Christmas, as Andy Williams sings, is the most wonderful time of the year.
As Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf might ask, doesn’t it “sit on a throne of lies?”
Santa Claus is a myth. Rudolph was created by a sales and advertising team. A few scholars debate the historical existence of Jesus. Same for the details of Hanukkah’s origin story. At least historians agree that Saturnalia was quite the party before it got swallowed up by Christmas.
Overall, our December holiday’s track record of authenticity is weak.
And yet, Christmas remains somehow real. It is meaningful, special and important.
Christmas is still king of the holiday calendar because, despite overblown commercialism, it’s at this time of year that we’re reminded to focus on the right things. Family, friends and loved ones. Empathy, compassion and goodwill. Gratitude, joy and happiness. Love.
Whether the structures surrounding Christmas are real or not, we make the individual and collective decision to participate. And it becomes real. December has a special vibe to it. That vibe is real. The intentions we set for the season are real. And they’re important.
Through the December holidays we remind ourselves that we are capable of more. We can be our best and highest selves. We can change our attitude and our focus. We can remake the world. We just have to choose to do it.
What if we did choose to do it- year round? Would we find Bing Crosby’s lyric in “The Spirit of Christmas” to be true? The song suggests that “it’s not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through” that hold the holiday’s power.
I think we would find that sentiment to be as true as this wonderfully artificial holiday is real.
For Todd Fulginiti, musician- visit www.toddfulginiti.com