Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a chain of mattress stores that runs a promo nearly every year called “Christmas in July”. Now, I’m a Brand Strategist and Designer, and I work with a lot of retailers. So I’m pretty familiar with commercialism and materialism; and in most cases, I’m ok with it. But “Christmas in July”, I think, has to be the most blatant commercialism of Christmas I’ve seen, associating Christmas with the sale of a product during a season that has nothing whatsoever to do with the celebration of Christmas.
Having said that, it does bring up an interesting issue; one that I wrote about in January of this year. So this “Christmas in July”, I thought I’d revisit my post from January, just as a reminder:
How many of us watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special every year? And how many more just enjoy the Vince Guaraldi music from that special? In his song, “Christmas Time is Here” there is a line that says, “Oh that we could always see such spirit through the year.” There’s another song in my rotation called “I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas” by Jon Bon Jovi. And I’m sure that there are many more with similar sentiments that we all sing along with, fully entrenched in the Christmas spirit, and think, “Yeah – I wish every day could be like Christmas, too.” The warm, fuzzy feeling that we have at that time of year; the open-heartedness; the willingness to reach out to, and care for, and love our fellow man -- I know that that sounds sappy and sentimental now that we’re out of the Christmas season. But really, what’s so crazy about that idea? If we can be that way at Christmas (or Hanukah, or Kwanza, or Ashura, or Solstice, or whatever you choose to celebrate this time of year), what is stopping us from being that way all year? It’s amazing how temporary that feeling is for most of us at Christmas – how quickly that feeling goes away, and we settle right back into our routines and our self-centeredness.
When we think of January, we tend to think of the New Year, and of resolutions. How many of us make resolutions that have anything to do with reaching out to other people like we did at Christmas? I’m guessing not too many. Resolutions tend to be about losing weight, reaching our financial goals, quitting smoking… which are all good things, of course. I’m just struck by how quickly we return to thinking about “me, me, me.”
So this week, I’d like to suggest a different kind of resolution. What if we resolved to show our Holiday spirit all throughout the year? What if we reached out to our fellow man, and showed compassion, and understanding, and respect to others every day of the year? What if we focus our attention on how much we are alike with the people around us, rather than how we are different, and we deal with those people with love rather than fear? It may sound sappy and idealistic, but I can live with that. I’d rather live with that than the alternative. And I’m man enough to be sappy and sentimental and be ok with it. I’ve had great role models - a Captain, and a Master Sergeant just to name two.
So… remembering the best of Christmas, and of ourselves at that time of year, I wish you a Merry Christmas in July to you and your family. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all men (and women).