S. LaMere

It has come to that time of year already. Decorations have been put out, stockings have been hung, the snowflake sheets are on the bed, and the tree has been decorated and gleams colorfully in the corner of the living room each night. I’ve even had to drive through my first snowy road trip to Thanksgiving, white knuckling the steering wheel, saying a quick prayer every time an eighteen-wheeler flew past me, and slowing down every time I passed a car in a ditch.  My Christmas countdown is ticking away, and nostalgia tends to reign supreme. Since this Christmas is the first one that my husband and I will spend together as a married couple, we have been tirelessly brainstorming traditions to carry on together. One that did not need a second thought was watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I remember first watching it, sitting on my grandpa’s lap in Minnesota, watching the snow fall outside. The husband remembers it just being a part of his Christmas routine. It’s an iconic movie, bringing up the problem of the commercialization of the Holiday season, and even inspired a ‘Charlie Brow Christmas Tree’ for those hipsters who just can’t get enough of Charlie and Snoopy.  

Charlie Brown is depressed. The commercialization has become too much. Aluminum trees fill lots, waiting to be bought, and Charlie’s younger sister writes in her letter to Santa, “If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?”  Charlie Brown throws his sister’s letter back at her and storms off.  I think at one point or another, we all get exasperated about no one remembering the true meaning of Christmas, and people focusing more on the best deals to outdo one another during a gift exchange. After another Charlie Brown storm-out, Linus shares the biblical Christmas story, and the friends follow Charlie Brown to comfort him, and miraculously give the feeble Christmas tree a makeover.

Has Christmas and the holiday season become too commercialized?  It’s true that Black Friday now lasts a week, and especially at my age, is composed of working split shifts, opening a store on Thanksgiving, braving the crowds to go into work the next afternoon to clean up the mess of Hurricane Shoppers, and lots of coffee. Thank goodness Charles Schulz isn’t around to see how bad Black Friday has gotten, or the days of Cyber Monday… I’m sure he would have something to say about it through Charlie Brown’s crew. Yet in the spirit of giving, we survive the awful parking lots and traffic, suffer paper cuts o’plenty wrapping gifts perfectly, just to see the joy on our loved one’s faces? So, ultimately, commercialism or religion, maybe the real meaning of Christmas is to spread joy, and to be in loving company of friends and family. Happy Holidays, everyone. 

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