There have been times when I’ve been called a Christmas humbugger but that is not entirely accurate. I rarely tire of the holiday hubbub before December 1st and I’ve even been known to wish people a Merry Christmas after my holiday shopping starts on December 23rd. I am not exactly a Grinch. 

Yet, I have developed a Yuletide aversion because, really, Christmas comes but all too often. I mean, pulling out the stops every single year — dragging out the decorations, the carols, cursing at the defective light strings, binging at the business parties and that annual appearance at an arraignment — just takes a toll.

All this was right a hundred years ago when the pace of life was so slow that it took eight or nine years to experience what today we can take in on one trip to Disney World. Back then you had to walk — all the way to Christmas. Today you just jet from one Christmastide to the next and they would follow even faster if we didn’t have to take off our shoes and submit to a full body scan every time we go.

I have a proposal that will not sit well with the Christmas devotees but it may bring us more peace on earth and good will to men. Now brace yourself, keep an open mind and imagine if we celebrated Christmas once every five years. How much more relaxing and fun that would be! It would make us all long for Christmas, give us time for anticipation and it would put the special back into Christmas specials.

The history of Christmas is almost a perfect pattern where one Christmas has occurred annually for almost the past two thousand years. This results in spending our Christmas capital so fast that there is a chance, albeit small, that we run out of Christmases before Armageddon materializes. As to what’s in the cards considering our present political climate, we can concede Armageddon will probably trump running out of Christmases but, still, history is full of surprises.

Christmas has had such a convoluted history that changing over to a celebration every five years is really just a mild tweak; during the High Middle Ages it was characterized by drunkenness and wild partying, later it was banned by the Puritans and the Parliament of Scotland, and in the late 1900s it was celebrated, believe it or not, with elaborate parades featuring enormous balloons in the form of popular, fictional characters.



And what about poor Santa Claus? Back in 1900 he delivered to only 1.6 billion people. Now the naughty-and-nice list tops 7 billion. It’s to the point where he has to use big data techniques to sort things out. He is also forced into a moral dilemma with these numbers: so many more people deserve coal in their stockings, which is incompatible with the “Clean Santa” image and brand he’s been trying to grow. A five-year break between Christmases would ease the burden, make his run more environmentally friendly and make the gift-giving that much more special.

An annual observance of Christmas was never set in stone. The first recorded celebration was in Rome in the year 336 because it took three centuries for the church to get its corporate structure established. Also birth records in Bethlehem were incomplete and recorded in an obsolete format so it took time to weigh the options before assigning December 25 as the best guess for Jesus’ birthday. Any mandate for an annual celebration has been lost to history.

Of course we could maintain the annual Christmas dinner and keep all of the religious ceremonies, well-wishes and visits to grandma’s house, but the business with the decorations, parades, lights and presents would only happen on the “Penta-Christmas,” the most grand and anticipated holiday, happening only twice a decade.

Lately I have experienced some definite non-Christmas-like attitude when presenting the idea. People going by me on the sidewalk humming “Little Drummer Boy” don’t evoke much hope to ever see my Super-Christmas idea taken up by the masses. So I will quietly promote the concept and until that time when all of us just can’t wait for Christmas to come within the next five years, I sincerely wish you and your family the most anticipated, happiest and best Christmas and holiday season anyone can ever experience — on an annual basis.