"...'What else can I be,' returned the uncle, 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? ... If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, 'every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!'..."'Tis the season to be frazzled.
("A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens (1843) via www.gutenberg.org)
Advent is when some Americans max out their credit cards, buying presents and setting up holiday parties: while others kvetch over bright lights and holiday music played in stores.
I sympathize with pre-ghost Ebenezer Scrooge, to a point. My culture's Christmas season can be more hustle than holiday.
But I like bright lights, hearing "Jingle Bells" doesn't make me go out and buy stuff, and seeing inflated candy canes in these short winter days doesn't disgust me. At all.
Then there's anguish over greetings.
I like "Merry Christmas," myself: but don't go berserk when someone writes "Xmas."
Carefully avoiding mention of "Christmas" seems silly: considering the profusion of red-and-green store decorations, and recurrent "commercialization" rants online. This holiday is firmly embedded in my culture.
"Happy Holiday" covers the Advent, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Saint Sylvester's, and assorted other midwinter celebrations: and sidesteps angst over diversity, real or imagined.
"Happy Holiday" isn't entirely safe, though:
- "Happy" discriminates against people with mood disorders
- "Holiday" sounds too much like "holy day"
- "Winter" discriminates against folks living in the southern hemisphere
Where was I? Scrooge. Credit cards. Feeling frazzled. Right.
My household's yard isn't lit up with inflatable snow globes, plastic reindeer, and flashing LEDs; the family van doesn't sport a Christmas wreath; but if other folks like to light up the night — that's okay with me.
We're not supposed to be all alike, and that's another topic.
More snark and sense:
- "Advent, Seasonal Strangeness, and Me"
(December 2, 2012)
- "My Take on the News: Jingle Bells, Jangled Nerves, and Good Advice"
(December 16, 2011)
- "Why I Don't Go Ballistic Over Xmas"
(December 23, 2010)
- "Millions of Dollars in Decorations on a Tree: And a Tale of Two Camels"
(December 19, 2010)
- "Three Things That Go By the Name of Christmas"
(December 24, 2009)