So we are officially well into Christmas season. And with that comes the piles and piles of Christmas-y traditions that somewhat define our whole month. But here’s the thing, I realized that most people probably have no clue why we have them. It’s actually quite comical that something so integral to the season is completely mysterious. So I have decided to “unwrap” (yes… I am judging myself for even using that pun but how many times in the year can you say it?) some of these traditions.
1) The Twelve Days of Christmas: Now this is a funny one because I saw soooooo many Facebook statuses about this the other day. On the 13th of December everyone decided that they were going to be clever and boldly wish everyone a happy “12 Days of Christmas” or ask where their partridge was. But the funny thing is, the 12 Days actually start on Christmas. They lead up to the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January. With this logic in place, can we reinstate this idea. I mean, I don’t want poultry or men with snare drums outside my house. But why is Hanukkah the only holiday that goes to prolong the festivities for an extended period. I feel like receiving presents all the way through the 6th of January would make everyone feel better about starting a New Year and the resolutions that they have already given up on by the 4th.
2) Christmas Cards: Originally the Christmas Card was created by an artist to show scenes that inspired charity and good morals for the holiday season. It depicted scenes of feeding the homeless and spending time with your family. But the best part is schoolboys used to write holiday greetings on christmas cards as a proof that they could read and write. So I will never be able to look at the pre-written Christmas cards or go on Shutterfly without thinking that some school child is being robbed of a lesson.
3) Christmas Lights: So this is one of the the few Christmas traditions that isn’t initially pagan in nature (which is always fun to think about). Back when there was wide spread religious persecution (circa a long time ago) Early Christians would light a candle and put it in their window as a “yo! what’s up” to other Christians. Also realize that in Europe winter is really dark. So candles made you less likely to want to kill yourself around the holidays… can you imagine the difficulty of dealing with your whole family plus it being dark…? So all of this combined to the “candles on the tree” situation. So while the modern Christmas tree light has no religious affiliation, it is still used to help bring cheer and all that jazz… plus something about open flames on cut-down foliage seems like a bad idea. Sidebar: there are on average 230 house fires caused by Christmas trees annually. So turn off your lights on your tree… and spay and neuter your pets.
I hope these add some festive holiday sparkle to your life and you will think about these things as you encounter them over the next few weeks.
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