December 1998

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Despite the lack of snow, it’s become quite obvious that the holiday season is upon us.  Carols are played incessantly on the radio and in restaurants and stores.  Colored lights and garlands of fake greenery can be seen everywhere.  Santa Claus has become a resident of every major shopping center in the area.  And to go along with all the festivities are the inevitable, seasonal complaints about how Christmas is too commercialized.

I think it all started a few weeks ago with my mom whining about the Christmas decorations being abundant even before Thanksgiving.  Then some of my Jewish friends got into the habit of groaning every time we drove past these so-called “Christian ornaments.”  Why, they wondered, was Hallmark glorifying my holiday and not theirs?  A direct contradiction to that came from the devout Catholics in my Thursday-night religion class: “The true meaning of Christmas is being forgotten,” they insisted.  “The holiday is about Jesus, not Santa.”

Sorry, but I have to disagree with all of them on this one.  The most important part of the holidays shouldn’t be when the season starts, what religion the public focuses on, or what the reason for all the show is; those things are too personal.  The best aspect of the season is the spirit that accompanies it.  I know how cheesy that must sound, and I promise I’m not a representative of a major greeting card company; just let me explain.

The other day, for the first time in however many years, I read one of the greatest literary classics of all time, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  And I found a substantial lesson in it: even after the Grinch has taken away all of the poor Whos’ presents and feasts and decorations and hidden them atop a mountain, they still join hands all around the entire globe and sing.  Even without their “Christian ornaments,” the Whos are happy just to be alive.

I’m sure tha not all of the Whos are Christian in the story; some are probably Jewish or Muslim or atheist, but that’s the whole point.  The joy of the season brought all the Whos together, without segregating based on religion or means of celebration.

Such is the way the season affects people.  If we in Del Mar can enjoy winter without the traditional “white Christmas,” then certainly the holidays aren’t all about the abundance of colored lights and garlands.  There’s no reason for anyone to complain; just take it with a grain of salt, sit back and enjoy the festive scenery.

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