Deciding to Embrace Christmas Creep
I was out with my youngest the other day and I decided to pop into Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies. Walking in the cool air-conditioned store was a nice reprieve from the nearly 100-degree heat melting us outside. It has turned into fall here in Northern California, but apparently no one has informed the weather. We turned the corner towards the craft supplies and a familiar smell took over: the pungent, pervasive aroma of those cinnamon scented pinecones. The ones you can merely walk by and your clothes will be infused with the scent of cinnamon the rest of the day. You know the ones I’m talking about. As we continued to walk that fragrant yellow brick road I knew it could only mean one thing…the Christmas display. There it was- an explosion of tinsel, ornaments, wrapping paper, bows, twinkling lights and artificial trees of every size and color. It was still September and Christmas had come to Hobby Lobby.
Christmas seems to be arriving in stores like Hobby Lobby earlier and earlier each year. It’s become such a topic of conversation in our culture that the movement has even developed it’s own name…they call it “Christmas Creep.” It’s always a little shocking, especially when the weather is still so warm. I know so many people who are angered by Christmas Creep claiming it promotes commercialism, that it bypasses Thanksgiving, that it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas and so on. For a long time it bothered me too, but the last several years I’ve had a change of heart. This year I have decided to embrace the Christmas Creep and I’m encouraging you to do the same.
Now hear me out- it’s not what you think. I’m not saying you need to be like my friend Amanda who puts up her Christmas tree on November 1st or like my friend Penny who starts playing Christmas music in July. And no, I don’t want to be drinking eggnog lattes in March. I’m not even saying we have to embrace commercialism or bypass Thanksgiving. Truth be told, as Christians, Christmas is the reason we have anything to be Thankful for in the first place (don’t go getting all theological on me and start talking about Easter- Christ couldn’t die if He had never been born). We should be spending the season of Thanksgiving remembering all we have to be thankful for since Christ came at Christmas. Hear me out….
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in America and, I would argue, the ONLY holiday that secular department stores, restaurants, businesses, etc. are open to allowing in the message of Christ (whether they realize it consciously or not). I’ll never forget standing in Michael’s in November hearing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” over the radio. Yes, it was still fall and before Thanksgiving, but listening to the words “mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die…” in a secular store- how can I as a Christian be upset with this? A secular store open to the message of Christ all because America loves Christmas! And yes, it was probably followed by “Grandma Got Run-Over by a Reindeer”, but I’ll take it. Stores aren’t playing “Christ The Lord is Risen Today” or “At the Cross” at Easter (obviously Hobby Lobby is an exception to this, don’t get technical on me). So, while I may not be ready to deck the halls, how can I, as a Christian, truly be upset?
The other reason I think we need to embrace the Christmas Creep is that it allows us to prepare and be ready for the Christmas season. The Christmas season tends to be so filled with to-do lists, stress, anxiety- not to mention a calendar full of activities. What if we chose to embrace the Christmas Creep as an opportunity to free our hearts, minds and time during the Christmas season to actually reflect on the true meaning of the season? We have a whole separate blog here at The Advent Kids dedicated solely to helping you prepare for the Christmas season to avoid the Christmas Crazy. The more you prepare, the less stressful life can be. What if you had all your Christmas cards filled out and addressed, all your decorations and gifts purchased, your DIY projects completed by December 1st- wouldn’t that free up your mind to focus on the true meaning of the season? Just sayin’…
Also, just because a store puts out their Christmas displays early, that doesn’t have to make Christmas commercialized. Just because all that stuff is on display doesn’t mean you have to buy ANY of it. Don’t allow the STUFF to distract you from what Christmas is really all about. Simplify. The first Christmas began in a stable with a family on the night that HOPE was born into the world. Remember that through all the tinsel and lights, Christmas is the time we celebrate when our Savior was born. The heart of the story is love and that love is the greatest gift you give to anyone at Christmas. Join The Advent Kids this Christmas season as we help families focus on what Christmas is really all about. Our prayer is that the heart of Christmas would creep into our daily lives so that the message of Christ’s birth would be celebrated all year long.