Today was/is Black Friday and this year, for the first time, Ryan was outside of a store in the cold waiting for the doors to be unlocked. We went to Lowe's for a purchase that can't yet be revealed, but she stormed the doors with the rest of the mob and got not only the high ticket item she had her eye on but also a gift for her brother and one for her dad as well. And tomorrow, we're decorating for Christmas.
I love Christmas. The tree, the tinsel, the lights and bells. I love Christmas cartoons and songs and tacky reindeer sweaters. I love all the winter holidays. Hanukkah cookies in blue tins, hot latkes with cold sour cream, Adam Sandler telling people to drink their "gin and tonica". All of it. What I don't like, and what really wrecks the holiday spirit for me, are the people who get militant and bitchy about it.
I hate when people get mad at the term "Happy Holidays" because somehow not excluding everythign but Christmas is detrimental to Christmas. I hate gas station signs declaring that "Jesus is the reason for the season!" (Actually, scholars pretty much agree that Jesus was born in the spring and that the celebration was only moved to winter to make it easier for Romans to convert to Christianity without giving up their winter holidays. So, technically, Saturn [god, not planet] is the reason for the season. But I digress.) It bothers me when people get so superior about their religion that they declare it the only valid reason for celebration. Nativities on courthouse lawns followed by outrage at the thought of a menorah sharing the spotlight. Parents upset because the school performance included Frosty The Snowman and not Silent Night. Christmas is no longer just a vicarious birthday celebration. It is now more representative of what Jesus preached than of the man himself. It's about peace on Earth, generosity of spirit (and yes, of gifts too), and time spent with family, about forgiveness and togetherness. And maybe, just a little, about the look on an eleven year old's face when the guy in the Lowes vast opens the doors ten minutes early.