Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the Western world. While many may decry the commercialism of an event that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ (who wasn’t actually born on December 25), it is nevertheless a magical time of the year. It has gone far beyond its ancient beginnings as a Christian Feast day that rebranded the pagan winter solstice celebrations from pre-Christian times.
Christmas is a time to rejoice and celebrate with family and friends. Some thought and still think that the season’s spirited parties and resulting drain on our wallets is a bad thing. In England back in 1644, Oliver Cromwell tried to have Christmas banned because of the festive spirits. We’re not about to go that far today, but if friends or family get too festive with an excess of spirits then at least offer them a ride home.
Christmas holds many memories for me and most of them are happy. I proposed to my wife on Christmas and her acceptance was one of the greatest gifts I have received. This year my son Hunter turned three and is fully into the Christmas spirit. A heavy snowfall recently left trees, houses and the streets looking like a Christmas card. He looked outside and said, “It’s winter! Do I get gifts now?”
I laughed because the first thing that registered for him is the unavoidable materialism of the holiday. I took some time to explain to him what Christmas really means. That it is a time of sharing with family and friends. It is a time of helping out, whether it is Christmas dinner or for a person in need. It is a time of happiness and thinking of others and how much they mean to you.
He got the message and the spirit. I realized this when, the next day, he shared his tiny box of Smarties with me and said he loved me. Normally he never shares this special treat, but Christmas has the power to appeal to the best of our natures, even for a three-year-old boy. Taking the time to really talk about the holiday season, and seeing the effect it had, made this a special moment for me. The happiness that I saw in his behaviour and the glow in his face made me feel young again. That sense of wonder and so much more as seen through the eyes of a child is an early Christmas gift for me.
I encourage all parents to help our younger generation understand this special time beyond its promise of instant gratification. I know that there are many people out there who experience much less of the happiness and joy that I have been blessed with. The holidays can be a time of sadness, which is compounded by the constant expressions of joy during the season.
Like a child, we should open our hearts and let them know they are not alone, especially at Christmas. At Christmas that goodness which is inside of all of us is something to celebrate and share freely.
On behalf of all of us at the Nation I wish you the best and may you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.