It is popular to rage against the rising tide of Christmas themes, complaining that its advent is earlier and earlier every year. I have my doubts that this is true. Over fifty years ago, my sister and I frequently spent a cool day in July planning our Christmas activities and igloos for the upcoming December. I was not then alive to any particular background of commercial activity, but I suspect the fixation wasn’t reserved for a discrete week or so before the Big Day. This year the obsession with consumption is pumped by the recent downturn in the economy as retailers scramble to secure a hold on the limited discretionary capital. This focus is balanced by the now equally fashionable move to limit such expenditure and to limit debt obligation generally. Either way there is still the motivation to discuss the holiday season.
As hardened as one might wish to appear about all things Christmas, it is nonetheless virtually impossible to avoid its infection and persuasion. Like it or not, Christmas is still about matters spiritual, about the imagination, about childhood, about giving and generosity, about family. In a nutshell, Christmas is about hope and fantasy. My thoughts still come alive when I contemplate the effect of Christmas lights and wreaths, trite as they may be on one level. If nothing else, the holiday is an enforced retreat from our pressing worries. As my mother is won’t to say, “What’s not to like!”