The Search for the Slogan
Early on, I tried to capture the idea behind what I was doing to a Bible study class I was holding. They asked me why on earth I was skipping Christmas. I tried as best as I could to explain it to them, but the right words just wouldn’t come. I said that I expected to have new traditions and new purpose next year, but that I needed a year off. It was a year to clear my Christmas brain and figure out what was important. I think I even said something about Jesus actually being born in April or something.
But the more I spoke, the more perplexed and troubled everyone looked. Was I crazy? Was this just some reason to be controversial? It seemed like such a great idea at the time, but now I wasn’t so sure. I said that this year I was indeed throwing the baby out with the bath water, but that it was okay. I’d find the baby next year. (Given that I work with Child Protective Services in my secular job, this analogy didn’t go over very well.)
So I asked my wife how I might be able to explain it to people. She has a knack for coming up with analogies that set people back for a moment, but make really good sense in the end. I told her that I thought this year was kind of like a “Christmas enema” – it might not be the most pleasant thing to go through, but it can be very cleansing in the end. Thankfully, she didn’t think that sounded too good.
She decided that this would be our “Swiss Christmas”. I have to admit, I thought she was going somewhere with a cheese analogy at first. But she was thinking more along the lines of the geo-political spectrum. This year, we would be Christmas “neutral”. We weren’t really going to celebrate, but we weren’t going to skip it either. We were going to stay out of the way and let others do their thing.
There it was. A slogan was born. Now I could tell people that I was having a Swiss Christmas. It was so much better that telling them that, “No, I was in fact not getting ready for Christmas.” I was able to say a much gentler, “We’re keeping it mellow this year.” No big political statement. No looks of utter confusion or, worse yet, fear. No, this was a year to just observe and take it all in.
And then, the mail came.