Today is Thanksgiving, which according to Pilgrim tradition is the official start of Christmas shopping season. Of course, Christmas really began two months ago when Santas and red-nosed reindeer began appearing next to the Halloween decorations at Walmart and the stores were playing Christmas music when it was still 95 degrees outside. Even the whole notion of a day of thanksgiving is a joke since “Black Friday” is actually on Thursday this year.
It’s not even December yet, and I’m already sick of it.
It used to be, however, that if you needed a break from Christmas-in-November, you could just not go into a department store. But that was before the Internet and the invention of social media. Now every Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feed is filled with holiday-themed posts, either from people obsessed with Christmas trees and snow or companies trying to sell you something. And if you follow any Christians, you’ll also get a lot of Thanksgiving-themed Bible verses.
It’s almost as if there’s some sort of unwritten rule now about the holidays that you have to not only acknowledge them online but you must also document every second of them as well through a constant stream of tweets and instapics. Having turkey for Thanksgiving? Snap a pic of it, add the Earlybird filter, post it, and then high-five yourself for being awesome. First snow of the year? Tweet that son of a bitch! Traveling anywhere for any reason? The world needs a running commentary, updated at least once every half mile. And don’t forget those Bible verses! You can’t be truly thankful unless you quote at least two psalms and one epistle. (Bonus points for quoting minor prophets or Revelation.)
So what would happen — hypothetically, of course — if, say, I didn’t post anything. Not avoid social media altogether but just didn’t post anything holiday-related. No Bible verses, no faux-vintage pumpkin pie photos, no “Hey, look, we put up our Christmas tree two weeks early and it’s absolutely perfect and my whole life if perfect and I made every ornament from ideas I got off Pintrest and I have nothing else to do with my life other than to tell you about it” posts. Just the occasional, everyday kinda stuff that expresses no unusually heightened sense of thankfulness or holiday cheer. Would I be banished from the Internets? Would I be accused of losing my faith? Would I be marked with a Helvetica letter “A” in #FF0000 and cast out of Twitter until I repented of my evil ways? Oh the horror!
And yet, I’m curious.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very thankful this year. It’s been a tough year and a really tough last few months. But God has been faithful and I think our family has grown closer through the process. And I always love Christmas. Not the gross consumerism aspect of it, but for what it represents. I just don’t feel the need to keep up with Joneses online, compelled to publicly express that gratitude and wonder every second of the day. Maybe that does make me a heretic, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not a good Christian unless I’m obnoxious about it. But I think I’m gonna play by my own rules this year. Post what I want to post and not post what I don’t want to post. Consequences be damned.
Because after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.