Last week, you may have heard the story about retailers receiving complaints about playing Christmas Music too early.
Surely, I thought this was an isolated incident, and that even though local retailers were also reporting receiving complaints, I hardly considered this to be a real thing.
Last weekend, as I was demonstrating in the intro to this past Monday's episode of "Mike on a Monday" featuring Crystal Shawanda, I decided to take care of some warmer weather and drier conditions here in Edmonton to hang up my lights.
Yeah, I'm that guy on your block - every year getting closer and closer to full out Clark Griswolding my little casa. I didn't have a lot of great Christmases growing up, so now that I have my own little home and my own life, I choose to maximize my holiday productivity.
Proud of my newest additions to the holiday spirit, I got a terrible feeling in my stomach. I realized that if I turned these things on too soon, I may actually be OFFENDING someone.
How? All I did was turn on some lights. I didn't put a Nativity OR a Santa up (yet), so I know it couldn't be that... maybe I'm just overthinking it.
Still, after looking at my little lit-up house once, I decided to leave the lights off for most of the week, I did the unthinkable, and last night, after a massive snowfall made the display even more awesome-looking, I plugged them in and shared the picture with my friends.
The great thing about MY friends is that for the mostpart, we all think the same... or so I thought. Somehow the idea of turning on Christmas (or the more PC "holiday") lights has become correlated with DISRESPECTING REMEMBRANCE DAY.
To quote a very famous sailor and spinach proponent... "That's alls I can stands, I can't stands no more!"
Luckily, my friend and I are cool enough that we hash it out and it's done. That's the power of friendship, and what's lacking in a lot of relationships these days... that's another conversation for another time.
Let's get back to this whole "turning on your Christmas lights is disrepsectful to the troops thing.
My Grandfather FOUGHT in WWII. To this day, his name hangs proudly in the church in my hometown of Arnprior, ON. Over my years on the radio here in Edmonton, I personally became very connected with members of our military. Not to namedrop, but the day I spent with my friend George Canyon as he toured a local military base, and the night I spent following the troops as they came home from Afghanistan are just two of my fondest memories of a list that goes much longer than that.
Further, as far as the military goes, the only people I respect equally (and to be honest, maybe even just a little bit more), are the families of these soldiers. Women, men, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, parents, children... all who while they may not even agree or understand why their loved ones have chosen to face their own mortality in the name of our country, love them just the same, and want them back home more than anything.
Today, in a very quiet ceremony, I watched as officers, public servants, EMT's and families stood together in the name of those killed in Afghanistan. It was heartbreaking to see families come to lay crosses together in the name of someone they had lost in just one conflict. Today isn't a day about proving "who can out-remember who". Today is about one word: Respect.
Here's the brass tacks. If the holiday season pisses you off, without apologizing for my own choice in celebrating, I am sorry. We all have our annoyances, and that's the way it is. At the same time, using something as sacred as Remembrance Day to propogate your dislike or enjoyment of something is an insult to those who die with our flag on their arms, and to those here at home who miss them every day and night.
I will however, respect your opinion. The fact that we can freely express ourselves and our opinions is what truly makes this a great land. Let's not confuse that with exploiting those who make the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to do so.
Lest we forget.