I believe you when you say you love Christmas. You love the lights on the trees, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and Starbucks starting to smell like eggnog. Even as the temperatures drop, you feel warmer on the inside knowing that another year is ending.
December becomes a stress-buster when you realize that you’ve survived yet another year. It’s also the time of inconsequential reflection on how you’ve grown, and a time to comfortably decide on your clichéd New Year’s resolutions. However, the real clichés are the days leading up to the holidays, stuffed fit to burst with decorations and celebrations.
The lights on a million Hastings Street avenues, stocking caps stuck on most stores, and music that sounds like it belongs in a hotel lobby — all appearing a month or more prior to Christmas. All of it makes me say “WYD?” to every Santa lover. Maybe that seems self-contradictory, but hear me out.
If the holidays are a month away, you might want to start thinking about it approximately two weeks before. Little delights are defined by their short-lived nature (unless you’re going to Los Cabos — then you can think about it all year, boo!). Initiating celebrations way before their time sucks the charm and excitement out of the upcoming occasion.
December for me started becoming a banal, mundane month every year, because the decorations are a constant reminder that life moves in preset patterns, whether or not you’re ready to move on to the next stage. With your surroundings covered in aggressively cheery hues of red, green, and gold, you feel constantly attacked and out of place for having gloomy days.
The environment demands that you feel ecstatic for an entire month, but it doesn’t really work that way. It’s just forced happiness, which raises questions about how our society celebrates. That brings me to one particular word I have for all you Santa lovers, accusatory though you might find it: authenticity.
Christmas is for families, for sitting by the fire while you drink some hot chocolate, for everything that is genuine. Yet our beloved malls take advantage of it to allure and manipulate us. They need you to give in to their consumerism and start contemplating what gifts you’re giving and getting two to three months before the occasion — all while forgetting that your mother would have appreciated you calling her twice a week to talk to her far more than she would a Tag Heuer watch this year.
In the glitz and glamour of what Christmas is portrayed to be, we ignore the real essence of why we celebrate it in the first place. We start to associate this festivity with materialist notions, and I’ve seen an overwhelming number of holiday interactions based around luxurious indulgence and nothing else.
The magnificent exhibition of lights in your front lawn, laid well in advance, becomes a more common way to communicate with your neighbours than simply knocking on their door. But there’s more to the holidays than that showiness.