Terra: Christmas, The Winter Holidays
Up here in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas is officially December 25th. Officially. The reality is that Christmas starts November 2, and lasts until around January 6th. Between then and January 1st, there is an endless tidal wave of holiday music done by anyone who even has one hit, and endless religious stuff too. Sometimes it’s enough to make one go “bah humbug”, and join Scrooge in the corner there.
But the tidal wave can be quite healing in the proper doses. Sit down for your choice of holiday music played by people who really love music.
But then a favorite song comes on, one that reminds you of that elementary school party when holidays were simple: cupcakes, cards, and a song or two. Then afterward, all you would have to do was wait and wonder.
Compared to older siblings, I had a more lavish Christmas. My construction worker dad saw to that. I got Easy Bake Ovens, a chord organ, record players and even a typewriter one year. And as the youngest girl, some pretty nice clothes. Mom would cook a from scratch dinner for all of us, and until our real tree caught fire in 1967, a real tree with a unforgettable scent.
And a Christmas memory. I was up that night looking for Santa Claus, and then went into the living room and tripped over my new bike. No more Santa, but what the hell-I had a new bike and loved it.
We gather together….to give thanks for our blessings. As for me, I prefer to count the beginning of this to the Lincoln Proclamation, where a war-weary nation stopped to give thanks and feast a little among themselves. Holidays can morph into something wonderful if we let them.
Hanukkah. For Hanukkah, there is a different thanksgiving. It’s thanks for freedom from oppression, for the lights coming back on and a new start. You go into a wrecked Temple for the first time, hoping that something has been overlooked taking inventory, and lo and behold, in a corner or a shelf, there’s a vial of oil! At least there will be light! Will it last long enough for a new batch? It does-eight nights!
New Years Eve (Turn over a new leaf, or just a new bedspread?) Whether its champagne or chenille, there’s a moment of hope and celebration of that hope tonight. Maybe it will be better-or worse-but at least it will be different
While Yule is considered almost analogous to Christmas, Yule these days is quite a separate holiday. For one thing, its observed on December 20-22, depending on the time of the Winter Solstice. Shortest day/longest night. From this day, the days will get longer until the Summer Solstice-longest day/shortest night.
About Christmas in July. Now after the aforementioned tidal wave in November, why do it again in July? First of all, the Southern Hemisphere is summery during December. If you want to have an old-fashioned Christmas there, it has to be in July. Next, in other places, July is a holiday lull, hot and sometimes slow. A holiday that reminds hot people that cold is coming is most welcome. Plus, the pressure for presents is off with Christmas in July. Nobody asks, or expects any. Its enough to have chilled egg nog, listen to a few carols, and relax by the cold hearth.
So while the weather outside may be frightful, your mood doesn’t have to be that way. Find your way to a happy and calm winter. And also continue to explore Terra: The Musical World.