I've noticed an interesting trend happening lately in the social media world that I've come to dub as holiday shaming.
Over the past couple of weeks since Halloween, I've witnessed a large number of people going insane -- I mean, losing their mind insane -- over the mere presence and mention of anything to do with Christmas or holiday related items, whether it be the hanging of a wreath, to radio stations playing Christmas music, to stores decorating for the holidays, but especially, friends posting their own holiday and Christmas decorations on Facebook and Instagram. And those poor folks? Those poor guys are taking a beating.
Lately, I've read comments on pictures that have been posted by those who've decided to start celebrating Christmas and the holiday season to include:
"Are you serious? Christmas decorations already? Um, hello crazy! We're not there yet!"
"Maybe you're too dumb to read a calendar, but it's just November."
"So disrespectful and rude!" (Made in reference to a picture of a wreath hanging on a friend's front door)
Aside from my sheer disbelief that anyone could be so riled up over something so silly, what baffles and upsets me more are the responses from those being trolled. These people are taking down their decorations, turning off their holiday music and deleting their festive photos. What's worse, they are apologizing -- yes, apologizing -- for simply exercising their right to celebrate what they believe and the ones who stand their ground and post pictures anyway feel the need to preface their photos or shares with comments like, "I know, I know, Christmas is still a month away" or "Don't judge" or worse, "Okay you guys, don't get mad at me but I was so proud of myself for making our wreath that I wanted to share this picture!"
Why are we doing this to each other?
I get it. Christmas can be materialistic. The meaning gets lost in the commercialism of it all. Let's get through Thanksgiving first.
I hear you.
I truly do.
How is someone else's joy in celebrating the holiday season (And it is a season. That's important to note. November through December is technically the holiday season) impeding on your life? How is someone's choice to hang a decoration here and there affecting what you believe and how you carry on your day to day life? So your neighbor sets up and decorates their Christmas tree.
So what? Whatever happened to the simple concept of live and let live?
Here's a little confession for you guys: When we set up our Christmas tree last year, I kept that baby sparked up until the end of June. Why? Because it made me happy, it made my daughter happy and it brought joy to our home, plain and simple, and I make zero apologies for it because here's the thing...
I never wanted that good feeling to end. Yes, in the times we live in, the holidays can be stressful and consuming but I've often found far more joy in the holiday season than bad. It's the one time of year where you can actually see the good in humanity. People extend beyond themselves to reach out to others and often times, you will witness many a "Christmas miracle."
I love the joy and wonderment in our children's eyes as they marvel at all the season has to offer but most importantly, the season centers me and makes me feel whole as a human again. It does, it really does. I'm reminded of how eternally blessed I am and how I have the opportunity to bless others' lives as well. It is truly a miraculous time of year.
Honestly, with everything going on in our world today, couldn't we all use a little more joy and peace on earth? I think so.
Do you want to know what I think? I think we are a country full of people just looking for any reason at all to be offended. I think there are people everywhere who crave an opportunity to complain. I also think we are bogged down and overrun with bullies.
That's right -- bullies. Holiday-shaming bullies.
I take nothing away from those who feel the celebration of Christmas shouldn't begin until December, I really don't. You're entitled to believe and practice what you want. What I do have a problem with are the actions these same people take in making others -- who have the right to celebrate when and how they choose -- feel bad about themselves and their choices and quite honestly, if you're one of the Judgy McJudgerson's reading this who think it's fun to holiday shame, you should probably know that your actions of anger, judgment and belittlement towards another say far more about you and your character than the people who choose to celebrate.
To those of you who are currently celebrating the holiday season I say this: Wave your Christmas flag high and proud. Slap up those wreaths and blast that Christmas music. Bake 'til your little heart's content and whip out those holiday crafts with the kiddos because really, what you're doing shouldn't matter to anyone else but you, and your actions are hurting no one.
More importantly in your joy of celebrating the holiday season, don't forget to...
Share the true meaning of Christmas with those you love and those who might be a little harder to love. Donate to the less fortunate and give to those in need. Volunteer your time and resources to an organization in your community. Feed a hungry family. Provide toys and clothing for Christmas morning for children and families who are less fortunate. Visit the elderly and the sick.
Revel and immerse yourselves into the true meaning of the season because trust me, our country can use all the love you have to give. To quote the Vince Guaraldi Trio:
"Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year..."
This post originally appeared on Shiraz in My Sippy Cup.