Christmas Holiday Traditions

Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus’ birth with various secular customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals. The date as a birthdate for Jesus is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth. As the autumn breeze blows summer away, the fall leaves begin to drop from the trees and everyone begins to bundle up and prepare for the chilly weather. The color of the season turn to bright orange, a golden yellow, browns and reds as everyone begins to prepare for the first days of autumn and Halloween. And yet, right there on the shelf, next to the jack-o-lantern is Santa himself.

What has happened to the holiday traditions? For the sake of commercialism, stores now decorate the shelves with Halloween candy and Christmas stockings. It was once customary to allow each holiday it’s own time for celebration and merriment before allowing the next to breeze into the markets retail aisles. Gone is this policy and in its place is a department store crammed with Halloween decorations, turkey platters and artificial Christmas trees. It is as if we are in the fast lane of holiday celebrations, how long until commercialism combines them into one giant event.

I remember the fun of seasonal shopping, anticipating the arrival of the Halloween costumes, candy, ghosts and goblins filling the aisles and the shopping carts, undisturbed by the Thanksgiving turkey or Santa and his elves. Happy Halloween was not seen on the same aisle as Merry Christmas, because the two holidays were never being sold at the same time. Some Stores held onto custom much longer that their competitor’s and did not decorate or sell their Christmas specialties until the day after Thanksgiving. It was impossible to buy a cup of Christmas blend until the early morning hours on the day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza, while on the way to see the Christmas decorations at Nordstrom.

It once was a time-honored tradition that the phrase “Merry Christmas” was never seen or heard and Santa absolutely never arrived at the malls until after the turkey had been cleared away from the Thanksgiving table. Why has the need to increase sales and generate revenue forced us to sacrifice the pleasure and joy found in celebrating each and every holiday? You do not have to see Christmas decorations or hear “Merry Christmas” to purchase Christmas gifts, so why the need to bundles holiday sales into one bulk shopping experience?

In our house, we still recognize and celebrate each holiday as it arrives. In the fall we celebrate the seasonal change by picking apples and hosting a neighborhood cider press party, making cider from freshly picked apples. In October we decorate and prepare for a large Halloween party filled with ghosts, goblins and skeletons. In November we gather around the table to give Thanks for the years blessings and in December we welcome the Christmas spirit inviting friends and family to celebrate a Merry Christmas together in our home.

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