If you’ve been listening to the radio in your car, you’re probably familiar with the song “We Need A Little Christmas.” I agree, but my position is that we not only need a little Christmas, we need another Christmas.
Christmas – regardless of your spiritual standing or beliefs – is unique in our national calendar. It pulls together so many threads – faith, nostalgia, merchandising, family, reflection, chow, etc. – that there is usually something for nearly everyone to feel good about.
The holiday stimulates the heck out of the economy. The term “Black Friday” – of course – refers not to the fact that it gets dark early in late November, but that for many businesses, their ledgers don’t get into blank ink (a profit) until the Christmas shopping season starts.
So Christmas brings us fun, food, money, time off work, gathering of friends and family, and more. Couldn’t we do with another one?
My nomination is for the Fourth of July. Patriotism is often called America’s civic religion, and for good reason. A love of country is something most people can stand behind, or at least give lip service to.
It’s already a pretty big deal. If it falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many folks get a four-day weekend. As with Christmas, the kids are out of school and the weather is special: warm and sunny instead of cold and snowy (or in our case, slightly cool).
We have some excellent traditions in place. Parades, fireworks (the professional display kind, not the annoying “safe and sane” kind that lead to so much irritation and injury), barbecues and playful softball games and water balloon duels.
What we need is the media and the retailers to get on board with this. We need television specials – preferably animated or heart-tugging, or both – about the Founding Fathers (and Mothers). We need Home Depot to sell Liberty Trees, and Target to create a whole colorful section in the store with red-white-and-blue tree lights, electric lawn decorations of George Washington and Paul Revere and Independence Day greeting cards.
And most important, there would be patriotic gifts and a big dinner of historic meals. Toys and clothing with an All-American bent and – since this is a nation of immigrants – have an elaborate meal of whatever ethnic food your people favored when they first came here.
Since Americans love football so much, even in July, we could have on July 3 or 5 a special “Masters Bowl” featuring recently retired NFL stars. Wouldn’t the typical fan love to hear Payton Manning chanting “Omaha!” once more time, or watch Troy Polamalu (born in Garden Grove!) chase down gridiron, his massive locks trailing behind him? Of course, there would have to be some rules “modifications” to keep these “old guys” from getting hurt, but isn’t honoring our past what the Fourth of July is all about?
Yes, this “Second Christmas” will perk up the economy, liven up the look of your neighborhood and remind us of what a wonderful country we live in. And, if I can trademark the term “Second Christmas” it would perk up my bank account pretty good, too. Making money on anything is a great American tradition, right?
Jim Tortolano’s Retorts appears on Wednesdays, Usually.