Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays verses Merry Christmas/My Thoughts

Well, today is Christmas. Throughout the holidays, every year for the past few years I have been hearing about the "Holidays verses Christmas" argument. A part of me can understand this. "Happy Holidays" does sound rather politically correct, in a way. Yet, at the same time I prefer "Happy Holidays" to Christmas, before Christmas and after.
The reason for this is that from Thanksgiving until Elvis' birthday on Janary 8 I spend time listening to Christmas music. I love listening to Christmas records while I sit at the sewing machine making Christmas presents for friends and family. I am poor, so none of these gifts are anything extraordinary. I always try to put as much love in these gifts as I can. I just think about what everyone needs, look around my sewing room to see what I've got and if I need to add more I just buy the missing items. This year I didn't do this. I allowed politics to get in the way. I feel rather guilty about this. I really feel bad that my mom made a beautiful quilt that matches the colors of my living room. All I made for that side of the family is I took my grandpa's old Navy blanket, cut it up and made wool scarves for everyone. Woo-hoo, lots of effort there. Next year I will get back to making better presents.
To me Holidays is that time leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Pesonally, I think saying "Merry Christmas" should be used only on Christmas Eve/Day. Those are the days to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We should all celebrate Jesus 365 days a year. But my point is that the use of Christmas not on Christmas dilutes the "Spirit of Christmas." Holidays is a mix of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years. It's a long season of giving thanks to God. Plus going to church, hearing the music and message about Jesus' birth and connecting with those in the community during Christmas Eve services.
After a long absence from church I attended Christmas Eve services. I grew up near Flint and attended Christmas Eve services at First Presbyterian Church. Since Flint is a big city many of the churches have different times for Christmas Eve churches. We would always attend the eleven pm services. After services we would drive through the rich neighborhood in Flint, just off of Miller Road, and see the lights. Since I live in a small town now each church only has one service on Christmas Eve. None of these are at eleven or midnight, not even the Catholic Church has Midnight Mass. If the local Catholic Church ever has Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve I will go there on Christmas Eve. There is a certain feeling of being in church during that transition of Christmas Eve to Christmas Day that can not be explained.
Now of course ya have thee day of the Holidays, Christmas! This is Jesus' birthday. When I was a kid it was about what presents I would get. Now that I am older it's so much more than that. It's about spending time with the ones you love and care about, to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Some of us are unable to be with the ones we love, but give them a call and talk to them. I always love to imagine the looks on my families' faces when they get one of their homemade gifts. I listen to my Elvis records and other Christmas music, remembering all the Christmases of past.
The Holidays should not end as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Christmas. There is still a feeling in the air. I keep this feeling until New Years. New Years is a time to reflect on the good and the bad of the previous year and think about how to change the bad and repeat the good. Perhaps I am weird. But I still like to listen to Christmas music, even after Christmas. Some people take down the Christmas decor right after Christmas, others wait until New Years . As an Elvis fan, I do like Elvis did. I wait until his birthday on January 8. I never want this feeling of the Holidays to end.
In conclusion, keep the feelings of the Holidays even after today and wish someone "Merry Christmas" for the remainder of the day. After that wish them "Happy Holidays." On New Years wish them a "Happy New Years."

Merry Christmas Y'all, from Michigan Redneck, from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan!

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