It’s a funny thing. For years and years now we have seen this thing in the media about “Christmas creep”.
All through the month of July people talk up Christmas without complaint. But the minute August 1st rolls around you begin to see the news media complain about things like Christmas trees at Costco.
I don’t know why they focus on stores. But they do.
They don’t like to see the truck back up to Hobby Lobby. They can’t stand that the garden center at Walmart starts to sprout plastic snowmen next to the Back to School stuff.
The American media even complains at the John Lewis Department store in the UK that opens their Christmas shop on the same date every year – August 25th.
They make a big deal about it opening four whole months ahead of the big day.
They cannot do that this year – because, you know, COVID.
Christmas has been hot all year.
When the lockdown began it seems the Christmas lights went up last spring. Many have just kept them up – all summer long.
Some have set up their Christmas trees, redecorating for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and Fourth of July. Some are even sporting Back to School trees, evidently the most festive out-of-season tree yet.
But if you try to Google “Christmas Creep” right now you’ll find no complaints. None. Not one.
In fact, most retailers are claiming to be prepping for Christmas earlier than ever, because, you know, COVID.
Amazon is hinting they will finally do Prime Day in early October.
Target, who only last year promised no Christmas before Thanksgiving, says they are decking the halls and offering Christmas specials in October because “2020 is no time to have a crowd”.
Retailer after retailer are all saying they will close on Thanksgiving but what will that matter if they can cash in on Christmas before Halloween?
All in the name of, you know, COVID.
It seems as if it is okay to talk about Christmas in August and September this year.
We are relieved to finally have a year like this.
Christmas is less fun when you have to complain about decorations, music and good will before the pumpkins are even picked.
So we, the Christmas podcasting community, have a real opportunity – because, you know, COVID.
What are we going to do with it? Will we let this opportunity pass?
And what will we talk about? Will we use this unusual season to endlessly spew about another Brady Christmas television reunion?
Will we pontificate on Hallmark’s 900th movie release of this season?
Will we interview other podcasters because we think people actually care when we do that?
Should we talk what’s hot and what’s not in a year in Christmas when people just want to feel good and normal again?
How can we know what will reach the masses at such a time as this?
During a year like this does Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party matter? At a time like this does Max Headroom’s Greatest Christmas Hits really strike a sentimental chord?
(Wait, wut? You don’t remember who Max Headroom was?)
Is this really the year to discuss the bullying of Rudolph, the sexism of 75-year-old Christmas songs or the real purpose of fruitcake?
Just what is important at this time of crisis and discord? What kind of Christmas really matters?
How can we, as Christmas proponents, champions and advocates, really serve the Christmas-loving listeners we have?
I beg of you, my Christmas friends, to please see this year for what it is.
Folks are stressed. They are mentally taxed.
Some have had a really rough go beyond what we might see in our own world. Unemployment. Loss of income. Illness. For many, there has been tremendous loss – some of life and loved ones.
The stress of a year of election drama and now street violence and ongoing uncertainty is overwhelming for people.
Yes, I hear you. Yes, the escapism that can be Christmas is quite real. We’ve seen it all year long.
But now, as we gratefully head into the Ber Months, a time when blessings are counted and hope shines anew, what can our few humble podcasts provide that will help heal, provide light and give hope?
Over the coming 20 weeks or so we all have a choice: we can be just another competing voice in the noise or we can participate in a miracle.
We can add light or cast shade.
We can help – or merely be bystanders.
I hope we can find ways in our Christmas offerings this year to make a difference. I hope we can reach out, find someone to serve or a cause to embrace, and make a sad situation somewhere a little less sad.
You know, because COVID.
The lessons of Christmas are all in practicing it. We can’t just stand by and just talk about it. We have to practice it. What better year to do that than this one?
How can your podcast do that?
That’s my challenge to you as you work right now on your plans for the weeks ahead.