Christmas The holidays are finally upon us. While most people are really on this week about Halloween (I’m MUCH more a Christmas person myself), it’s nonetheless the beginnings of a wild ride that will fly past us before we’re even aware they’re over.
The interesting thing about holidays in-general is that they often force us to live in the now. Because work and school are often called-off for such events, and with the focus on ritual as well as the unexpected, we’re able to “switch gears” and live outside our regular daily scope. Because of this our idea of “time” is compressed, and to have 4 major U.S. holidays back-to-back, it’s no wonder this season passes us by with the speediest of passage.
Here they COME!! The holiday season can be one of panic for people. We rush around like chickens (or turkeys) with our heads cut off trying to make everything perfect for family and friends that sometimes we forget to enjoy the time together. No matter our beliefs, I love the holidays mostly because they awaken my senses of sight and smell and bring out the inner child in me that is usually suppressed to be a responsible adult.
True!! I do believe the heavy rotation of new sights, scents, dominant musical styles, recipes, and textures all help us peek into a more fantastic world – it’s so easy to fall back into that sense of childlike-wonderment during these times, especially when observing young children.
Last year I was part of a program that encouraged a more conservative approach to the mad holiday rush, and for that I am grateful for how it re-taught me to let go of so much of the “heaviness” that we burden ourselves with in order to try to please others, and to instead revel in the fun and lightness the holidays are intended for. Homemade gifts, volunteering work, taking time each day to participate in the coming holiday, et cetera, all work wonders to provide the respite we all require from the ordinary.
I sometimes get annoyed that the stores have Christmas stuff out before Halloween. I like to enjoy the holidays one at a time. I refuse to Christmas shop until after Halloween is over and even then I make a list and spend one or two days at most shopping. I prefer to spend time with my loved ones and not in a line at a store. We have become a very spoiled and selfish society in my opinion. I remember stories of how my grandparents would get an orange and a pencil from Santa and maybe a small homemade toy. Now our children are making lists months in advance for the latest technology that they “must” have or be social outcasts!
I heard something that I really like a few years ago. My friend had incorporated a simple idea that made Christmas shopping much easier. She gets all of her children three gifts:something they need, something they want and something special. I decided to adopt it and it’s worked well. But first can we have Halloween? Are you dressing up this year? I know how you have loved Halloween in the past.
I’ve always much preferred Christmas to Halloween. I’ve found Halloween to be a bit depressing but I’ve always managed to find ways of getting into the fall/harvest idea behind it. For the past decade I’ve had aspirations to be a Christmas historian in my old age being featured on a television documentary about Christmas, looking very Santa-like. I LOVE the idea of the three-gift idea! And I agree that the over-commercialization of the holidays has been quite ridiculous the past few decades. This is why I’ve been so recently moved by a book I’ve made an annual tradition these past three years:
This book has one of the most misleading titles ever, but Pagan Christmas by Claudia Müller-Ebeling and Christian Ratsch is jaw-dropping in terms of how our modern celebration of the Yuletide season has been shaped over the millenia (and increasingly so, over the past few decades even) by so many archaic traditions that had nothing to do with what we currently perceive them as; the contexts have changed hands, but all the various factors such as why Santa wears red and white, the use of holly and mistletoe, and the decoration of an indoor tree all factor back to a pre-Christian era (i.e. the use and/or eating of oranges during the holidays was used as a symbol for the sun in ancient times). I mention the title appears misleading in that most people hear the term ‘pagan’ and immediately assume the modern interpretation having ties to Wicca witchcraft, but here it simply refers to what the Yuletide celebrations meant to many millenia-worth of December celebrants prior to the life of Christ. I recommend this book heading into the season, for not only the eye-opening factors of its trivia, but also for how simply reading about the course of these changes over time is in itself a sort of celebration in and of itself; it’s a comfort well-earned!
I’ll have to check that out. I would like to hear what our readers think about holidays in general and some fun things they do to simplify and enjoy! Check out our Radio Show about this topic. It will air next Sunday (November 4, 2012) at 10pm central time. There will be a link on the blog on Monday! Happy Friday everyone!