i thought maybe it just didnt feel like Christmas this year. then i began to think, what exactly does Christmas feel like anyway? a kind of vague happy mood, because of all the decorations and lights, the traditional foods and eggnog, and cards in the mail? i have been giving this some thought.
from a Christian point of view, im expected to get all reverent and talk about how Christ was born and the gift God gave us and all that. truth is, i think about that all year. i dont associate the holiday trappings with the birth of my Lord on earth, even though i was raised as a catholic, and used to go to midnight mass every Christmas eve – which i loved, because i like celebrating that event. it just seemed to me like Christmas coincided with our little celebration of Jesus’ birth.
then there is the rest of it. the holly, the lights, the gift giving, and the dinner. it all can be fun, and pretty, but what exactly is the point? as a child, i thought the point was the gift giving. but really, there are so many traditions that stem from so many different sources, i guess the point now is just to have a holiday to celebrate. which is full circle from the early origins in the holiday, when people were celebrating the winter solstice, at which point the days again begin to get longer and the nights begin to get shorter. it seems even the people in the southern hemisphere have their winter holidays.
so it seems the whole point of having a holiday in the middle of winter is to relieve the winter blues, and give people something to look forward to. but Christmas isnt as much fun as it used to be. i dont think its because im grown up. i think its because the whole point has been obscured, at least here in america.
during the depression franklin roosevelt extended the shopping days to start the day after thanksgiving, to boost the economy. it was a good idea for the time. but it became a tradition in itself, a purely commercial tradition, because most retail stores do such a big part of their business between thanksgiving and Christmas. especially on black friday. i think, over time, it got pushed more and more, so that the focus of Christmas was on buying gifts, buying decorations, buying holiday food, buying everything. people get really stressed over getting their shopping done in time, and getting something for every one. its not fun. its work. its frustrating being stuck in traffic, having to weave through crowds of people, having to stand in long lines to pay for your stuff, just so you can go home and spend all evening wrapping presents.
i think im going to have fun, and enjoy a festive mood again. i wanted to shop this year instead of giving gift cards, and my plans were delayed two weeks because of the ice storm. the beau and i had to face the push of the crowds, something neither of us enjoy. but we managed to get through it unscathed, had a nice supper at quizno’s, and went home. the gifts will be new years gifts instead of Christmas gifts, but oh well. thats not the point.