Editor’s Note: This post is full of holiday allusions. Gird yourselves, I’m not sorry. 🎅 😉
There are so many different holiday traditions that occur this time of year. I was raised Christian, and in the US, so Christmas is the one I identify the strongest with. Besides this major holiday, some of the other more popular ones are Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, of course. But there is also Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and some Pagan celebrations, among others.
It’s important that we strive to be mindful of all holidays celebrated this season. This time of year I find I’m filled with thoughts of good cheer and well-being toward my fellow man. (I blame all the kum-ba-yah type themes we’re bombarded with in songs and movies that tell us we’re supposed to “keep Christmas with us, all through the year.” 😊).
–There is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra song about the runaway who makes a wish on an old neon sign–which represents the Christmas Star–because she needs help getting home. Then, an angel–disguised as a kid, who God sent to Earth to search for one sign of decency in humans–goes into a bar and tells the bartender the runaway is outside and can’t get home (and it’s Christmas Eve). So, this cranky, old bartender takes all the profits he’s made that night and gives the money to the runaway so she can buy a plane ticket and go home. (And, if anyone can listen to THAT song without getting at least a little teary, your heart may be two sizes too small! 😝)
–Then there is the warmth you feel when you watch old Christmas movies or hear songs about the holidays; the feeling that wakes up the 5-year-old in you who still believes in magic, that’s what this season is supposed to be about!
The holidays cause angst
Unfortunately, even this special time of year causes us angst these days. The season has become so commercialized that I worry we miss the true point of it. People actually cause physical harm to each other to get things! Stupid things, like toys. Not life-saving food or medicine, THINGS that will collect dust in the corner of a kid’s bedroom once the batteries wear out. 😩
It’s hard to remember the true purpose intended by these days in amongst all the parties and concerts; Secret Santas and gift-giving (and buying); and travel/visits from family and friends. That craziness just adds to our already over-hectic, modern lives (and COVID isn’t making this any easier for us! 😝)
Disrespect towards unfamiliar holidays
We are taught to “love thy neighbor”, but then there is the annual battle about “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”; there are manger scenes vs. menorahs; and, we can’t forget, the 12 Days of Christmas, 8 nights of Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa! Where does the tree and Santa fit into all that? All these traditions are supposed to help bring out the best in us and they just end up causing us more strife.
I tend to gravitate towards saying “Happy Holidays” because it best encompasses all the activities occurring this season (including Thanksgiving!) That is until we get to the week of Christmas. Then I go full bore and EVERYONE gets a “Merry Christmas!” from me. (I even wear a Santa hat that week, and put those cute reindeer antlers on my car…still not sorry!) 🤶😉
A short history of Christmas’ origins
History tells us that one of the high holy days for the pre-Christian Romans was December 25th, the day they celebrated their sun god, Sol. Evidently, when they converted to Christianity, some elements of familiar traditions stuck. My point is, if our forebears can figure out how to handle this mash of cultures, traditions, and religions, we should be able to as well.
So, light a menorah (or a kinara); put a star on your tree; compliment your neighbor on his nativity scene; put out some milk and cookies for Santa, and find ways to connect with each other in this “Season of Giving”. (This is especially important in 2021 when COVID will STILL be keeping many of us physically apart.) Let’s try to keep that spirit of Good Will with us throughout the rest of the year as well, shall we?
To close I ask you, why can’t we put our differences aside this special time of year and all be friends? After all, isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about?
Tell me about some of your special holiday traditions in the comments!
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