It’s that time of year again. The snow falls gently, beautiful twinkling lights decorate trees and homes……and everyone seems to have an opinion and a list of rules on how everyone else should celebrate ‘the’ holiday.
I don’t know about anyone else but I’m quite over this.

Can’t we just all agree to disagree and move along?

Perhaps I was once a young, naïve preachers kid, but when I was growing up Christmas was such a magical time and I don’t remember such ridiculous banter. My mother would decorate the house with these amazing Nativity murals, we would participate in Christmas pageants, Cantatas, and attend beautiful candle lit Christmas Eve services. Our tree always went up after my sisters birthday (as not to distract from it) and as we got older, we started holding birthday party tree decorating parties that were quite fun.

On Christmas Eve, I would always beg and plead to open ‘Just ONE present’ because I knew that this was a tradition in the homes of my other friends. My parents would always gently remind me that we celebrate Christmas differently than others. That we had our own traditions and it could wait until the morning after Santa Claus came.

That’s right. I may have grown up under a Christian roof, but Santa came to my house too.

No matter what the holiday we took bits and pieces. I still went out for Halloween, heck my parents had fun dressing up too!  It wasn’t forbidden for us. It was a night of imagination and candy, not devil sacrifices and witchcraft.

The point I am getting at with telling you all this is that every family is different. I have Christian friends who grew up without Halloween and without the Easter bunny etc…. and I understood that because I was taught that not everyone is the same or celebrates the same. I had non-Christian friends who didn’t go to church and didn’t celebrate Christmas with the nativity like I did, but loved the carols and Santa Claus and the general wonderment that is the Holiday Season. AND SHOCKER, we were still friends (and are to this day!)

We always compared notes on the playground. We were never too upset or offended if someone got something better than us.  Oh sure, we were envious, but that feeling would quickly pass and eventually would be forgotten all together. Oh Cindy got a Nintendo and I got a Keyboard? Great. Play dates at her house with video games and play dates at mine and we’d be rock stars. It didn’t matter.

It just seems now a-days everything has to have a rule. I blame social media for this. Everyone wants ‘their’ way to be the right way and we can now get our point across with memes, statuses, tweets etc..

Oh the memes…. Don’t do this, this and this. We can’t say Merry Christmas, or heaven forbid someone says Happy Holidays. How dare they call it a Holiday Tree when it’s a Christmas Tree (Do NOT get me started on the origins of the tree!!!!) Let’s not forget the ones that tell people ‘Don’t buy stuff for your kids’ ‘Only things from the heart matter’ (Like going out of your way to buy that toy your kid has begged for all year isn’t from the heart?)

Why can’t everyone just take a deep breath and practice something that we teach our kids.

Respect one another.

It’s that simple.

So what if Mary wants to put her tree up in October? It’s her house. It may be her tradition. She may even have reasons for it. Have you ever asked her? Why does Mary need to follow your tradition? She’s not your family. She’s her own person. I’m pretty confident Mary can figure out her own holiday just fine.

So what if the store labels the ‘Christmas trees’ as ‘Holiday Trees’? You want to play semantics? They’re freakin’ Balsam Trees, Pine Trees, Spruce Trees and some of them are just plastic recreations.  Just because it’s labeled one thing in a store or on display in a park doesn’t mean some spell has been cast on it and it must ONLY go by that name. Only you have the power to refer to what it is called in your own home.  Have you ever adopted a pet and changed its name? I did, my boxer pup was named Tiny, he’s now Otis. (and that’s a family pet, not a symbolic tree that will become mulch or go back in a box in a month!) In the end the name of the tree doesn’t matter, it is what in your heart and in your home what that tree represents.

So what if Michael is getting the newest gaming system from Santa? Maybe Michael was a good boy this year who earned himself a spot on the nice list. It’s what HIS family tradition is. If you don’t like what Michael’s parents did, then don’t be at their house on Christmas morning and teach YOUR traditions and values to your kids. So you view that big ticket item as the child being spoiled, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Michael’s family aren’t full of philanthropists, so why judge?  Use this as a teaching moment. “Well, in our home we signed up for the more practical Santa gift package…….”  Or even better…. how about teaching the children not to compare themselves to one another? Or not to brag? Or….Or….(see where I am going here)

You know what I tell my kids when someone got a better gift then them?? “We stay thankful for what we have and not compare ourselves to others.” You know why? That is what my parents taught me. I may not have fully understood this as a kid, but eventually I grew up.  When it comes to my kids, I also make up ludicrous excuses about Santa and why he does what he does in our home. Why? Because in a few years they will know the truth about Santa and none of that will matter. In fact, it will make a ton of sense.

Okay, so Martha wished you a “Happy Holidays” but you think she should’ve said “Merry Christmas” (or vice versa) and now you’re offended. Why? Whether she celebrates Christmas or not she said something nice to you. Isn’t the polite thing to do is wish her well back? Than you say “Merry Christmas” (or whatever seasonal greeting you wish) and call it a day. There doesn’t need to be an argument about it.

I have my beliefs. They are deeply rooted beliefs, but like I said I also have friends from all walks of life. None of us ‘OWN’ this planet or this beautiful time of year. It’s always been referred to as the Holiday Season, as Christmas is NOT the only Holiday taking place. We have Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas…. non-religious or traditional celebrations with friends and family. Why must we continuously battle about this? If we are ever going to have Peace on Earth then why not start with this time of year? Let’s stop the war on Christmas and the Holidays by starting with ourselves.  Call a truce and end this madness.

I don’t know about anyone else but I would just rather everyone be happy and feel fulfilled in their own way then argue over semantics about the season.

I was raised to love thy neighbor. I was taught to respect one another.  I teach these values to my children. These are values being taught across the board by all walks of life.

This general sense of entitlement that has taken over this planet has to stop somewhere.

I don’t own a holiday. I celebrate MY holiday and its called Christmas and no one can or will take this away from me. I believe in it that much.

No matter what you believe and whether you agree with my thoughts or not, I hope that whatever you celebrate (or don’t) that the upcoming season is full of Hope, Peace and Joy for you.