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When is Christmas this year? Well, it kind of depends

Updated: April 19, 2011 5:31AM

‘When is Christmas this year?”


I have to admit that when I saw this question online, it made me shudder. I mean, yeah, like it’s on Jan. 6, 2011, or something.

Well, actually, it is. If you happen to belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Then again, it’s on Jan. 7, 2011, for anyone who shares the old-rite or old-style Eastern Orthodox tradition.

That’s because those traditions still use the Julian calendar to mark their festivals and sacred days. When the rest of us opted for the Gregorian calendar, all of our holidays, for the most part, shifted back 10 days or so, give or take, for astronomical adjustments.

The others opted to stay true to the actual days themselves. So in the Eastern Orthodox realm, Jan. 7, 2011, is really Dec. 25, 2010.

Oops! Now I gave away the answer about when Christmas is this year for the rest of us.

But regardless of when you celebrate Christmas —or even if you celebrate it at all, or celebrate something entirely different — this has been a season packed with community events in this part of the Fox River Valley in northern Illinois.

It’s the holiday season in Elgin, and just looking at what has made it onto our personal calendars in the Elgin area is mind-boggling and fraught with potential triple bookings for the same time slots. Want a quick online overview? Look at the brochure from “Elgin Home for the Holidays” at http\\ There you will find a bevy of events, as well as listings for the 27 or so organizations that made it happen.

It’s the holiday season in Elgin, and Elgin does not let you miss that fact. It kicked off with the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, sponsored by the Coalition of Elgin Religious Leaders. That event drew a record attendance this year, demonstrating that yes, we can all worship together if we put our minds and spirits to it.

Of course, houses of worship are filled to the brim with services, events, outreach and the message of the season.

There was Window Wonderland in downtown Elgin. Dutch oven cobbler. Roasting chestnuts. Decorations. Entertainment. A living Nativity. Shopping. Eating.

It’s the holiday season in Elgin. Kids come home from college. Family comes in from out of town. The ice skating rink opens on the Civic Plaza. There are the holiday parties. And there is eating. And shopping. And eating.

It’s the holiday season in Elgin, filled with concerts. Christmas pageants. Plays and drama about the season, like “Twist-A-Carol,” “Mooseltoe,” “That Holiday Show (Yes THAT One),” and “The Nutcracker.” The Civic Ballet of Chicago. Janus Theatre. Vex Theatre. Hemmens Cultural Center.

There is “Touching on Traditions” at the Elgin Public Museum. The Elgin Area Historical Society. The Ecker Center’s Festival of Trees at Gail Borden Public Library. The Salvation Army is out in force with its bright red kettles and cheerful bells, inviting all to share in their bounty so that the holidays might be filled with good things for all.

Holiday music fills the air, thanks to the Elgin Community College Jazz Ensemble, Elgin Children’s Chorus, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Choral Union, Elgin OPERA, Heartland Voices, and the Judson University Choir, to name but a few.

Because it’s the holiday season in Elgin, a community filled with community and unity. Something to appeal to everyone. And despite the frigid weather and fitful snow, we know how to roll out the holiday season for all.

And none of this is meant as glib, or tongue-in-cheek, or poking fun at things. I am sincere in this. We, right here in our little corner of Illinois, have more than enough “get you in the spirit of the holidays” events than you can possibly get to and maintain the rest of your life, all things being equal.

It’s the holiday season in Elgin, and just as the Grinch could not stop Christmas from coming, neither can anything else. It comes every year, right around this time, whenever that is for you.

And as the song says, it’s a most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy this holiday season, and indeed all of them, for all of their best has the potential to make you all of your best.

Right here, right now, we have the venues, the variety, and the vigor to make it happen here in this City in the Suburbs. And as this holiday season winds up for whenever you celebrate Christmas, or whatever, have a safe and satisfying one.

It’s all wonderful, and thanks to all who worked on these special times, and those who supported them by attending. This is the stuff of which memories — really great memories — are made.

Oh, and your assignment for the coming year is to figure out when Christmas is in 2011 . . . or . . . whenever . . .

Have a very merry Christmas, holiday season, time during this special moment in the year!

Mike Murschel is in private practice as a church image consultant and spiritual director. He writes and provides workshops and retreats on the relationship between the sacred and culture.

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