The upside to a shorter holiday season
By LISA SMITH MOLINARI | Special to Stars and Stripes | Published: December 5, 2019
Ever since I realized that we have one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I’ve been moping around feeling ripped off. We can’t be expected to cram every holiday celebration and tradition into three lousy weeks! There is far too much to do, see, eat, sing, drink and buy before December 25!
In 1789, George Washington declared Nov. 26 a National Day of Thanksgiving, but then in 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared it to be the last Thursday of the month. To complicate things further, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill in 1941 placing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday. The aftermath of this waffling is that, when Thanksgiving falls on November 28th like it did this year, we get cheated out of a week of holiday celebrating. Obviously, these men’s wives had no say in the matter, because this most unfortunate Gregorian anomaly has clearly ruined the 2019 holiday season.
However, being that I’m a nog-is-half-full kind of gal, I wonder if a pivot in attitude might turn this bamboozle into a bailout? Have we been swindled, or have we been saved? Is losing a week actually a win?
Clearly, there are definite cons to a shortened holiday. After exhausting ourselves by lugging boxes of decorations out of the attic, garage and basement and spending countless hours bedazzling the house, the yard and the tree — who wants to turn around and have to put it all back a few short weeks later? However, having the Christmas tree up for one less week might actually be a good thing. Think about it — one less week of having to crawl under the tree to check the scummy, stagnant cesspool in the stand’s reservoir. Less opportunity for the cat to upchuck ingested tinsel. Less time for the tree to die, dry up and drop its needles on the carpet. Less chance the whole shebang will catch fire and burn the entire house down.
See how a little attitude adjustment can work in one’s favor?
Sure, it really stinks to be short-changed a whole week’s worth of the Christmas music you love. But your ears will thank you for sparing them a few broadcasts of the Chimpmunks’ gratingly nasal rendition of “Christmas Don’t Be Late.” You won’t have to worry as much about getting Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” stuck on an unending loop in your head. And there is less chance that your rage disorder will be triggered when you hear the sound of Harry Connick Jr.’s voice for the umpteenth time.
Of course, everyone wants a full month to savor the traditional holiday foods that we get only once a year — the cookies, the latkes, the prime rib, the cheese balls, the candy canes, the cocktails, the shrimp platters, the Swedish meatballs and the red and green peanut M&Ms! But let’s face it, a shorter holiday season means a 25 percent reduction in calories, which translates into fewer pounds gained, and less time on the treadmill resolving to sweat it off after New Year’s. Yay!
Of course, a holiday season bilked of shopping days could ratchet up the gift-buying stress to panic levels. But shoppers like me who end up buying things for themselves — new boots, makeup, handbags, sweaters — while looking for gifts for others could use a healthy dose of anxiety to keep them focused on the task at hand.
And finally, it sucks that we’re getting gypped out of six day’s worth of festive gatherings, traditional celebrations and holiday parties. Think of all the Secret Santa presents, cookie swaps, command events and cocktail soirees we will miss! However, less time partying means less time wearing Spanx, less idle chitchat, less opportunity to dribble chocolate fondue down your shirt and less chance of regretting the inappropriate biker chick joke you told your boss.
Behold the power of positive thinking!
Oh, and by the way, due to circumstances beyond my control, my Christmas cards will be late this year. (I’m liking this abbreviated holiday season more and more.)