Column: Nekrasov’s Notebook — Celebrating Christmas too early robs it of part of its joy
Rich green pine trees pop up across lawns. Strings of lights appear on fences, walls and staircases. Wreaths and red ribbons seem to materialize out of thin air on doors, candles wink in the darkness and tunes from “Jingle Bells” to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” suddenly seem to blast from every corner of campus.
Store shelves overflow with Santa hats, Christmas cards and paraphernalia without a moment’s notice, Halloween oranges suddenly transfiguring into Christmas reds and whites with all the wonder of a Hallmark movie descending upon the land.
‘Tis the season!
Except it’s not.
It’s Nov. 5, Thanksgiving is 23 days away, Halloween happened less than a week ago, but suddenly Christmas in all its glory has materialized from thin air – and it seems like every year it comes upon us earlier and earlier.
But when we usher in the Christmas season a full three weeks before Thanksgiving, we’re not just losing Thanksgiving — we’re corrupting the purity of the Christmas season and neglecting ancient wisdom from Solomon to Socrates as we violate the sacredness of the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas. Far and away, Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. There’s a child-like magic in looking around at a snow-covered landscape, Christmas music blaring in the background and reflecting on the fact that 2,000 years ago God himself came to earth as a baby to save us all.
As college students, we all long for little reminders of home. The stress of balancing college classes and social lives and work and all the other burdens we have leave us longing for a time when things were simpler, when we were just little kids staring expectantly at the beautifully wrapped gifts under a tree.
Christmas brings back that childhood nostalgia – and it’s a truly beautiful thing, reminding us of the simplicity of life in the midst of chaos and exams.
But some people look at that beauty, that magic, that sense of awe, and like a tidal wave, their memories of wanting to open their presents in their parents’ closets a month before Christmas Day come flooding back. They decide that because Christmas is so awesome, we should – in fact, we must – have it all the time. At the earliest excuse, Christmas trees go up and Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé start belting Christmas hits from every loudspeaker imaginable – just like those times when we hunted down our presents long before Christmas morning ever came.
But jerking our holidays out of their yearly orbit and replacing them with the one we love the most is like loving cheesecake and then deciding to make it the only staple of our diet. Nothing’s wrong with cheesecake, but if you have too much, you’ll regret it in the end.
We all love Christmas because it’s a magical time of celebration, but if we celebrate Christmas at the expense of Thanksgiving, we don’t just miss out on a holiday that literally lets us eat turkey all day – we prepare the way for a lifestyle where excess in all pleasures is our mantra. Before we know it we’ll be miles down the slippery slope of un-thankfulness and Thanksgiving will be confined to the footnotes of history.
If we choose to live in holiday excess instead of holiday moderation, we will reap the consequences in the end. Catapulting the country into Christmas season the day after Halloween takes all of the rhythm and balance of our holidays from Easter to Christmas and hurls our cherished traditions and holidays out the window.
Don’t exchange the beauty of Thanksgiving and Christmas in their proper times for a lie, for the chaos of a world out of rhythm.
As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” I implore you – keep the beauty of Christmas in its proper time.