Christmastime is a time of joy whether you like it or not |

Christmastime is a time of joy whether you like it or not

Andrew Gmerek

Now that another Christmas has past, I’m beginning to realize that Christmas bashing is all the rage.I’m well aware that when the holidays roll around, people like nothing better than to gripe about the commercialism, the insane rush, the crowds at retail stores and the money they spend purchasing a gift for that second cousin they never really liked in the first place.And it’s true that the Christmas-gift-selling community doesn’t make it any easier with the barrage of advertisements beginning earlier every year. When I was younger, the Christmas season began the day after Thanksgiving, and now it starts sometime in mid-July.After another year of listening to the almost constant yapping about the horrors of the holiday season, I have to say I’m sick of it.

Holy Mosses people, it’s one day a year. You can be miserable for the rest of the 364 days.Can’t everyone just suck it up and pretend to be happy? So what if your family’s nuts? Whose isn’t? It might do everyone just a bit of good to ignore all that and at least try to squeeze out a trickle of the milk of human kindness.It’s one dinner a year. Sit down at the table, swallow some turkey, cranberry sauce and more than your usual amount of wine with your relatives, and then grin like you’re happy and talk about the weather.The rest of the world really doesn’t care anymore if your parents were distant or strict or lax. No one cares if you’re always depressed around the holidays. We just don’t give a hoot if you’re sad, lonely or miserable. Tough. Quit acting the martyr and show some Christmas joy. Over the years, I’ve discovered one thing about Christmas – that most of the people who are miserable around the holidays, and that ruin them for others, are, in general, lousy people the rest of the year.

Yes, I understand some people get the blues while others are clinically depressed at Christmas, but take a mood-enhancing drug, and then do what’s best for everyone. Hide your feelings.Tuck them away in a box, drawer, steamer trunk, under the bed, in the dishwasher or under the rug, and just get through it smiling. It’s one day a year. Show some spirit. After all it’s a tough world out there. Lots of bad and scary things are happening every day. If there is anything we need right now, it’s at least one day a year where everyone focuses on the good in people, world peace, loving thy neighbor and the joy of being alive.Maybe it’s because I now have two young daughters who are just beginning to understand the importance of Christmas, Santa Claus and all the other trimmings of the season. Maybe it’s because I spent my holidays working hard to manufacture for them a truly magical memory.

But I’ve become extremely possessive of this time of year. Listening to people whine about the Christmas or dealing with those that refuse a holiday greeting of any kind just might ruin it for them, and I won’t have it. I’m now standing up to defend Christmas in all its tinsel and gift-giving glory. It’s a time of goodwill, so share in the joy. It’s just one day a year. You can do it. I know you can.And next year, when I wish you a Merry Christmas, you’d better smile and return the greeting with some zest, or you might just find a lump of coal in another place besides your stocking.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at

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