Okay, this idea might sound crazy. And maybe it is crazy. But hear me out, here.
Let’s make Christmas a year-round thing.
When my mother reads this (hi mom!) she just might throw a fit. “You shouldn’t play Christmas music until December 1st,” she would always warn me growing up, scoffing at the opulent displays of green and red and gold and sparkling silver that popped up in the windows of department stores downtown the second the cries of “Trick or Treat!” finished echoing on the streets. “It’s just not right,” she’d say.
She’s relatively unmoved by the trimmings of holiday cheer.
She still tuts her lips sternly at the first notes of “Jingle Bells.” She clamors to silence “Silent Night.” “Frosty the Snowman” strikes real fear in her heart.
Christmas is strictly a 26-day season in my house; December 1st through the 26th you can celebrate all you want. But my mother will be damned if our tree stays up to greet the new year.
More often than not, it’s on the street for the garbage collectors the morning of the 27th.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother isn’t any sort of Grinch or Scrooge. She loves the idea of Christmas; having her family around gives her more joy than anything else, and Christmas is a guaranteed home run of all three grown children under her roof with spouses and S.O.s in tow.
She just very firmly believes in keeping Christmas in its neat little December box.
I, on the other hand, am an enthusiast. From a young age I felt the need to don my gay apparel for this most sacred of days.
I’m gung-ho Christmas. I’m a Saint Nick supporter. I’m a veritable Sleigh Bells, Deck the Halls, Rudolf pep rally.
Every year, I celebrate like a queen.
Well, OK, I just celebrate.
It’s not just an early-winter passion for me, either. While I do love a good snow-dappled Christmas Eve wrapped in flannel in front of a fire as much as the next idealist, I can devour Christmas at any time of the year.
Literally and, of course, figuratively. Case in point: I sat on my deck this past July in the mid-summer heat, cicadas thrumming, pollen wafting–and blasted Christmas jams far into the night.
My mother hates my Christmas-mania, but I don’t just love it for the holly jolly music, the drifting snow and the razzleberry dressing.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love those things. But mostly I love people at Christmastime.
It’s something magical: The second the opening notes of Bing’s “Christmas Song” drift past, people become so much kinder. The smell of cut pine in the air can pretty much fix any given social issue; people show their appreciation for one another, they smile (showing teeth!) and they always hang up saying “I love you.”
And it’s all for Christmas.
This year, even just playing those Christmas classics in the dog days of summer pulled my roommates out of their busy work and onto the deck; we sat in a circle and laughed and shared fond memories of our own childhood Christmases–we never once argued about washing the dishes.
So no, I don’t want to wait until December 1st. I barely had the self control to wait until November 1st this year.
To have the Christmas spirit extend throughout the year would mend rifts, heal wounds, and prevent war (maybe).
Imagine getting that yearly phone call from your estranged sister living somewhere in some city hundreds of miles away not just because it’s December 24th and she’s moved by the holiday and familial obligation, but because it’s the middle of May and she was just thinking about you. Year-long Christmas spirit would do that.
Or think of picking up that book you saw your friend eying not just because you want to win the Secret Santa exchange, but because you just want to see him smile.
Or gathering around a dinner table with your entire extended family on a random night in August because you want to spend time together.
Christmas makes everyone a vigilante of kindness. We feed the homeless, give to the poor and hold doors for the elderly just because we feel inspired by a carol or a twinkle light.
It’s the power of the Christmas spirit. So why not start that in November? Or better yet, live it every month of the year?
Merry Christmas? No, merry life.