Photo by Dan Norman
Guthrie’s A Christmas Carol
Guthrie’s A Christmas Carol
Many Minnesotans complain that the ever-expanding holiday shopping season has sucked the stuffing out of Thanksgiving, and is well on its way toward swallowing Halloween—and, eventually, Memorial Day. This year, Kmart started advertising its holiday layaway plan in August, which got Walmart executives thinking they should start holiday advertising on the Fourth of July, prompting Best Buy to consider decorating its stores in red bows and glitter on Labor Day.
In Minnesota, the problem is particularly pronounced, primarily because of the way our seasons unfold. No sooner has summer ended then, bam! Halloween. Then, bam! Thanksgiving. Then, a month later, bam! Christmas. Then, bam! New Year’s. Followed by five months of loneliness and desolation.
But the problem isn’t that there’s too much holiday-themed revelry, it’s that there’s no time to do it all. The entire holiday season is compressed into a five-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. During this time we’re expected to chop down a tree, put up Christmas decorations (after dismantling the ones from Halloween), drive around and look at other people’s decorations, visit all our relatives, pet some reindeer at the Holidazzle Village, go ice skating, acknowledge other holiday traditions—Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia’s Day, St. Stephen’s Day, Sviata Vechera—observe the four Sundays of Advent, bake cookies, try everyone’s “Christmas lager,” not slack off at work, and watch the ball drop on Times Square. Oh yeah, and see all the amazing holiday shows that include (but are not limited to) the Guthrie’s A Christmas Carol (Nov. 13–Dec. 28), Penumbra’s Black Nativity (Dec. 3–Dec. 20), no less than six versions of The Nutcracker, The New Standards at the State Theatre (Dec. 4–5), VocalEssence’s Welcome Christmas (Dec. 5–13), Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith (Target Center, Dec. 12), the Ramsey Lewis Quartet’s The Sound of Christmas (Dakota, Dec. 9–10), and, let’s not forget, Jingle Ball, featuring Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, and Nick Jonas (Xcel Energy Center, Dec. 7) . . .
How can someone do all that? Simple, move Christmas to mid-March.
Think about it, currently January 2 lands with a thud. The holiday bottom drops out and we plunge into the abyss. The days lurk dark and cold like a creepy uncle. Sure, people keep their Christmas lights up, but by February they’re just ghostly reminders of a happier time.
If Christmas were in mid-March, everything would be different. No longer would we have to brace for the new year with such steely resolve. The joy of the season would pull us through the gloom of winter, and, best of all, there would be plenty of time to catch all the holiday shows you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. Haven’t seen A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol (New Century Theatre, Nov. 27–Jan. 3) or All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Pantages Theatre, Dec. 16–20) yet? No problem, they’re both playing through Easter! Now, traditionalists will argue that Christmas can’t be moved because it is the sacred day on which Jesus was born. But it’s not without precedent. Russians celebrate it on January 7, and back in the 4th century, Christ’s birth and death were celebrated on the same day: March 25.
The truth is, no one knows exactly when Jesus was born, so our guess would be as good as anyone else’s. Theology aside, moving Minnesota’s Christmas to March would also save on therapy bills, antidepressants, rehab, and other costs associated with long, cruel, holiday-less winters.
But here’s the best part of moving Christmas to March: We could all take our holiday lights down in April without looking like fools.