Reprinted from the Dec. 25, 1926, issue of the Minneapolis Star.
The only trouble with Christmas is, it does not last long enough.
Thus the small boy points out the only fly he can see in all the glorious Yuletide ointment.
How long would he want it to last? Why, exactly 365 days out of the year and then this old world of ours would certainly be a grand place in which to dwell.
Every day would find stockings well filled with candy and toys and other gifts. Every day would present a bounteous table on which the piece de resistance would be that immortal bird, the turkey, done to a nicety and flanked and stuffed with dressing, to say nothing of all the other “trimmings.”
What a great life it would be — for a little while. And then, of course, Christmas would be commonplace. The toys, the sweetmeats, even the practical gifts — everything would become commonplace. And the day would be as dreary and matter-of-fact as any of the other three hundred and sixty-four which precede and follow it.
But the youngster has not learned enough of philosophy to understand that. He sees Christmas from the material side entirely.
It probably will be many years before he appreciates the fact that the material things upon which we rivet such fixed attention are, after all, of relative smaller importance in life than the spiritual things.
The custom of gift giving, the holly and mistletoe, the beautiful multicolored lights, the evergreens, the groaning board, Santa in his red suit and his cotton furs, the greeting cards, dolls, toys, skates, sleds and all the rest — they are but the scenery of the Christmas play. Important, yes, and even vital. But after all, it is the spirit of Christmas which makes it glorious, almost divine.
It is the golden day when hate almost vanishes completely from the earth, when Scrooge loses his grouch, when envy, avarice, covetousness, jealousy, and the numerous other evil passions which afflict us, retire into Pandora’s box.
How magical is this spirit of Christmas!
And we reflect upon all the happiness it bestows, upon the nobler qualities it brings to the surface in each of us, we find ourselves drifting back to the small boy’s observation and changing it slightly.
The only trouble with Christmas, its SPIRIT does not last long enough. If it could only hold out three hundred and sixty-four days longer!