Silly little season

So maybe it’s just me, but has anyone else noticed this “christmas” thing? Seems like it’s everywhere these days, like you can’t sit down without hearing a jingle on the radio or seeing a colored light …

Ok, so maybe that’s just me being a little pedantic about the whole thing. Actually, I like this time of year – this silly season as my father calls it – with all the hussel and bussel as it were. A month long theme holiday, with much of the time spent preparing for one single days worth of merriment. Or 12 depending on how you put it together (I like vacations too). To hear some speak, this joyous time is a direct result of the importance of the day being celebrated and I agree; not every day you decorate a conifer and give gifts to people you rarely see anymore. Of course, most of those in our Western countries tend to be thinking of the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December, which just happens to be Christmas Day. Coincidence, no?

Actually, no it ain’t, but we have all heard the historical information that the 25th is a bastardization of the Winter Solistice (actually on the 21st), a delightfully pagan little holiday complete with pagan rituals like giving gifts and decorating trees. Co-opt something popular like that and you’ll bask in the light of acceptance as well. But some take it one step further and argue that the thing that is doing the co-opting (JESUS) is the reason that this time of year is so peaceful and so full of joy and caring and blah blah blah. Actually, given the amount of turmoil on this planet daily, one gets the impression of rose coloured glasses, but I digress. It is special, they argue, precisely because of the imagined birth of a fairy tale character.

I tend to disagree, if that was not obvious already. Yes, this time of year is special, of that there is little doubt, at least among Western nations. Is it because of Christ and all that meandering? Sort of – the Christians can only lay claim to being partially to blame that it all occurs specifically in this month and not in some other. They co-opted a very popular set of ideas so they can’t exactly take all the credit. Then why is it so special. Is it because there is just something about this month? Is there magic in the air?

Nope – you know full well that magic is bullshit as is there something being special about this portion of the time stream. The planet was moving the day before and will be the day after in the same way it always does. Rivers continue to flow, the wind still blows, people still need to eat and sleep and pass waste. The 25th is little different than the 26th or the 24th … and yet one can undeniably state that the day seems special. Why? Well, I have an explanation. Now, I can’t say that my take on it is the “SUPER CORRECT OUTLOOK” or anything, but I will say that mine is rational on a philosophical level. Why? Easy – because we make it special. If there were no coloured lights, no special cakes and treats served only at that time, no holidays and no gift exchange, what would the 25th be other than the one after the 24th and before the 26th. If there was no special effort to shop for others, to see friends and family, special movies that marked the occasion or traditions that are followed … if we did not play the countless seasonal songs, if the Christians did not have their candles and wreaths and church events … if there were not special decorations and a special centre piece to the living room and all the other things we do, there would not be a christmas or a special season. Think about it – it is us humans that make this season special. We make the effort to make it special. We make our children anticipate it, we visit people to socialize it and we try to spread some cheer around this time, all in service of this period of time. It is all we can do to make it special. Sure, you can dig in and see that other than the man-made trappings, the 25th is just another collection of seconds, minutes and hours, like any other arbitrary counting scheme. Or you could slap the deep existential part of yourself square in the face and tell it to go to hell – this is a special time precisely because we MADE it that way and you are determined to enjoy it in that manner.

That’s my take. This season is what you and all of us make of it. Take the time and the effort to make it special and it will be. Uplifting, no? 🙂

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One thought on “Silly little season

  1. A few minor spelling errors and whatnot, but solid enough. Might make it into a podcast – haven’t decided yet. 🙂

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