Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holly Jolly Christmas

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Joyeux Noel! Have a Holly Jolly Christmas! God Jul!

Do you use any of those expressions this time of year? For years now the "War on Christmas" has been raging. Stores call their special items, like trees on which you put lights and decorations to celebrate on Dec. 25, Holiday items. Employees have been told they can say "Happy Holidays!" but not "Merry Christmas!" I agree with those who believe this is wrong and that it is an infringement of freedom of religion and free speech. However, that's not what this post is about. Not really, at least.

I am probably in the minority here. I am a Christian. I do believe people should have the right to say "Merry Christmas" if they choose to do so. I do believe that we celebrate Christmas as the Mass of Christ---a celebration and worship of the Lord's coming to earth as a baby so long ago. That's not what puts me in the minority, of course.

What does put me in the minority are these things. First, we chose not to "do" Santa Claus. We never told our kids that a fat man with a white beard, a red suit & deer would be bringing gifts. Which is really funny, because as long as my parents lived at Canyon Lake, my dad CLEARLY fit that description. He grows out a little mustache & beard just for Christmas. It's white. He has red shirts & a Santa hat. At the lake they always had deer in the yard (not reindeer, but deer still). And he is definitely a good physical copy of the "Dude in the Cherry Red Suit." We just didn't tell them that a MYTHICAL character was bringing gifts. Phil & I both loved Santa growing up, but he really wanted Christmas to focus on the Truth of Jesus' birth. As they got old enough to know about Santa, we did teach them about St. Nick, that many families chose to pretend that Santa was real, and not to bring that up to others. Of course, that led to problems because if Santa DID come up, they were honest. If someone asked, "Do you believe in Santa?" They said no. Which got translated into, "Your kids told my kids Santa isn't real." Both girls have said that they are glad we didn't do Santa (I've asked them several times), Natalie has a real disdain for the guy for a LONG time because she was always getting in trouble with others for not believing in him.

Next, you'd think that would mean we are the kind of family who bars all things remotely related to the frivolity of the season. That is the farthest thing from us! We (okay, the girls & I) LOVE the festive part of Christmas. Each girl has a little tree with ornaments she's been collecting through the years. With pink lights. Then we have a big (artificial---we have allergies) tree full of decorations. Yes, even some Santa ornaments. We love watching Christmas movies. I think Natalie has seen every Hallmark Christmas movie produced this season alone! We love a Charlie Brown Christmas & even Rudolph. Who wouldn't love a show about an elf who wants to be a dentist? LOL! Not "doing Santa" has in now way diminished the fun of the season!

That brings me to the third way I am probably in the minority: I really don't have an issue with Happy Holidays. I say Merry Christmas, but I don't mind signs that say Happy Holidays or people saying that. I DO mind "Holiday trees" and "Holiday ornaments" and such. That's just plain stupid. No one puts up a Kwanzaa tree or a Hanukkah tree! A Yule tree, perhaps, but not the others. No large chain store closes for the other holidays, either. They close on December 25th. Even so, the words Happy Holidays doesn't bother me. If you think about it, the word Holiday means Holy Day. So, those wishing you Happy Holidays are wishing you multiple Holy Days!

Finally, I really like Christmas music, and not just carols. I LOVE Christmas Carols. I love singing of the birth of my Savior and thinking what it was like for Mary and Joseph that night. What it was like for the Shepherds nearby. What it was like for the Wise Men who visited the child in his home later (you do know they didn't go to the manger, right?). But I also love hearing Burl Ives burst out Holly Jolly Christmas. Or Judy Garland singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I even like some of the newer songs, but you can keep "Last Christmas I gave you my heart." That has to be one of my least favorite EVER songs. I love thinking that somewhere someone is having a White Christmas or is going home for Christmas, if only in their dreams. And I laugh at "Mom & Dad can hardly wait for school to start again" since I homeschool my kids! This music brings back memories of Christmases past. We'll never have a Hallmark Christmas. We will probably never have snow in San Antonio in December. And only once every 20 years or so do we even get flurries that stick for an hour. But, I still like the music about such things! I don't think this makes me a hypocrite since the Lord created snow and families!

So, if you see me and want to say Happy Holidays, go ahead. I'll tell you Merry Christmas back, but I won't be offended. And if you want to tell me to have a Holly Jolly Christmas and to have a cup of cheer, I'll listen. Just don't try to hang Holiday ornaments on my Holiday Tree. THAT is a crime punishable by....something!