Friday, December 1, 2017

How we celebrate Christmas

It started right after Halloween with people complaining about Christmas decorations going up too early. Soon after that the first trickle of Christmas music in public places elicited groans and grimaces. With black Friday came the usual accompaniment of tirades against "commercialism" and the pointlessness and burden of gifts. Soon enough people will start to lament upcoming parties and family gatherings, cookies, Scrooge, eggnog, "Christmas Spirit", and snow. And it all wraps up with a bunch of average citizens in an alley somewhere beating up some poor guy dressed as Santa.

I'm sure there are reasons for all these feelings.

I don't share them. I don't share them at all. I love Christmas.

I think gifts of all kinds are wonderful, even sort of junky ones. Just look at them all wrapped up under the tree, full of unbelievable promise! Just look at the tree! I think Christmas decorations are entirely fair game as of November 1. The more lights the better. My ideal is large, glowy, multi-colored lights scrupulously outlining all rooflines, windows, doors, and walkways, all topped off with a full sized glowing Santa with sleigh and reindeer on the roof. But I'll happily accept pretty much any kind of lit up junk anywhere. Scrooge is one of the greatest stories ever told, and while there's not much beyond Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts Christmas for actively listening to, and maybe the Nutcracker, and White Christmas, seven weeks of all that other Christmas stuff lurking in the background is as good as anything else to me.

You might think I am being sarcastic, but I'm not. I mean it. I love Christmas.

You might wonder why I don't celebrate Christmas then.

It's because I'm Jewish. Not religiously, but culturally. And even if I took Christmas as an American Holiday, which I just... can't, I still couldn't celebrate it. I'm a Jew. It's a holiday.

All I can do is observe it.


  1. How I celebrate Christmas:

    No decorations; the cats would just trash them anyway, and I won't be here at Christmas. And nobody comes over who would enjoy them. If I'm feeling ambitious, I tape Christmas cards to the kitchen cabinets, where they will likely remain until around mid-February.

    Gifts? No shopping to do. For many years now my family has done "Yankee Swap," so I only have to provide one wrapped gift. I left it in NH last summer, so that's done. The kids still get gifts, which are now gift cards from indie bookstores in their part of New Hampshire. I used to get them books, but I have no idea of their tastes now that the youngest is 11.

    Music? I might play a CD from the Christmas Revels. A library in Indiana has a nice presence on Facebook, and wants to know my favorite holiday music. I wanted to write "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" by Wierd Al Yancovich, but decided that people might think I am a grump. Which I'm not, really.

    Lights? Pretty, but a poor use of electricity. I used to say that out loud; I don't any more.

    I will fly to NH a few days before Christmas. I will hang out with my two sisters, their kids, and their grandkids (in various combinations), for probably a day too long. And then I'll fly home. Another year finished.

  2. Summer Solstice is kind of somber even while it's couched in all the temperate effulgence of life. The Winter Solstice is truly a day of celebration. Christmas? Meh'. It's just Rome reasserting it's power through cultural appropriation.
    That is, until the Bourgeoisie got hold of it! Feh'! What a mess!


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.