Sick of Christmas? Move It to June

Break out the burgers and fruit cake--why celebrating the beloved holiday in summer will help connect us to Christ.

This Thanksgiving, I saw an ad for Kohl's department store, announcing that they would be open early the next day. At four in the morning! At that point, I decided to throw my shoe at the television set. However, since it was my sister's television (and a plasma one at that) I refrained from any public display of anger. Besides, my nephew was in the middle of a sixteen-hour cartoon marathon, and I feared disrupting him, much as you would fear waking a sleepwalker.

As a Catholic priest, I like Christmas as much as the next person—maybe a little more. Only a Scrooge couldn't find joy in Christmas carols, Christmas cheer, and Christmas Mass. But as an American, I find the holiday has become almost an endurance test. Only a saint could maintain the patience needed to confront Christmas shopping, Christmas stress, and Christmas credit card bills.

I get tired of lamenting the same thing every year. So this year I'm taking action. Thus my modest proposal: Move


to June.

Here's my plan. First, we hand over December 25 to the corporations and let them have their way with it. Let Macy's, for example, tell us that the Christmas season starts not with Advent, but right after Halloween, since that's when they start decorating their stores anyway. Let Kohl's tell us that the appropriate way to begin



is not with the traditional evergreen wreath with four candles, but by camping out with surly crowds at 3 a.m. in front of their stores, so that you can buy an iPhone, or some other techno gadget you don't really need.

Give the corporations December 25. It will be our final Christmas present to them.

Then what? Well, the rest of us can celebrate what we could call New Christmas in, say, June. A useful model for New Christmas is Easter: minimum stress, maximum prayer. Easter catalogues do not sclerotically clog mailboxes in the springtime. Fistfights in overheated department stores do not herald the start of Lent. People don't obsess about how many Easter cards to send this year. When was the last time you heard someone complaining about pre-Easter stress, or having to attend too many Easter egg rolls?

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