Merry Christmas

Christmas display in a Brazilian shopping mallFrohe Weihnachten and happy Winter Solstice. This is is the best part about Christmas: it’s the afternoon of December 24 and the stores close. Finally! The insanity of the annual shopping season is over. There is one good step toward peace on earth: the malls and shopping centers close for a day-and-a-half.

In a good part of the Northern Hemisphere it’s Winter, the “dark and cold season” so naturally for ages people had the desire to gather around a fire, a stove, a … TV, and turn on some extra lights to expel the dreariness of Winter. The Christian holiday is the most prominent one of these winter festivals, but not the only one.

In our time, there are many layers of meaning and symbolism attached to Christmas, from its pre-Christian roots (Yule, Saturnalia) to the contemporary preoccupation with worshiping the gods of consumerism. The significance to Christians of celebrating the birth of the Messiah on December 25 is also not un-controversial.

Personally, I could not care less about any of this. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I stay away from and major shopping establishments. We get a tree from a local non-profit and decorate it with decorations that are either home made or fair trade. And one string of lights. We get some presents for the kids and Laura cooks a feast. Then, on Christmas, we celebrate our family. this year we also have some friends and family over.

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