A Modest Proposal for Christmas Day

By , December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! The blog likely won’t get updated tomorrow, or even the next day, as we keep Christmas on the Zeiger Family Homestead.

If you happen to be reading this on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, I have a modest proposal for you.

I have always been appalled at the number of major films scheduled to release on Christmas day. The film industry does nothing that doesn’t enhance profit, so the fact that they bother to release a film today indicates that December 25 is one of the prime movie-going days in our country. This year’s blockbuster offering for the day is Les Misérables. It’s supposed to be fantastic, but I wouldn’t go see it on Christmas day, even if I could.

I’ve confessed before that we love movies! We do consider watching movies a legitimate family activity. In our home, our chairs are lined up armrest-to-armrest, and we chatter and laugh through our DVDs. On the rare occasions we go to the theater (Haines, alas, has no movie house!) Aly sits between Michelle and me, so that we can whisper to her during the show. If she invites a friend along, we grudgingly offer each other the remaining seat next to her.

We love this family activity, but it’s not what we’d call a “tier 1” pastime. I’d hardly call it tier 2. In value, it falls far below playing a game together, reading aloud, making music, or even sitting and visiting with each other. It’s one of our activities, but it is not the best of them.

It certainly doesn’t qualify as something we’d do together on Christmas day. We have to tear ourselves away from the hearth to attend a neighborhood Christmas dinner. We would never leave the home on Christmas day to go out to watch a movie in a theater!

Now, I realize that Christmas day movie attendance may literally save many people each year. Surely, it’s a way for those preparing the family meal to find a bit of respite from overactive children and demanding spouses. Movies no doubt serve as a pressure valve in large family gatherings! Millions have no family or friends with which to spend the holiday; movies offer them a chance to rub shoulders with other people on some level. I don’t mean to demean anyone who chooses to spend their Christmas this way.

But, if it’s merely your habit to go to the movies on Christmas day, rather than your need, consider doing something else this year. Consider staying home. Start a game or puzzle, read aloud, go to church together if you’re so inclined. If you’re musical, make music! Don’t force anyone into these activities—that would only make things worse—but see if you can’t quietly influence the group into a “tier 1” group activity. You may hate it, but . . . you just might love it!

As the old song says, “Christmas comes but once a year.” Besides, the movie lines will be shorter tomorrow!

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