Thanksgiving in the United States is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This year, it will be the 23rd. This holiday begins what has been known my entire life as The Holiday Season. Seriously. My entire life.
In 1997-ish, the credit card company for which I worked suggested that, instead of saying Merry Christmas to our clients, since they hailed from all around the country, we might say Happy Holidays. Not because anyone who isn’t Christian might be offended, rather as a way to be all-inclusive, no matter the client’s beliefs. To show each client that they were individually important to our company. It made sense to me, even as a sheltered Christian, simply because Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year were all smashed together on the calendar. I wanted my clients to enjoy *all* of the holidays! It is, after all, The Holiday Season.
In recent years, it has felt to some to be disrespectful to Christians everywhere to say anything other than Merry Christmas. Why? Because someone wrote a book declaring that there was a “War on Christmas”.
Meanwhile, I went to dinner last night and, throughout the complex where the restaurant was were Christmas decorations. Colored lights in the trees, giant reindeer made from white lights, even Christmas music playing on the outside sound system. Thanksgiving is next Thursday.
As the years go on, Christmas “begins” earlier and earlier, invading more and more of The Holiday Season. Years ago, radio stations began playing only Christmas music on December 1. For the past few years they start the day after Thanksgiving. Soon, I’m sure, they will start the day before. Decorations start going up in the shops beside Halloween costumes. “Black Friday”, for some retailers, is every Friday beginning with the last Friday in October. This year, that was before Halloween.
Memes on Facebook show a reindeer eating a turkey with a pumpkin-handled fork, wearing a Santa cap, with the caption: “Merry Hallow-Thanks-Mas!” It is starting to feel more like an attack by Christmas than an attack on it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Christmas Spirit! Our children are grown, and they still believe in Santa Claus! I love the lights and the reindeer and the cheer and the love and the family, and everything it represents for me as a Christian. I also love Thanksgiving for the same reason. I’m even learning to like Halloween, due to some incredibly creative ladies that I work with who have given me a new perspective.
My point is this: Even as a Christian, I see that The Holiday Season has become The Christmas Season. But, you know, not everyone is Christian. Just like not everyone has brown hair and hazel eyes, like I do. I can’t “convert” them to brown hair and hazel eyes, nor would I want to! I appreciate the beauty of black hair and brown eyes, or blonde with green, or purple hair with blue eyes; just as I appreciate my friends who celebrate other holidays around Christmas.
From a Christian perspective, I recognize The Holiday Season, and wish all who celebrate Happy HOLIDAYS! From a human perspective, I honor those who celebrate differently. I treasure the diversity of other beliefs. I treasure those I love, no matter how – or if – they recognize God. AND, I think each holiday, however one recognizes it, should have its own month. As Thanksgiving doesn’t invade Halloween, nor should Christmas invade Thanksgiving (or Halloween!). So there. 🙂
In 1997, my manager asked that we honor individual customers by not shoving MY holiday down their throats. I understood that. In 2017, can we honor each human being by allowing them to celebrate how they choose, without hating that it’s different than the way we choose? I promise your Christmas won’t be diminished by wishing someone a Happy Chanukah!
In this, the Holiday Season, I wish you all…
All the love,