Taking Christmas down is an endless topic during the month of January, especially for Americans.
Publications tout the “tradition” that dictate certain dates that Christmas trees, lights and decorations should come down. Others claim experts know the exact date of “Christmas removal”.
It is all hogwash. There is no such thing as “socially acceptable” Christmas removal.
There are, of course, many practical reasons to turn off the merry. Perhaps your tree is dead. Maybe you live under the contract of a home owners association.
But this idea that keeping Christmas up beyond a certain date is a completely false one.
In fact, if we are really holding to tradition we would never take Christmas down. Christian feast days, the traditional advent calendar and other ancient dates tied to Christmas mark the calendar year round.
Most Christmas decorations are considered secular these days and that means, at least in the eyes of those who create unwritten rules and live by the sense that they can tell others what to do, Christmas has to somehow halt.
This lends to an equally confusing conversation following Christmas every year: the Christmas blues.
Well, let’s reject it all, shall we?
If our pandemic-riddled reality of the past two Christmases has taught us anything about Christmas it’s that we just don’t have to do what we are told.
Remember what happened early in the pandemic?
That’s right, in the dead of winter the Christmas songs came back on the radio. Yes, the Christmas trees went back up. And absolutely, the lights turned back on.
Because Christmas feels good. It lights the darkness. It fills the soul with gladness. It’s medicine.
So why the rush to take it all down this year…or, dare I say it, ever?
I don’t like to use myself as an example of anything. But in this case I will.
My father died a week before Thanksgiving. I was living with him the last 15 months of his life. I never even got my tree up last year. I didn’t even visit my own home over that holiday season.
His passing was unexpected. We had planned to enjoy a rather festive season together this year.
So once we got past his funeral and all the other stuff associated with dealing with his passing my wife and I returned to our home. We didn’t even get Christmas up until about five days before Christmas.
Honestly, there’s no way I’m taking it down already. In fact, given my state of mind – especially in light of another Covid-induced lockdown – my Christmas is blissfully ignoring the fact it is January. Or February. Or March. In fact, it just might stay Christmas year round at my house. I have a lot of catching up to do here.
Out walking the dog today I noticed ours is now the only house still brightly lit in the colors of Christmas on our street. The wreath still adorns the door, the tree is still visible through the big plate glass window and the big incandescent lights strung along our big porch are still ablaze.
I love how it looks. It feels good.
I do not scoff at those who take their Christmas down. They have their reasons.
But I have mine. And I do not apologize for that.
You should not either.
We are, here at My Merry Christmas, year round celebrants of the season. For that we get called weird.
But that’s okay.
As the seasonal crowds depart this month we are left with a core community of others who shamelessly show up each day to talk about the stuff of Christmas that interests them.
I love that.
I love reading what the gathered folks on the Merry Forums have to say about all kinds of Christmas topics.
They aren’t weird for talking about Christmas. They are not out of line for enjoying something of the season when it is not the season.
In fact, I believe we should be encouraging folks to be talking about the stuff of Christmas year round. It is positive. It uplifts. It inspires.
Locally, we read of a group of folks up one of our mountain canyons who every year builds a giant 35-foot snowman near the highway. The open field they build it in becomes a welcoming playground where kids and adults alike can romp in the snow.
Someone put up a “Merry Christmas” sign near the Big Guy and it somehow all survives until the Spring thaw takes it all away. The newspaper interviewed one of the builders of the snowman and asked about whether the Christmas message was appropriate. The gleeful answer was that the message of Christmas is always appropriate.
Why does the media do this? Why do they feel to criticize Christmas in stores before November or Christmas music on the airwaves before Thanksgiving? Why are those who rip down the Christmas tree on December 26th applauded? What is the harm in the year round Christmas?
The truth is that it hurts no one. The truth is that some – especially in the media – will rail on the message whenever they want.
We do not have to accept it.
You do not ever have to take Christmas down.