The end of the year is always an expensive clusterfuck of expense, travel, and joyless obligations made more miserable by the fact that several major holidays occur within six weeks. But all of this pressure and stress could be resolved if we'd only do one thing: move Christmas to January 25th. Hear me out.
First, a hearty Pipe Down to the naysaying dream-killers who would counter my proposal with "THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!" Do I think that it's realistic to expect that a holiday that has been celebrated on December 25th for over a thousand years be moved because I just think it works better with most people's schedules? Of course not. Nothing cool ever happens. But just because it won't happen doesn't mean it shouldn't. And so here, in honor of that insipid carol that every half-talented singer with a Christmas album insists on covering, are the 12 reasons why.
Christmas doesn't have to be on December 25th.
In no way, shape, or form does anyone know for a fact when Jesus (or Joshua Bar Joseph ish Nazareth, if we're going to get all historically accurate about it) was actually born. In fact, Christmas back in Olden Times (the 200's), the Romans considered celebrating Christmas on March 21st. Some early Christians celebrated it on January 6th. They eventually settled on shortly post-winter solstice because pagans were already celebrating around that time, and it's easier to co-opt a holiday that already exists than it is to create a new one. Everyone knows that. Christmas is just Saturnalia appropriation. The date is move-able.
It especially doesn't have to happen on December 25th if you're not religious.
So I get that the likelihood of all of the world's Christian sects agreeing to officially move Christmas from the last month of the year to the first month of the year is nil, as organized religion isn't exactly a bastion of dynamism. But if you're not religious and you celebrate the secular aspects of the holiday (parties and togetherness and Santa and giving and cards and baking etc!), then why do you have to listen to what the Church says? That's like, 75% of the fun of not being religious! Celebrate whatever holiday you want to celebrate whenever you want to celebrate it! What, is God going to put you in detention? Let people go to church on December 25th if they want. No one's making you have secular Christmas at the same time as God Christmas.
Holiday party season is completely insane.
There are only a few weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holiday parties can't realistically be thrown on the weekend right after Thanksgiving because everyone is either shopping or hunkered down at home recovering from a turkey coma or Tweeting from an Apple product about how much they hate holiday consumerism. They can't be held the weekend before Christmas, because that's a travel weekend. That leaves two weekends — tops— when holiday parties can be held. That is not enough weekends.
My liver is already wincing in anticipation of the second weekend of December, where I have holiday-related obligations on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the following Monday and Tuesday. I'm not that social of a person. I'm sure cool people have it worse. Moving Christmas to January 25th would alleviate some of the pressure on the first couple of weekends in December and allow you to see people you actually want to see (your friend who wants to throw a sweaters-n-cider party) instead of people you feel like you have to see (your boyfriend's weird coworker who wants to talk to you about her divorce).
More high-quality family time
People don't spend their entire lives in the same 90-mile radius anymore. And the further from home a person settles, the less feasible it is for them to travel home for both Thanksgiving and their specific faith tradition's End Of Year Holiday (unless it's this year and you're Jewish. Ugh, Jewish people have all the holiday fun!) But if Christmas were on January 25th, thus releasing the pressure on the end of the year calendar, it would be much more feasible for those apples who fell far from the tree to get home and back and home and back without it driving them insane.
(This is assuming you like your family. If you don't like your family or visit home for the holidays, a January 25th Christmas would give you a mental break from work/opportunity to take two sensibly spaced out va-or-stay-cations.)
After Christmas sales
So let's say that religious folks keep celebrating on the 25th of December, but those of us with some flexibility (non-religious people who just like hanging out with their family and friends at parties with a vague "winter fun" theme) started celebrating at the end of January. Think. Of. The. Sales.
More high-quality relaxation time
There's a subgenre of Christmas-related ads that feature besweatered people curled up with blankets on a couch, drinking their coffee with two hands out of a peppermint striped mug, which is cruel because thanks to a complete lack of breathing room in the December calendar, no one has time to do anything like that. But if Christmas were in January, maybe we would! Think of all that quality time you could spend in front of the Netflix Yule Log with an extra month. THINK OF IT.
More Christmas TV
Christmas-themed TV shows are the best. The absolutely campy best.
Cost. Holy shit, the cost.
If I were to book a round trip ticket from New York City to the airport closest to my hometown from December 22nd to December 26th today, here's what it would cost me:
- because airlines are craven misery factories enjoying a de facto monopoly over long distance travel as this country inexplicably fights the construction of a fast, efficient cross country rail system, but I digress.
(As it stands, I booked my flight a month ago and it cost $498. That's a hurty price point to fly to a city that, in December, is not a fun place to visit.)
Now, check out what I'd pay if I were flying over the same dates, but in January:
That's more than $300 cheaper per ticket. Think of the uptick in gift quality if I had that kind of scratch to spare.
Here's how I plan on decorating my apartment for Christmas this year: put a tiny Santa hat on the bat decoration that is still on our door from our Halloween party.
Here's how I'd decorate my apartment if I had four more weeks of Christmas season: fucking wallpaper. An entire wonderland of handmade snowflakes on the walls. A tree with a popcorn and cranberry string. Cinnamon sticks in everything. Animatronic elves. It would be like a Peanuts Christmas special fever dream.
Better likelihood of a white Christmas
Snow is a menace — it impedes peoples' ability to travel, limits a person's footwear options, fills up with dog pee, makes the subways in winter even more disgusting than the subways in summer, and generally gives winter a claustrophobic vibe. But here's one circumstance in which snow most decidedly dow not suck: when it is Christmas, and it is decorative.
Christmas falls early enough in winter that sometimes it's too early for a thick, healthy blanket of snow. But if Christmas were on January 25th, the likelihood that, for most of the northern half of the country, the ground would be covered in snow increases.
January sucks anyway.
It's a scientific fact that in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, January is the worst month of the year. It's 31 days of face moisture-sucking cold, of drafty windows, of adapting to icy sidewalks by shuffling along like a baby who just shat its pants, kicked off by New Year's Eve, by far the worst holiday on the calendar. Imagine if at the end of January, there was relief in the form of Christmas. Chestnuts/open fires. Ice skating. ABC Family made-for-TV movies.
After New Year's Eve, the next holiday where people gather for parties doesn't happen until March 17th, and the parties that happen then are terrible amateur hours.
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Celebrating Christmas on January 25th just makes more sense — sanity-wise, cost-wise, holiday spacing-wise. So next year, don't fall for the social pressure to stress out and spend ALL YOUR MONEY on presents and airplane tickets. Wait and celebrate with me on the 25th. I'll be the lunatic in the dingy, unwashed Santa hat.