As you read this it will be just two days before Christmas.
Yes, I said the "C" word.
I celebrate many things during this season and I think of the whole time from Thanksgiving until after New Years as the holiday season.
I am not bothered by whatever the merchants use to promote their biggest sales period of the year. The commercializing of this time of year should be separate from the many religious and cultural celebrations that happen during this season.
I do not love my fellow man better because I received a bunch of gifts from my family and friends. Oh, I do love getting cool stuff, but we could move this buying holiday to any other time of the year and it would be just as fun.
As a society, it seems like we step up and give more charity through December than the rest of the year. It is great to help out with warm coats, blankets and food to those in need. But the call for these basic items doesn't go away after December. These things and companionship are just as needed, if not more, after the holidays.
These are tough times for many of us and the outlook for the next little while is not promising. Even if giving is down this year, I know many have reached as deep into their pockets as they can. The community giving and my own family traditions are what make this season special for me.
We have begun making donations to different charities in the names of our family members instead of exchanging gifts we don't really need. We have enough stuff.
So let us not get stuck on what the business community chooses to say to make us feel welcome in their business. Many are trying to be inclusive and are not saying Happy Holidays as an attack on the religious day that falls in the middle of this all.
I feel it is my job as a parent to instill the meaning of Christmas (or Hanuka or whatever) in the way I want it taught to my kids, not the local Wal-Mart or Mervyns. I do know that Christmas for me is not about a 2 a.m. shopping spree to load up a cart full of stuff the day after Thanksgiving.
So anyway, I have rambled on about this long enough. My ability to speak my piece about religion in this paper is a freedom I do not take for granted. The fact that our merchants can also make the choice about how they choose to promote their sales is also nothing for us to sneeze at.
I am thankful for good friends, wonderful family. I am blessed to have much more than just a roof over my head and food in my belly. I use this season to count my blessings and try to make things a bit better for others I may not even know.
I hope that the season is a good one for everyone and that you all keep the holiday spirit far beyond the end of the year.