No one ever accused me of being the biggest fan of Christmas. Heck, the kids just picked me up a Sally-Ann gem: a T-shirt with Darth Vader in a Santa hat below the word ‘humbug!’ It’s the only Christmas thing I own that’s (in the words of Farley Mowat) worth the powder to blow it all to hell.
And let’s clear one thing up right off the top: It may make me old-school, but I say Merry Christmas. I don’t let some Russian-produced meme scare me into thinking that my custom is in any way under threat. See, because I do the “church thing,” Xmas is actually a part of my liturgical calendar, whether I like it or not. And in a lifetime of chit-chatting with strangers from a gazillion backgrounds, I’ve found just about everyone to be okay with a greeting that translates as “from my tradition to yours, I wish you happiness.”
But this year, I find myself wanting to get to that part where most of us try to be nice to each other, if only for a week or two. I don’t think it’s just me, but we could use a holiday — whatever you want to call it or whatever it means to you.
See, we’ve been kind of yelling at each other lately. A lot. The conversational dumpster-fire that erupted from the comments of a certain hockey commentator sure didn’t help our communal tone. And that train-wreck came shortly after a federal election, which is hardly a time of rational, fact-based debate. There are clearly some divisions in our society: some generational, some class-based, many clearly partisan.
There are really important things we have to talk about but I don’t think shouting into the echo chambers of social media are going to help us solve anything. We really should just take a beat. Take a moment to breathe, to think a little less emotionally, to listen a little more. Maybe a big collective glass of eggnog would help? (And for some of us maybe a little rum in there wouldn’t hurt.)
See, it’s okay if, like me, you don’t believe that the biggest story in the week following Remembrance Day was Don Cherry — it was a story on how the 45 richest Canadians have as much wealth as the combined GDP of five of our provinces. I’m not going to yell at you if don’t agree that we are being distracted by trifles as the billionaires consume wealth at a rate that would make earlier robber barons blush. (Why do you think that foreign adversaries create bots to interject into our mundane social media politics, anyway? Answer: Because we are weaker when we are always arguing. )
So I’m taking a seasonal break from this growing cacophony. To quote a punk rock Christmas classic by the Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight.)”
Merry Christmas, indeed.