So…are YOUR Christmas decorations still up? Today I turned on the radio hoping to bask in the afterglow of a beautiful Christmas, only to be bummed out by the fact that my local “Lite FM” station has ceased playing “holiday” music. Should I mention they began playing carols on November 10th?! My own opinion is that Christmas music should begin right on (or just after) Thanksgiving and continue until at least New Year’s Day.
I also read a blog today by a person who takes down their Christmas decorations on December 26th and refuses to play any holiday music after midnight! What’s up with that??
I admit that I also have a tough time with the fact that Christmas is being commercialized several weeks before Halloween, and today, a mere 24 hours after December 25th, the stores are already erecting Valentine displays. I recall the days I would shop on December 26th to get my Christmas wrapping paper and such at half price. Last year I went out on December 27th and all the Christmas “goodies” were gone!! The store personnel informed me that the “sales” had taken place the week BEFORE Christmas!!
As all my regular readers know, I am a Catholic and find value in my religious traditions. For most of my life, my family has observed the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and the entire 12 days of Christmas. We place our Advent wreath on the First Sunday of Advent and decorate progressively throughout the following four weeks. We take our decorations down AFTER the Feast of the Epiphany (a.k.a. “The Three Kings”). However, there was the year I had my hysterectomy in December and we were still sweeping up tinsel on Valentine’s Day!
Several years ago, we visited my husband’s sister in Arizona at the end of April. We had travelled across the country to be there to support her during her husband’s funeral. We were quite surprised to see that her Christmas tree and village were still on display. It turns out that his illness had prevented her from the “luxury” of dismantling the decorations. Strangely enough, the presence of those joyous trappings led us to long discussions about the most recent holiday and all those in the past. The presence of the creche somehow brought comfort in a time of great sorrow.
This year I a have been pondering several homilies and articles I read during this past Advent season. They emphasized how important it is, in a religious sense, to make every day Christmas. If I truly believe that Christ is ALIVE, in and among the the People of God, then His spirit is continually being born in us each day!
So, to paraphrase Joshua, “as for me and my house,” Christmas carols are acceptable any time of year and we will continue to wish “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” for at least eleven more days! Come to think of it, since our temperatures here in the Midwest are currently below zero, and our outdoor manger scene is frozen solid, we may still have our exterior decorations up until Easter!! In the meantime, “Merry Christmas, Everyone!”