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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ave you ever had one of those friends who bitch about Christmas being ‘too Commercial,’ complains about all the presents they have to buy, or whines about corporate involvement, yet is not a devout Christian, so when they talk about getting back into a ‘traditional’ Christmas, you know they’re not talking about the three wisemen? These people drive me a little crazy. If you’re missing some spirit from your Christmas, then reclaim it. Don’t just complain that it doesn’t exist any more.
If you were a North American kid in a family that celebrated Christmas, chances are you grew up with a distinct awe towards the magic of the holidays. An awe towards those flying antlered quadrupeds, led by a glowing red nose, dragging behind a sleigh filled with toys. A big man in a brilliant red suit who can squeeze down any chimney — even when there is no fireplace — and who leaves toys under the tree you were delighted to help decorate. The Christmas spirit was all about the sheer joy of the impossibilities of it all.
As you became older you began to learn the truth, often from friends at school, (thanks alot, Todd!) that beloved Santa is really your parents. If you were the eldest sibling, like I was, you kept it a secret because your parents asked you not to ruin it for the others. While you may have privately scoffed at the idea, you enjoyed the attachment to the magic that was sadly now starting to fade.
I can justify the experiences spent in the company of friends who bring back the nostalgic holiday magic for me.
As you continued to grow, you began to learn the commercial side of the season: buying and giving gifts, you couldn’t just make gifts at school any more. You learned that the image we use for Santa was created by Coke, Rudolph was created by a department store advertising copywriter, and most of the jingle-style songs were written by people who often didn’t celebrate the season but we’re producing content to fill their pockets. Yet, you retained that little bit of magic in your memory. Every time you heard a kid talk excitedly about Santa, experienced a night of perfect snowfall, or witnessed joy in someone’s face as they opened a gift, you would feel that Spirit of Christmas.
And that’s my point. Yes, It drives me crazy to see Christmas products on sale before Remembrance Day. So, now I don’t shop at those businesses in November. Luckily for me, grocery stores seem to hold off a bit better. I also have all but stopped buying gifts for my friends and most my family. I’m a student, I simply can’t justify spending money on stuff, though I can justify the experiences spent in the company of friends who bring back that nostalgic magic for me.
This season is my favourite. I love the lights, I love bringing my Christmas tunes out, I love my Santa hat that I wear specifically from December 6 to Jan 6. I love, love, love that my friends and family get chances to come together, share stories of the year, and be merry.
Over the years I’ve learned that making your own traditions is one of the cool things about being an adult. I chose to celebrate Christmas as a season, a chance to spend time with people I love, be a little sillier, be a little more merry, and let the magic of my inner childhood take over. If you brooded over how this past Christmas had become too corporate, maybe next holiday you should put down the credit card and take everyone out for a walk in the park, or a board game night, or make dinner even if it’s just Kraft Dinner. Just believe in magic a bit.