The Case for Christmas

As a kid, I often fell ill the day after Christmas. The adrenaline of weeks—okay months—of excitement wore off, leaving me with a severe case of post-holiday flu. Lately I’ve noticed a new epidemic: pre-holiday flu.

“Christmas commercials, already?! Please!”
“How can Target sell holiday stuff? It was just Halloween!”
Translation: BAH HUMBUG.

I get it. If you’ve said such things, you probably hate the consumerism involved, not necessarily the holiday itself. But it’s not like figgy pudding is being forced down our throats. No one is dragging us blindfolded to red-and-green sales. And since when was commercial watching obligatory? (And seriously. Don’t Christmasy commercials beat belching frogs, miraculous dish grease removal and people texting each other hands down in coolness???)

As a potential remedy for the pre-Christmas grumpy phenomenon, I felt it necessary to share a few of its perks. (If this displeases you, please click the little ‘x’ in the top corner of this window and visit GrinchesRUs.)

Giving & Receiving. Christmas isn’t just a day, but a season meant for giving—regardless of our spiritual beliefs. Such giving need not correlate with pricey electronics, clothes or jewelry. We can give handmade cards, baked goods, poems, stories or the best gifts: our time, helpfulness and company. And getting these gifts is almost as fun as giving them.

Acting Like Kids. I had the opportunity to “be Santa for a day” on behalf of the USA network a few years back. (View clips from my Santa experience here.)  I can’t tell you how many adults turned into little kids with sparks in their eyes as they shared their wish lists or received a surprise gift. (And no, it had nothing to do with my short dress or gender. Pffft!) We’re grownups with grownup responsibilities all year long. May as well embrace every opportunity to de-mature ourselves and get giddy.

Stories & Imagination. Writers in particular should embrace the imagination, stories and magical nature of Christmas. A stout, bearded man visits every child on the planet to fulfill his or her wish. (But look out if you’re naughty…) Ghosts of Christmas past/present/future, flying reindeer, a man’s ability to shrink down and slither down narrow chimneys, a far off land filled with hard-working elves and, a woman birthing the world’s savior… It’s sci-fi, thriller, mystery, fantasy and, depending on your beliefs, historical fiction or nonfiction, all rolled into one.

Anticipation. Having something to look forward to rocks. It’s vital for happiness, according to Gretchen Rubin, the best-selling author of The Happiness Project. If the holiday sort of snuck up on us, we would miss out on all the fun involved with decorating, pondering gifts for loved ones, holiday tunes, the smell of pine needles, and so on. If you don’t have reasons to anticipate the upcoming holidays, seek them. 

The Importance of Savoring: A friend of mine had a huge wedding and said she was so stressed during the preparation that she forgot to savor the journey. The same could be said about the weeks and months leading up to the publication of our books… The journey can be half the fun, if not more. Best we make the most of it, stay mindful of its advantages and let it linger.

The holiday season is what we make of it. You’re creative… Make this one bright.

What do you think? Are you a grinch who clenches up at anything-Christmas? Do you think Christmas fervor goes on too long? Or do you embrace it?