It's that time of year again. Spend spend spend! Get the newest / bestest gadgets for the people in your life, or they won't feel like you love them! Cook, bake and eat and drink too much too! Oh ya - also take time off of work when the weather is nasty, and you can't even really ski yet because winter just started and the ski hills shouldn't be open anyways...
What's the point?
I find myself working this Christmas Eve (which has been the case for the last few years), and I will work Boxing Day and the day after, and probably a few hours a day all week next week. As everyone else in the world is taking time off, I find this to be one of the more productive weeks of the year. I get caught up and even a little ahead!
So, how on earth did our society end up with this Christmas thing anyways?
If you don't know this already, the timing of Christmas has very little to do with the Sweet Baby Jesus. In reality, the early Christian Church elected to adopt the Solstice (which everyone celebrated already) and co-opt it with the Jesus story. The specific pagan celebrations that it supplants were known as Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti (read more on that here). It turns out our little zombie god man was more than likely born around the end of September...and who wants to have a party then?
So - the solstice - the reason we celebrate. It happens to go back a long, long way. Probably to the emergence of mankind as a sentient being in the Northern Hemisphere. If you pay attention (and don't live in an artificially lit world) it is obvious that December 21st is the longest night of the year. Keeping track of the amount of daylight easily shows that it starts to get brighter for longer up here after the 21st. Now, that is reason to celebrate.
But, it's not really a reason to go crazy buying presents or plan ski vacations. In fact, if I ruled the world, the 2 week shut-down would happen in the middle of February when there is actually snow!!!
The whole presents thing...that's the subject of another blog post. Needless to say, consumerism isn't doing the world any favours, so why not just stop. Watch "The Story of Stuff" and you may just change your mind about presents all together...I have, and even though I have an 8 year old boy, and we discuss this, he doesn't love me less because I don't give him presents. He appreciates that the money I save means I work less and have more time to be with him. Win-win-win!
All that being said, I hope everyone can pause to celebrate the return of the light in whatever tradition floats your boat.
This will be news for some, but here at Citizenclass we now have a cat. His name is George and this is how we will be spending the holidays!