We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Lots of Saturnalian and also northern European pagan aspects to this season around this part of the world. It's a multicultural festival season.
- Cocktail parties, lots of them. Saturnalian, but on a civilized level. Time to look great and behave well. Get hair done and dig out that tux for the fancy ones. Gotta show up or people will forget that you exist.
- Excesses of foods and hors d'oevres. Saturnalian. Control oneself.
- Random reckless holiday drunken sex. Saturnalian. Sounds exciting, but I have not seen this yet around my neighborhood, so no worries.
- Decorated evergreen trees. Ain't they purty? Pagan German/Scandinavian. I do not think baby Jesus had one, though. We bought one for outdoors and one for indoors. Almost bought a fake one for indoors. It looked perfect, and had 1000 lights but I hate white lights. They look like a bank lobby and if you're not sensible, you might need to visit the bank for Christmas anyway.
- Presents? Sort-of Saturnalian (jewels for your mistresses - they can give you Viagra), sort of European with St. Nicholas. And the wise men with their perfume and stuff. You know what She wants - A Pucci scarf and ballet tickets. We guys generally want nothing other than family happiness. Presents are the worst thing about Christmas unless they are food (we like rare stinky cheeses). We go with 1/person only to keep the tradition going. Yes I know - little kids love opening gifts. Adults don't.
- Snow and cold. Not real Christmassy - northern European. Lucky for me, I like snow and cold and the only thing I love as much around here as a powerful hurricane is a beautiful blizzard that stops life in its tracks and gives us time to not be busy.
- The Messiah. It was written for Easter, for heaven's sake.
- Christmas - it was illegal to celebrate it in New England until, like, a few years ago. You could go to jail for making a savory mince-meat pie at Christmastime. They had pie-police sniffing on the streets of Boston. I have (well, had) and old-tyme Connnecticut Congregationalist pal whose family still refused to acknowledge Christmas. As a Congregationalist by ancient family tradition, I do not think of Christmas as "holy" either but there is nothing not to like about it and the hymns and carols are as good as it gets.
- As for me, any excuse for assembling family is good. I have a big one (5 sibs), and I love them all. Not certain about vice-versa... The holiday decorations are fun, and lovely. Church on Christmas Eve always brings tears to me but whether they are holy or sentimental is hard to tell. All has little to do with whether I am a Jesus-follower or not but yeah, I feel He's worth following as best one can and I take it seriously. Not a grinch, not a scrooge. Birth (Christmas), or re-birth (Easter) - all good lives of the living Spirit.
The History of Christmas Trees – How Did the Tree Come to America
There is no evidence that the modern custom of a Christmas tree originated in paganism. The Romans did decorate their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. Late in the Middle Ages, the Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees in their homes or outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. The modern-day Christmas tree evolved from these early German traditions.
The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (1763–1791) to garrison the colony against American attack.
The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first image of a Christmas tree was published in 1836
Even this Jew knows that Christ was born in the spring. The only time reference in the New Testament was "when shepherds watched their flocks by night". Judea gets COLD overnight in the winter, and no sane shepherd was going to be outside at night if he didn't have to be.
The ONLY time when the shepherds stayed out all night was when the ewes were birthing, late March or early April.
December 25th has nothing to do with Saturn. Tradition and the Church Fathers decided that Jesus' conception happened on the traditional anniversary of Creation, which is the Spring Equinox. Nine months later we celebrate the feast day of his birth. That's been the case since at least the 4th century. Probably why the Puritans were so puritanical about the holiday.
I have to disagree about the cocktail parties and white lights. One or two informal get togethers is enough. And I love the clear, brilliant light of cool white LEDs.
Who doesn't like opening gifts? Sure, it's mostly for the kids, but giving and getting presents is fun. It's a good opportunity to get someone a nice piece of clothing or something for their hobby.