A modest Christmas proposal
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.
Opinion is probably split on whether people want their city council commenting on issues that might go beyond their normal course of duties. I, for one, like the idea of a council weighing in on issues that go beyond our municipal borders provided that this doesn’t affect the time spent on more immediate and local concerns.
In 2019 for example, Councillor Ron Ashmore proposed a motion whereby the city should publicly endorse oil pipelines. (I argued vigorously on the Advocate news site at the time that council should reject the motion — which they did). Despite my difference of opinion, I still think this is the exact type of good-faith argument we want councillors to bring to the table when they have a cause that they feel is important to them and their constituents, as Ashmore did.
And I would like to humbly propose that council consider another declaratory bylaw. Now I don’t get paid enough to come up with exact council legalese, but I’m thinking something along the lines of this: To protect and promote the solemnity of Remembrance Day, the city will not display Christmas decorations or music on its properties, buildings or events until Nov 12. Furthermore, the city encourages residents and businesses, where possible, to observe the same schedule.
I am not suggesting that this be obligatory nor do I think there should be any enforcement measures associated with this. The idea of the government telling a business when and how they can decorate a window seems totalitarian (not counting the absurd restrictions on cannabis stores, of course). And the idea of a bylaw officer prowling the streets looking out for too-early Christmas carols is beyond absurd. I won’t lie though. The idea of a special constabulary empowered to grievously deal with anyone who plays Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You is intoxicating to me. It’s just not constitutional.
Some of us want to try to promote the reverence of Remembrance Day. Doing so still leaves a (painful to me) full 43 days of pre-Christmas extravaganza. It’s basically what most businesses already do, and it is more or less the city’s standard operating procedure because Christmas street decorations can’t go up until the Remembrance Day banners come down.
Of course, some businesses will say they need more time for one of their biggest retail periods. And some citizens (who I will never understand if I live 10 lifetimes) want to celebrate Christmas all year long. And that’s okay. This is just about publicly proclaiming a widely-held sentiment.
From my family to yours, I wish a Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it and a joyous holiday season for all!