Identifying With the Holidays

Call me Grinch, but don’t most of the holiday songs, stories, and many traditions that originated on other continents decades ago need a revamping? The songs are old, too old to have meaning to youngsters today. The first Christmas celebrated on land that is now part of the United States took place near Tallahassee, Fla., in 1539, according to historians.

Regardless of when Christmas holiday celebrations began, there are those die-hards who staunchly support our maintaining the activities of these celebrations regardless of their relatability or lack thereof. These fans feel that a variety of celebrations that have been carried down from generation to generation should be maintained as the valuable traditions they are. In spite of feeling nauseous every time I hear Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, they may have a point.

On the other hand, with situations like climate change, we have replaced the soft-sparkly-snowflakes-falling-gently-on-trees vision with the fear of debilitating snow drifts and power outages of epic proportions that threaten holiday well-being, fun activities, and safe travel. Many holiday practices seem too expensive, fattening, wasteful, and without meaning for today’s society. I mean if you have “…visions of sugarplums dancing in your head,” you’ve got substance problems or mental health issues according to many. I’ll bet A1C numbers (diabetics will get this) after the holidays are higher than any other time of the year. (I might be speaking from personal experience on that one – lol.)

Isn’t it time to create some new songs and traditions that speak to fellowship, fun, family, and good times without the boredom of unrelatable activities or unhealthy parties and meals that we struggle to recover from the rest of the year? This is to say nothing of millions going into debt in order to ‘spread good cheer.’

Phew! Having said all that bah humbug-ness, here’s a lovely poem that depicts the true joy of the season to me. It’s an oldie but a goodie:

Holidays 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.