Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Twelfth Night

Generally speaking, I've lost some of my love for Christmas over the years.

Don't get me wrong. It's still a wonderful holiday, and I enjoy it very much. It's just that, as I have grown older, I've become disillusioned with all of the secularism, over-indulgence, and greed that has come to mark the holiday. Christmas is, after all, first and foremost a religious holiday, and it should be a time for people to remember family, love, and faith, rather than a time for shopping like hysterical maniacs and driving oneself crazy with gifts and food and whatever else.

My family is big on tradition. We always go to church on Christmas Day, we always give gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas (and the ones received on January 1 are always a calendar and a puzzle), we always decorate the tree and give out stockings on Christmas Eve, and we always have a big family dinner. Always. I can't remember a year when we didn't do all of this. It's always been a part of what makes Christmas so special.

But this year, some of the traditions have changed a little. The dinner was at the nursing home where my grandmother lives, instead of at my aunt's house; and instead of giving gifts out each day for the twelve days, we gave them all on two; and some of the gifts we ordered for each other didn't arrive on time (one of them still hasn't).

But does any of that make it any less Christmas? Does the fact that your holiday season didn't go quite as you expected make the day any less special, or holy?

On this, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, I hope you have a merry one. And as Charles Dickens once said, may we all truly know how to keep it well.

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