In my opinion, Christmas is the saddest day of the year. Not for the stress and the phoniness that tends to invade the season. Not for the depression that some experience or the melancholy that some exhibit. No, I think Christmas is the saddest day of the year because of all the build up.
Let me explain: from early November, right after the Halloween spirit tapers off, we are bombarded with Christmas – stocking stuffers, ornaments, gift cards,etc. Then Christmas tree lots start popping up all over the place. Even on the national day of giving thanks, what do we do? Watch the Macy’s Christmas Parade. Now, it’s a countdown to the big day. Everything goes on sale – from running shoes to electronics to that one toy that you can’t find anywhere. Christmas parties and Santa exchanges are held, potlucks are scheduled and poinsettias are used to decorate every square inch of office space. Then the countdown goes hourly. We bake cookies, set out reindeer food and try to sleep, only to get up in the wee hours of the morning, tear open the gifts and do what tradition dictates – in my family’s case, watch TV, eat, call family and do nothing.
It’s a festive day, yet it’s a sad day. What’s left after we’ve done all that? An empty Christmas tree that we will soon put away/throw away so we can return to our ‘normal’ lives.We forget the good cheer and charity, glad Christmas comes only once a year, because the holiday has been so hyped up, we’ve crashed when the moment passed.
What if we let the momentum take us past December 25? What if, instead of clearing out tree, we leave it right where it is to remind us of the season – of the day Christ was born and in that, salvation for mankind? What if we left the lights up to prompt our memories of goodwill? What if we gave gifts, not just that one day, but always? It doesn’t have to beexpensive electronics or the latest footwear. Sometimes it’s just 66¢ so a lost soul can get a hamburger to eat.
Christmas shouldn’t end on Christmas morning. It shouldn’t be something that lets up as the clock clicks away from December 25. Build it up, hype it up – certainly it’s a reason to celebrate – just don’t let the celebration end.