A Twitter hashtag bothered me this morning. A fill-in news anchor on a local station used the hashtag #ChristmasIsOver on her feed. It was also the last thing she said on the air at the conclusion of this morning’s broadcast.
In reality, Christmas is not over. Today is the second day of Christmas, also known as Boxing Day and the Feast of Stephen. It’s the day on which the person in the song received two turtle doves from her true love.
Most people probably don’t realize the anti-Catholic nature of tearing down decorations and declaring Christmas to be over today. In my opinion, it reveals an anti-Catholic bias that was likely handed down from parents and grandparents. Many people in the South are, at best, ignorant of Catholicism and, at worst, hateful toward Catholics.
In the Catholic Church, there is a four-week period of waiting for Christmas known as Advent. Christmas itself lasts for twelve days until the Epiphany. The Christmas season lasts for another week, until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The Catholic Church is the tree trunk from which all other Christian denominations branch off. The term Protestant refers to those who protested against Catholicism and broke away from the Church during the Reformation. I wonder if the urge to put Christmas away so soon stems from the Protestant desire to be unlike the Catholics.
Another likely reason for the end of the season could be the same commercialization of Christmas that Charlie Brown complained about 47 years ago. When retailers celebrate their own twelve days of Christmas, they start on December 14 and end on Christmas Day. It’s not uncommon to see store clerks stocking the shelves with Valentine candy while you’re shopping at an after-Christmas sale.
Throughout the years, I’ve had to use my final vacation days for the year either during the week before Christmas or during the week after. I actually don’t mind working up to and including Christmas Eve. I strongly prefer to take time off during the real twelve days of Christmas.