Thursday, December 26, 2013
post christmas post
Some of you might have figured out that this has not usually been my favorite time of year. In the past for many years I actively hated it. The constant christmas carols and winter songs everywhere you go, the encroachment on Thanksgiving and now Halloween, the sappy christmas shows and specials on TV that take over, the ridiculous over-commercialization, the unreal expectations, the obligatory nature of the gift giving, the absurd claim that any tragedy that happens in December is somehow worse because it happened at this time of year, the so-called 'war on christmas' because other people celebrate other holidays at this time of year and like to have that acknowledged.
If it could just be contained to a week or so it would be so much more tolerable.
I'm not nearly so bad about it as I have been. Mostly these days I'm fairly ambivalent about it though I still avoid going into stores from Thanksgiving on.
And actually there are some customs I like about it like the outdoor lights and the ornaments, especially the glass mold blown antique ones. I have several from my childhood that I think I've finally figured out how to display, if I can find room. And bringing trees in the house. And even the idea of gift giving.
But these are modern variations of the ancient, older than christmas, mid-winter solstice celebration customs and if I think of this season in those terms, I find I am starting to reconnect with some of the pleasure. Eat, drink, and be merry. And be generous.
Yes, I can definitely get behind that.
Maybe next year I'll light some luminarias on the longest night and bring in some pine or cedar boughs. Can't in good conscience bring in a tree. They are, after all, living sentient beings. You don't just cut one down to display it's corpse and then throw it on the trash pile.
The reason for the season is much more fundamental than any one god's claim to a day or festival or celebration. It is the end of the long night, the promise of the warmth and life to come, food is still abundant from the harvests, the ale and wine made earlier in the year has matured, there is more leisure time while the fields lay dormant. The turning of the wheel.
It is the rhythm of life.