Just after Halloween, if you go into most, if not all, retail establishments, you might well hear Andy Williams singing It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year as you shop for your wants, wishes, and needs. That timeframe certainly seems to be the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. Andy’s song is very upbeat and designed to help you think good thoughts about all that goes with the upcoming end-of-year holidays.

The lyrics tell of “parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.” The kids will be “jingle belling, and everyone telling you, ‘Be of good cheer.’” There will also be “much mistletoeing, and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.” Which, in theory, all adds up to the “most wonderful time of the year.”

To some extent, I agree with that tuneful sentiment. It’s definitely nice to plan parties, wear colorful sweaters, exchange gifts with friends, and gather with family for delicious dinners (and killer desserts). But there are a few downsides. Number one, it’s usually cold. And the sun goes down before dinner. And a lot of people spend more money than they should. And there can be a hassle or two over who’s hosting what event. Plus, there’s a lot of uptightness over who gets what present(s). And it’s cold. Did I mention that?

I wonder if perhaps instead of the end of the year, in the North American hemisphere at least, the most wonderful time of any given trip around the sun is actually now – Springtime. Think about it. For one thing, it’s warm, and getting warmer each day. We get more daylight out of every 24 hours. With Daylight Saving Time, most of the country gains an extra hour of sunshine every afternoon. And that just keeps getting better and better as we march toward June and July.

Sure, there’s the occasional April snowstorm in the northern climes, and everybody in the sunny south has the same car color for a few weeks as the pollen coats everything with a yellow film. But for the most part, the weather in spring is the kind almost everyone says, “Oh, I wish it could stay like this all year long.”

In addition to the addition of sunshine to our days, the spring months also point directly toward the coming of summer. Kids from Kindergarten to college know that the end of the school year is within sight, and with it, the prospect of a good long stretch of time to goof off, or at least not have to tackle readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic every day.

Before summer commences, though, it’s time for Spring Break. For many, that means a trip to someplace much warmer than home. While sandy beaches and cold beverages are part of the traditional getaway, just hanging around with friends and doing nothing for a week can be enjoyable too.

Spring is the beginning of the baseball season. Starting with the major league training camps in March amidst the palm trees in Florida and Arizona, when bats meet balls, it’s the sports’ world’s sign that the MLB Boys of Summer will soon be playing for keeps (and hope springs eternal for every fan).

Plus, all this goodness comes without the pressure and strain of having to pick out the perfect presents for the kids, significant others, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and assorted other relatives and/or friends. I suppose there could be a case to be made for a new Easter outfit or a ginormous chocolate egg, but baskets filled by the Bunny doesn’t really compare to the jolly elf from the North Pole stashing a gaggle of gifts under every Tanenbaum.

You know what else makes this the most wonderful time? The flowering of the earth. Red and green are fine in that other season, but as the trees leaf out and the flora and fauna emerge from dormancy, it’s as if a giant multi-hued paintbrush swept all over the landscape.  Add to that the more pastel colors in evidence in ladies’ and even men’s clothes, and it’s hard not to greet each spring day with a smile.

So, go head, Andy, keep trying to convince us that the most wonderful time of the year is as you suggest. I can definitely see you have a good case to make. But walking barefoot in the new green grass with the sun on your back and a warm gentle breeze floating butterflies past you isn’t bad either. On top of that, it’s much easier to give your pollen-topped car a fast wash than it is to shovel a driveway full of snow.

©MMXXIV. William J. Lewis, III  – Freelance Writer