I am the queen of Christmas Spirit. The tree goes up Thanksgiving weekend. I sing Christmas songs from the moment the radio starts playing them. Full afternoons are spent baking cookies. Visits to see Santa. Driving around to look at the lights. The 25 or so days leading up to the big one are filled with anticipation, magic, and excitement.
So can someone please explain to me this idea behind being a Christmas Grinch? It seems every year a group of people surface who try and ruin it for everyone else. They say things like, “You shouldn’t let your kids believe in Santa” or “How about you don’t buy people gifts at all?” Are people really deriving joy from stepping on someone else’s Christmas spirit?
Give Me All the Decorations
Every year, the seven or so large plastic tubs migrate from the basement to the main floor for an extensive decorating process. I have décor for nearly every room in the house, including the bathrooms. I string lights outside even when the weather is not ideal, though I try and plan ahead for one nice day even before the turkeys are roasting. And although I have more than my fair share, I still take a trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland to get a few new things.
Although I trim several artificial trees, I also buy a real tree every year because that’s what we did growing up. Sure, it’s a lot more work than some plastic needles on a toilet paper tube. Daily, I boil a big pot of water and nearly scald myself trying to pour it into a basin underneath the eaves of a sap-laden tree only for those needles to fall away from their branches within a few weeks like pine-scented confetti. You best believe that I’m not Clark Griswolding it through the forest to find the perfect tree. There are kind people who have done the work for me and will even give it a fresh cut before I take it home.
Now, as much as I love my Christmas decorations and enjoy them throughout the month of December, come New Years Day I pack it all away, turn the outdoor lights off, and the home is back to normal. Just because I’m crazy about Christmas doesn’t mean I need it to last into March. Come on people, just unplug your outdoor lights. Don’t be a lunatic.
Yes, My Kid Believes in Santa
Here are some common reasons I hear to be anti-Santa:
- You’ll spoil your kids.
- It gives them unrealistic expectations about how life works.
- The idea of Santa is scary.
- I hate Christmas.
To which I reply:
- You are the Santa, so you’re in control. My Santa doesn’t have millions of dollars for presents or time to fill stockings with plastic garbage. So…he doesn’t.
- Unrealistic expectations about what? You know there’s a time when you have to tell them Santa isn’t real, so I surely hope they aren’t expecting the big man to show up after they move into their own place. If they are, I hope you have a big ladder.
- The idea of Santa is what you make it. If you make it seem creepy, then that’s what it will be. But if it’s coated in magic, that’s all your kids will know.
- I can’t help you with this one, Scrooge.
The True Meaning of Christmas
In my experience, an avid Christmas naysayer argues that the true meaning of Christmas is gone. They say people have strayed too far from the original meaning of Jesus’ birthday, or being with family, or giving to those in need. Frankly, there are a lot of people who are taking those pieces and turning it into the ultimate definition of Christmas spirit.
I’ll be the first to admit that my church attendance record is non-existent. But I do know the importance of recognizing the “reason for the season” even if I don’t walk through the doors of a sanctuary. I try to find other ways to celebrate this aspect of the holiday by participating in other things. We go to see a live nativity, which tells the story of Christmas, at a local church. Interspersed with Jingle Bells, we sing the traditional Christmas hymns. We make it an important part of our celebration even though we don’t attend a service.
Giving back during the Christmas season is one of my favorite parts because it gives us a chance to help others and to express gratitude for all that we have. Sharing my joy with others either through donations or deliveries is something small I can do to brighten up someone else’s season.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, just know I’ll be cozied up in my pine-scented home, watching the marathon of “A Christmas Story” for the 32nd year in a row, and gobbling down sugar cookies because that’s how I like my Christmas. I won’t trudge all over your jack-o-lanterns, Easter eggs, or Shamrock Shakes, so kindly don’t stomp all over my Christmas spirit.