgrim hats? Why is it already jingle bells and trees that look like the glitter fairy threw up on them? When I was little, it would have been considered scandalous to have Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, and now they’re up before Halloween in some places. I’m already expecting the apparently requisite annual editorials claiming there’s a war on Christmas to begin cluttering the news feed any day.

Yes, Virginia, there is a war on Christmas, and that is it. In what some people claim is a “Christian nation”, there are no longer any sacred days, and the words “happy holidays” have nothing to do with how we got to that point. Wishing others well is in keeping with Christ’s teachings at any time of the year, and whining that someone did so makes it hard to take seriously. No, the problem is that we’ve taken a day dedicated to the birth of one of the least materialistic people ever, and created not just a day but an entire season of commercialism and excess. “Then, at the end of the Jesus birthday season, we have the nerve to have an economist come on TV and tell you how horrible the Jesus birthday season was this year [and] hopefully business will pick up by his crucifixion.” [1] Every time you or I stress out over shopping, obsess over sales or new products, or share that video of people getting trampled in stores that you think is “funny”, we’re making it worse.

I, for one, will stick to celebrating Christmas on December 25th. Call me a Grinch if you want, but I won’t be spending extra money just to participate in a massive project to carefully recreate the Christmases of baby boomers’ childhoods[2]. One day is enough. However, before then, I will take the opportunity on November 27th to give thanks, regardless of what is fashionable in modern holidays. I give thanks often, but I feel it’s worth it sometimes to step back and consider just how truly fortunate we are, and to appreciate all the things we take for granted. I give thanks for many things, but here are a few that may be relevant to this forum.

I am thankful for the freedom of religion. No government or law may dictate to me what I believe in or how I choose to exercise that belief, be it by wishing others a merry Chistmas or erecting a Festivus pole. I grew up in a Christian family, but I could never imagine denying my friends their faith for no other reason than the chance of having been raised in a Jewish or Muslim community.

I am thankful for the ability to participate in the civic process, and have a voice in how my country is run. I am thankful for the freedom of speech that allows me to speak my mind in ways that would not be possible in dictatorships or theocracies.

I am thankful for the fellowship of those in this community whom I have come to know, and who have improved my life and others’ through their constructive ideas, positive words, and kind actions. I came (back) to politics reluctantly, but have found amid the drama people whose company I do enjoy, whom I never would have otherwise met.

And then, on Nov 29th, I hope to be thankful for a Georgia Tech victory over UGA. Sorry, folks, but it’s true!  ;)

I wish all of you happy holidays in the coming weeks, whether it’s time for Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Years / etc. Stay warm!

[1] – Chris Rock, Nov 1 2014, SNL
[2] – https://sslimgs.xkcd.com/comics/tradition.png