Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Psst! Spoiler Alert. Don’t let any little kids see this.
I was about seven years old when I figured out who Santa Claus was. I didn’t say a word to my parents, so they finally sat me down at age 11, a few weeks before Christmas and asked me if I knew “about Santa Claus,” that he was an idea, an example of generosity and kindness, but not really an actual person. I said I had known about Santa for a long time, and they asked why hadn’t I ever said anything to them. I told them I didn’t want to hurt their feelings because they worked so hard at Christmas.
They seemed really relieved that I wasn’t completely delusional.
Once you figure out Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy stop being real too, but I hadn’t said anything about them either, for the same reason.
The divinity of Jesus was the next thing to go, but my mother wasn’t so happy about that one. I still think he is a great teacher, but not God.
So why is Christmas still “celebrated” at my house? Because I love the lights, the trees, the food, Wassail, giving gifts, mistletoe, people making donations for the disadvantaged (even if it’s only for the tax break), getting together with family and friends, Medieval and Renaissance Christmas music, and It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. If we had a fireplace, there’d be a Yule Log in it.
The fun stuff is all borrowed from Paganism anyway. Even the supposed birthday of Jesus. And when it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, it’s good to have these things to cheer us up, especially at the end of a year of little peace and even less good will.
However and whatever you celebrate, have a wonderful week, and let’s meet here again just before 2020 ushers in a new decade.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;−
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;−a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.