So here we go, ace! Here are some real world, multi-partisan, trans-denominational, hyper-humanistic suggestions and quick fixes that would ameliorate, alter, and save the greatest retail seasonal day ever (while possibly generating a cavalcade of new traditions and TV specials).
1. Move Christmas to February
Jesus can share his birthday with Lincoln and Washington, and we can extend the holiday cheer two more months throughout the bleak midwinter. This way we all stave off the post-New-Years-when’s-the-next-holiday-blues. This will also give us two extra months for savings! And between the new Presidents/Christmas holiday and spring, it’s only like eight weeks! We could keep the Christmas/Winter break vacation AND keep Presidents’ week vacation as well. Wins wins.
2. Forget the gifts
I would LOVE Christmas if it was like Thanksgiving—family getting together to eat and drink and then eat pie. That’s it. No gifts, no stress over being “thoughtful” for the people in your life. Don’t get me wrong—I love being thoughtful. I just can’t be thoughtful about everyone in my life all at once while rushing through the mall, hoping that my $15 gift bought at the last minute is special enough to warm the heart of someone who already loves me. I just can’t do it. Maybe if it were one gift per person, either homemade, drinkable, or something they specifically told me they needed. Moonshine would cover all of those categories.
Ok, you’re getting moonshine. All of you.
3. Let’s start a new holiday that will actually save the world
I will call it “New Xmas” and instead of getting gifts for people we know, we will ONLY get gifts for strangers in need. Everyone will be assigned a homeless shelter, family and school in need, and forest to help (you know, buying a tree to put back in the ground rather than the regular Christmas tradition of throwing away non-recyclable paper as soon as you rip it off the plastic-wrapped gift).
So whatever you were planning on spending on regular Christmas, you could spend on New Xmas. This could all be done anonymously for various reasons. No tax breaks, assholes. And if you wanted to help a family in another way other than gifts, so be it (helping someone find a place to live or a job or goods). “X” would mark the spot for true savings.
Let’s save each other, shall we? We have enough to go around, right?
4. Reverse Christmas
Between Halloween and December 25th, we would spend as little as possible and only focus on getting out of debt. Then come December 25th we’d all meet at our favorite stores and buy something (just something small and nice) only for ourselves (and maybe finally order that sushi boat for dinner that we’ve been thinking about getting for years now).
We combine Halloween and Christmas, and on the big day (date pending), you get tricked or treated based on your outfit (and possibly your good deeds for the year), which you have spent all Fall and early Winter preparing for the big day. Each neighborhood will get a list of possible gifts to purchase for whomever shows up at your door, and you get to give said gift if you decide that the costume on the neighbor at your door is worthy of it. If not, then you get to keep the gift and “trick” the neighbor at your door by stating “maybe next year” and then shutting the door.
Good luck with borrowing their snowblower come January.
6. Animal Christmas
We all adopt unwanted animals as our one gift and/or go vegan for the Christmas season. At the end of the season you can go back to omnivorism but you have to keep the adopted pet(s). If you don’t want a new pet or to go vegan, then you can celebrate by focusing on another helpless and domesticated population of your choice.
7. The All-In-UU-Santa-nalia-MythMas
…as in we rewrite the “Christmas” story to represent all (and I mean all) the “Christmas” and “holiday” stories including made-up stories featuring magical babies, reindeer, misfit toys, and latest YouTube and Meme trend-Christmas-tie-ins. This would combine all of history’s myths, religions, traditions, and current saccharin cultural tales tied into this magical season.
All of them. Get ready for the true tale of a baby elf born on a foreign planet sent to Earth to teach us what giving or retail is all about, and so forth. This could get interesting. Doctor Who Christmas specials would have to take the lead on this one, as they are the one true guide of all-inclusive Christmas specials.
8. Just make it a Winter thing
More than half of the “Christmas” and “holiday” songs are about Winter and food and family and making out, so let’s cut the facade and make Christmas just a Winter thing, or at least keep playing the Wintery Christmas songs until late January.
Lights, songs, warmth—these are winter themes, not Christmas themes, right? Evergreen trees are popular in winter because, well, almost all the other plant life is dead. So All-Winter-Solstice-Mas it is. Or something catchier. Someone tell Sufjan Stevens, as he will be our official first artist in residence.
9. Get rid of Christmas all together
Let’s face it: the people who really really really celebrate the real reason for the season are the true non-gift-crazy Puritans who celebrate baby Jesus and grown-up Jesus whenever they can. They don’t need Santa to help with their cause. The rest of us are celebrating a made-up day when we buy that one big gift—and a sprinkling of other gifts—we’d probably save for a birthday or, you know, never. It’s a holiday that demands that if purchasing was spread evenly over the whole year, and we liked seeing our family more, retail wouldn’t need the get-in-the-black Friday to even out sales and “save” businesses (including Mobil and McDonald’s who love our travel holidays).
Just go see your family or buy someone something nice every now and then, or don’t. No need for the big narrative and soundtrack behind it.
Now pass the pie and moonshine. It’s time for a holiday.
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This essay originally appeared on Nerdy Dad Shirt.
Photo: Stéphanie Kilgast/Flickr