There’s a new movement that seems to have surfaced on Facebook. I don’t know where it originated, but I’ve been seeing multiple posts, links and pictures on Facebook, and I just had to add my two cents worth. Anyone who knows me knows I generally avoid controversial topics like the plague, so perhaps it seems odd that I would jump in on this one, and maybe it is. But I have an opinion, and one of the neat things about this blog is that I can put my opinions into words and have the whole world read them. No, wait, maybe that’s NOT a good thing…hmmm….
The point that is being made on Facebook is that we should not be preparing for Christmas until AFTER Remembrance Day. The idea seems to be that carols and decorations somehow detract from the solemnity of the Remembrance Day proceedings.
Let me preface my opinion by saying that my father and uncles fought in the Second World War, and my grandfather and great uncle fought in the First World War. They were the lucky ones. They survived. More currently, the love of my life is a Naval reserve officer and my daughter’s boyfriend is involved with Air Cadets. Ever since Sean has been involved with Scouting, I have accompanied him to the Remembrance Day ceremony at the local cenotaph and watched with pride as he marched with the Scouts to honour those who gave their lives for our freedom. Do I respect their sacrifices? Damn straight I do. And I respect every man and woman currently in our armed forces laying their lives on the line to ensure we maintain those freedoms so harshly won.
Do I put up Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day? Yep, I do. My wreath is on my door on Nov 1, the lights are round the windows usually by the end of the first week in Nov and the lights outside soon follow. Does this somehow make me less respectful of those who died? That would be a resounding NO! They died so I HAVE the freedom to hang my Christmas decorations on Nov 1st, or even July 1st if I so choose! They died so I could have the freedom to put up decorations for whatever holiday, whenever. They died so I could have the freedom to raise my voice and sing Christmas carols whenever I choose.
I think the real issue is the general feeling that Christmas is being shoved down our throats earlier and earlier every year. We see holiday advertising even before Halloween is over. Holiday music is playing in the stores before the middle of November. I think people are trying to delay the onslaught of Christmas and have latched on to the “sanctity” of Remembrance Day as a convenient argument for enforcing that delay. If that’s the case, why not just say what you really feel – that Christmas seems to arrive earlier each year and you’re tired of it? Don’t mar Remembrance Day by dragging it into your arguments. Let it stand alone, a solemn day of memory, unsullied by the silliness of trivial rubbish like whether or not we should put up holiday decorations prior to it. Let it be as it was intended to be – a moment in time where the entire world stops what it is doing (yes, even hanging holiday decorations!) and remembers the ultimate sacrifice given by so many to secure our current freedoms.
Unfortunately this year I will be unable to attend the cenotaph as I will be working. But at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month I will pause and observe a period of silence in gratitude for those who died so that I can hang up my holiday decorations whenever I damn well please.