Edie Carey at the Moonlight
Auburn

It's Christmas!!

"But I thought Santa Claus wasn't allowed out until after Thanksgiving..."

"That's so twentieth century of you!" said Lynn.

She was telling me that she and Marian would be taking Josie to see Santa yesterday after they went to get her 0017Christmas pictures taken.  I guess I haven't been paying attention to the calendar shift.

I could probably get crankier about it all if the pictures weren't so damned cute.    Still, it's troubling that the point of Thanksgiving seems to have become the big shopping extravaganza that takes place the next day.  But that's not even the beginning of the shopping season anymore.  Lynn said she woke up the morning after Hallowe'en thinking, "Oh gawd, now it's Christmas..."

It's tedious to fuss about the relentless commercialism of it all.  On the other side there's the Catholic League calling for a boycott against Wal-Mart because they're "banning Christmas."   Wal-Mart caved immediately, of course.   The League's defence of Catholicism makes soulless commercialism look downright appealling.

Do I have to choose between a Christian nation and a market driven engine of democracy?  The ideologues on both sides make me want to pull the blinds and go into mourning.    Of course, the reality isn't really that stark.   Most people aren't ideologues, and somehow manage to balance their cravings for stuff with genuine warmth and generosity. 

Getting through the holidaze is a bit of a minefield for everybody, I guess.  It is so heavily emotionally laden.  All the tensions that exist within families rise to the surface.  We all suffer a bit from the nostalgic longing for the way we imagine that things used to be.  Our fears about our own inadequacies are heightened by the rising tide of expectations, both real and imagined.

And still somehow we manage to find the joy and the comfort in mystery that still seem to be at the root of all of the holiday traditions that blend together at this time of year.  Despite all the trappings, it is about renewal and hope.  Maybe as one gets older, it is more difficult to find, but it's there.0009

Comments

Mark D

It is even worse here in Australia. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, Halloween is a new American import. There is no natural marker for the start of the holiday season. The result, Christmas decorations start appearing sometime in late October. Each week you see ever more Christmas trees and decorations. It starts in small specialty shops, then they begin to appear in department stores. By the second week in November they spread (like a virus) to public spaces; airports malls, sidewalks.

Philly and I flew over to New Zealand last weekend, Both Sydney and Auckland airports are already partially decorated for the holiday. Decorating seems to happen in a desultry fashion. They put up a decoration here there, stop for a few days, then put up a few more. It is a very Aussie approach; laid back no real particular attention to specific dates or markers. But then again, that seems to be typical of most Aussie holidays. Mardis Gras is never celebrated on fat Tuesday. Queen Elizabeth's birthday is celebrated in June (she was born in April) - no one seems to know why.

To add to the oddity of it all, we are going into summer, it was 95 degrees last week. Yet, we are putting up Christmas trees and snow flakes, and dressing little children in winter gear.

You have to appreciate the oddity of it all.

By the way, Jose looks damn cute in her Santa suit.

T Scott

Lynn made the Santa suit.

Bruce the Almighty

Hey it's not much different to Australia this side of the pond.. And the Queen has 2 birthdays because... she's the Queen? As far as I can tell she has an "official" birthday and a real one.. and I am sure someone once told me why but I filed it under things to forget!

The other Mark

The Queen's birthday:
http://www.answers.com/topic/queen-s-birthday

T Scott

That gives us the WHAT -- still kind of blurry about the WHY...

Lynn

An early childhood memory is of my family loading into the car and driving downtown at night to see the Christmas lights, visit Santa, and shop at the big downtown department stores. Now, as soon as we lose Daylight Savings Time and I'm suddenly driving home at night, it makes me think about Christmas. Daylight Savings Time usually ends right around Halloween - so maybe it's a biorhythm thing that's the real trigger here...

I am saddened to see the diminishment of Thanksgiving. It has always been one of my favorite holidays - no commercialization, its main purpose being merely preparing and eating traditional food and being together. And now it seems it's just a day to purchase a commercially prepared feast and rest up and go to bed early so that you can get out at the crack of dawn the next day and buy, Buy, BUY!!! But you'd better be home by lunchtime because the afternoon is given over to stringing up the Christmas lights lest you cause an irreparable disturbance in the overall holiday ambience of the neighborhood. God bless America.

I am awaiting the annual declaration that Thanksgiving is actually a Christian holiday, because the pious and solemn Pilgrims invented it as a way to give thanks unto God. Never mind that the harvest festival was a well-established English custom and that more than half of the participants at the first American Thanksgiving were NOT Christians. And much of the food provided for the feast was the result of friendly intervention by these so-called "heathens".

Let them play football...

Mark D

Marking a birth date seems like a fairly simple calculation. Leave it to the royals to screw it up (dare I say it), royally.

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