Looking out my window, I see that it's a cold winter day. Snow is everywhere, and the flurries started a few hours ago. People are bundled up as they hurry along the sidewalk. Walking down the street in my neighbourhood, I look around with the wonder of a child and get that feeling that only comes to me when it's Christmastime.
...but it isn't.
It's almost February, for crying out loud. I feel as if I'm in the midst of the holiday season, and I put that to bed over a month ago. Yet, standing in the middle of my street, I'm full of Yule tidings all over again. Why? Not because of the snow or the chill in the air. That will be here for weeks to come. No, I'm feeling that holiday spirit because half the population in my city still hasn't taken the Christmas wreaths off their front doors.
It happens every year. I find myself on a stroll in my neighbourhood only to see the wreaths still hanging on the fronts of homes until April. Sometimes there's even a half-inflated plastic snowman or Santa Claus slumped over in the yard and still trying to wave at me from underneath two pounds of dirty snow and ice. These poor, depressed symbols seem to be taunting me, reminding me of a joyful season that didn't disappear in grand fashion on New Year's Eve. Instead it whimpered away as the early weeks of the new year rolled on. Like a relative that came to visit and then refused to leave, the Christmas Wreaths are no longer welcome and need to go away.
These lingering holiday symbols only confuse a person's inner calendar. Their holly leaves surrounding figurines of reindeer and Kris Kringle only make me feel like I have dementia when I see them on my way home from Valentine's Dinner. Like Rip Van Winkle, I awake one morning to see "Merry Christmas" on the houses down the street. Then I wonder to myself, "How long did I sleep?"
I can understand the Christmas lights I see that are still hanging from the trees and rooftops of the buildings in the city. I don't want to climb on my roof in the snow, either. Those lights can mostly be ignored since they're useless when they aren't turned on and are hardly noticeable any other time. They are kind of like the invisible bacteria that I'm told have literally infested my hotel bedspread: I know they are there, I'm not happy about it, but I don't really notice them enough to be annoyed. If the local Hooters can keep Christmas lights up all year round without it looking seasonal, I guess my accident-prone neighbours can, too.
The wreaths, on the other hand, are only on the door out of pure laziness. How hard is it to open the front door and pull the Christmas wreath down? If you use your front door so little that you don't open it between December and April, it might be time to make some new friends. Have a party, meet a Jehovah's Witness, or invest in a pyramid scheme. Do anything that will get you up off the couch, at the door, and yanking down Jolly Ol' Saint Nick before it's time to pull your surf board out of the closet.
Christmas is the last in a string of annual holidays, which is why I think the wreaths stick around so long. You put the turkey and jack-o-lanterns on the doorstep and take them down when you put up the reindeer. Then, nothing happens for a while and some people's Christmas decorations only go away with the arrival of the Easter Bunny.
Well, it's time for a movement, my friends. This isn't some covert, quiet operation that will be handled discreetly by a small army of mercenaries. No, this a full-fledged assault. For this, we might just need the help of the National Guard and foreign armies. It's the biggest inner-struggle North America has seen since perhaps The war of 1812. This will require skill, strength, and military intelligence, the likes of which we have never seen.
I call it "Operation: Wreath Out."
Much like "Hands across America," this movement involves taking your hand and reaching out (or "wreathing out," if you will) to your neighbours and loved ones. Let them know that you support them, believe in them, and know in your heart of hearts that the wreaths can be taken down painlessly and with little effort. Much like a grassroots campaign, we can win this if we stick together and let our numbers grow. Contact the local media and ask your elected officials what they can do to see that no wreath is left behind.
Change can happen, and it can happen now. Together, we can give the Holiday Season back to where it belongs: the week before Halloween. People often complain there is a "War on Christmas." Apparently it needs to be waged in March.
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