Trent Ernst, Editor
It’s now less than a month until Christmas.
It’s amazing how fast that happens. It seems like just a week or so ago we were commenting on how nice the weather was and how long the snow was holding out for. Now there’s a ten foot pile of snow in the Shop Easy parking lot, the sledding hill is open and in the distance is the whining buzz of a snowmobile.
This is, I have said before, one of my favourite times of year. The world is wonderful after the first few snowfalls, before settling into the icebox of January and February.
The next few weeks promise to be busy ones as well. We’ve come through the craft sale and 10,000 Villages, but there are still the Christmas parties coming up, the Shopping Blitz on Nov. 30, and all the baking and preparations and then suddenly, it’s Christmas.
Christmas is a time of high stress and anxiety for many. Instead of being the most wonderful time of the year (as we are assured by the songs that drag themselves out of the woodwork for a month and a half), it is one of their least favourite.
When I was younger, I made a conscious decision not to let Christmas become something that I loathed.
To a large extent, the solution to that was to avoid the overt commercialism found around the Christmas season.
This is not anything new. Charlie Brown lamented that Christmas was too commercialized back in the 1960s (and, as we learned last week, basically killed the market for aluminium trees; fortunately manufacturers quickly discovered plastic trees didn’t suffer the same stink of consumer culture and now that’s a billion-dollar a year industry).
I grew up on these and other anti-commercialism messages, which were interrupted every 15 minutes for, you guessed it, commercials. So it should come as no surprise that I have a rather confused relationship with both Christmas and consumer culture in general.
For years, I refused to buy into the buying season of Christmas, which meant I came across as little more than a tightwad who wouldn’t get into the Christmas Spirit.
But I celebrated Christmas in my own ways. For many years, I would spend Christmas Eve sleeping under the tree. This tradition lasted until my wife decided that it was too much hassle to haul the mattress out from the bedroom and there was no way on earth that she would sleep out on the couch, and thus a fine Christmas tradition came to a inglorious end.
I would also try and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas at least once. Though I have memorized Luke 2:1-14, there was just something magical about the way Linus responds when Charlie Brown cries “isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Nowadays, I find that I actually enjoy the whole giving (and yes, getting) of gifts. Not so much for the spending of the money, but I love it when I can get something for my wife or kids that really blows them away.
With less than a month to find the perfect gifts for my family, I think I’ve got this whole gift getting thing well in hand, leaving me to spend the next month focusing on spending time with family and friends, and discovering, once again, the true meaning of Christmas.