Oh, the holidays.
That time of year when Starbucks cups turn red, Christmas carols play on loop and curmudgeons come out of the woodwork to decry rampant commercialism.
Christmas is nothing without its traditions.
One social custom that has become an annual occurrence is the existential crisis that at least one person or group of people has over an issue that they believe has jeopardized the meaning of the holiday season.
This has included pressing questions such as ‘Christmas lights: waste of energy or essential ritual?’.
Another favoured controversy being bandied about over glasses of eggnog is the debate about whether wishing one another happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas infringes upon the rights of people who prefer one phrase over the other.
We would venture a guess that here in Central Alberta, most people wouldn’t bat an eyelash if you wished them ‘Happy Holidays’, ‘Merry Christmas’ or even ‘Good Luck with Boxing Day Shopping’.
Most people wouldn’t comment because they are polite, tolerant and open-minded. All attributes that embody the Christmas spirit that naysayers say we are missing out on by being creative with our seasonal greetings.
The ‘holiday season’ has come to mean different things to different people.
And that’s okay. We live in a country where the right to celebrate or ignore holidays is protected. So, in the spirit of live and let live, the following are suggestions of ways to spend your time this holiday season.
Christmas is a great time of year to give back and there are lots of ways to do it. Give to your favourite charity. Volunteer to serve dinner to those who are less fortunate. Shovel your neighbour’s sidewalk.
Another option during the holidays is to spend time with your family. Listen to your grandparents’ stories, play board games with your siblings and volunteer to clean up after dinner so the family chef can have a break.
And of course, for Christians the world-over, Christmas remains a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Churches are pretty welcoming to those who would like to join in on Christmas services. This time of year also coincides with the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, the African-heritage celebration of Kwanzaa, and Festivus, the anti-commercialism tradition made popular by an infamous Seinfeld episode. Whatever your beliefs may be, the holiday season is a fine time for ritualizing.
So, this Christmas, this Hanukkah, this Kwanzaa, this Festivus … you do you! Let your holiday spirit lead you where it will, whether that be to midnight mass, the food bank, or the movie theatre.
Happy holidays, Central Alberta.