But, December returned around early October. This year, I felt it start after Labor Day. Did you? And by December, I mean the sequence of North American holidays, national, folk, or otherwise that climax with New Year’s Day—the symbolic fresh start. The day we take a breather from the preceding three months.
I admit I’m a bit of a humbug. I truly dislike when radio stations begin playing Christmas music in November. Or when retailers discount their Halloween merchandise while simultaneously decking their halls with holly and ivy.
All of this is based on our collective appetite for buying things, the cadence for which is both stoked and satisfied by commercial enterprises. Perhaps this is the real War on Christmas people keep going on about: making the thing longer and more in your face.
Perhaps not. Could it be that all this is simply childhood impatience, not knowing how to separate anticipation from celebration?
And yet, maybe all this is simply our need for connection with one another, but manifest in the giving and getting of things. Whether it’s Christmas or Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Solstice or Saturnalia, this time of year is for celebrating our now. The moment we often cannot find other times of the year.
Call it a bright spot in the dark winter night, this time is about slowing down, not speeding up. The real challenge is not to sully it by thinking of ghosts of Festivus Past or Future. After all, the best present of all is the present.