"Happy holidays" says a voice on television and you and I both are wondering what the heck is going on? We don't celebrate holidays, we celebrate Christmas, the holy time in our Christian culture that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. How did we get to the "holiday season" when did all of this hijack one of the most important religious events of the calendar year.
It was sometime in the late fifties perhaps early sixties that we the majority began to realise that there were some people in our society who did not keep Christmas. The first use I remember of referring to the holiday season was by businesses. Money grubbing commercial operations who wanted to sell, sell, sell, to everyone. They are probably the same set of folks who came up with the idea of putting up Christmas trees in their stores in November and playing Christmas Carols over loud speakers.
Year by year the commercial world has aimed at expanding the prime business portion of the year, Most retail sales take place before December 25th each year and it is understandable that those who think of retail as their form of religion, that they would work feverishly to expand and capitalise on the Christian holiday.
Today as I walked through a drug store with discount sale signs on its Christmas goods I wondered to myself, What if there was no Christmas. We who celebrate Christmas because of its religious reasons, which have themselves expanded in time, absorbing all sorts of traditions from various cultures. What if we just took Scrooge at his word "Humbug" and we stepped back from it all.
The thought of even introducing the idea was particularly appealing because I have each year found it harder and harder to accept the roar of Silent Night in stereo from a hundred speakers on November 12th. For some years I staged my own resistance to it all by not doing any Christmas shopping until December 24th. That by the way, worked out pretty well and if cancelling Christmas doesn't work maybe that is the second best plan.
Think about it, why do we buy Christmas gifts for one another? Then we give into the practical folks who want to know "what do you want for Christmas?" and realise they have missed the point. I want gold, frankincense and myrrh, I want a smile, a warm hug and I don't feel like waiting in line to exchange things that don't fit.
Mass communications has brought this tiny planet and its six billion troubled souls together more and more each and every minute. That's why we have holidays instead of Christmas. The pressure of retail sales has done the rest. There really is no need to wish Christmas away so we can purify it, because it has already gone. Christmas is dead, long live the holiday season.