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Monday, December 19, 2005

Enjoy Your Pagan Tree

I'm going to be officially signing off here until possibly around the New Year. A few things to ponder while the War on Christmas goes on:

  • "Christmas" trees were actually considered pagan by most Americans as recently as the 1840's.

  • The term "yule" refers to large logs that the Nords would burn in celebration for surviving the winter season. Each spark of a yule log was meant to represent a better harvest.

  • The name "Santa Claus" is a wild Americanization of Dutch (Sint Nikolaas -> Sant Klaus -> Santa Claus) for Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children and sailors. One of Nick's miracles was to restore life to three children who had been quite literally butchered.

  • Jesus was almost certainly not born in the winter months.

  • The first person to know who was naughty or nice wasn't Santa ... but Odin. During the Yule it was widely believed by the Nordic folk that Odin would fly around at night and decide who would prosper and who would perish. Rather than risk being judged, most people simply stayed indoors.

  • Rudolph the Reindeer isn't just a recent American addition to Santa's posse, but was actually a mascot for Montgomery Ward department stores.

  • Recently, Christmas trees hung upside down have become more and more fasionable, almost certainly indicating that the holiday has somehow apexed.

    So, in the true spirit of the day when Christ wasn't born: I suggest burning a large log under your upside down tree ... keep your kids out of the meat market, buy a drink for your local sailor, sing a couple songs in honor of your local department store and try to avoid being seen by Odin if you dare go outside.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, peeps. See you next year.


    Winkyboy said...

    Sadly, anyone who reads this and likes /believes in Christmas will almost guaranteed-ly not bother to look up the facts about it, and write you (or anyone else who disses their baby) off as a heretic.

    My own Christmas history is kinda funny; my parents found out about it, but liked it too much (or thought the kids did) to get rid of it instantly, so over a period of about 2-3 years, we had a diminishing tree each year, until finally it was just this tiny, table-top variety with a couple of gifts underneath it. Our neighbor stopped by once and said it was the last straw. And it was; that was our last Christmas, and I haven't missed it since.

    Josh said...

    One of the things I think is most interesting about Christmas is that it's a pretty personal holiday. Every family has a very specific relationship (or non-relationship) and often their own traditions/rules/etc.

    I love Christmas, at least the sugary center where you spend time with the fam drinking eggnog and catching up on the year that's gone by. I wish it wasn't so commercial since all the gift giving just seems to complicate things more and more. I'd rather people worry about having a good time than what to buy. But it's just one part of a fairly silly holiday which generally seems to work out for the best.