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Submitted by Pam on Fri, 11/04/2011 - 03:39
Photo taken by my sweetie.
It is no secret - at least to any of my friends - I do love the Winter Holiday Season!
Most of you must understand or you most likely wouldn't be here! But I also know some of my readers probably think I am nuts!
Earlier this year, my dear friend TeriC and I shared a conversation about the whole Christmas and Winter Holiday thing and I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you as well.
I just can't see what is to be gained by cramming all the beauty and joy and excitement and love that is a part of Christmas into a few busy frantic days. It simply does not make sense to me. And far too many people seem to see the holidays as something they must "just get through".
The winter holidays, with roots in so many cultures and traditions from very early times, are a richly colored tapestry that deserves to be savored and enjoyed and shared. It is these little traditions that can help keep us sane and give our children continuity in the face of challenges to and assaults on the structure of the family unit.
I realize that Christmas Day itself is an very important Christian celebration, but even within that single context there is so much to appreciate and preserve from all corners of the earth. I personally see the season as an opportunity to honor and delight in a treasury of traditions handed down from those who lived and celebrated before us.
With our eye on the ball so to speak, we here in the United States seem to be focused on one day - December 25th. However, people living in countries all over the world celebrate the "winter holidays" for much longer - some beginning in late November and others celebrating well past the first of the new year. And one thing I see as a thread of commonality among them all is time with family and friends. Not just one day but many!
I have eagerly adopted many of the special days celebrated in other cultures and in so doing have discovered that the winter holidays are just full of undiscovered surprises and magic.
My younger brother loved Christmas even more than me! Having survived many, many Christmases during which our well meaning Mom tried to do almost everything on Christmas Eve, he created a rule at his house. All preparations must be done by midnight December 23. If it wasn't done, it was left undone. The 24th and 25th were to be relished and enjoyed in the company of those he dearly loved.
I have actually moved the date back to December 21 - Solstice. If it isn't done by then, I let it go and focus on the magic of the season - the people I love, hot cocoa, decorations, twinkling lights on snowy lawns, Christmas cookies, feasts, gifts, cozy fires, trees filled with ornaments carrying memories of Christmas past, candlelight, smell of fresh cut evergreens, carols....
Running around at the last minute to buy and wrap a bunch of gifts, tearing them open and then tearing down the tree and decorations as soon as possible after doesn't leave room for magic.
And whether we know it or not, we all need magic.