Christmas is a fake that has taken root like the holly and survives tenaciously. It has become a goodies grab fest, and helps keep our commercial society stable. Perhaps reason enough to exist.
The wily Christians conquered the outnumbered Celts and supplanted their winter festival with the birth of their God. The wily pagans live on in the numerous traditions the Christians stole, so perhaps it is a fair trade. And no doubt those wily pagans chuckle over their mead, noting this celebration of reverence has become a surfeit of greed.
I have been no fan of Christmas for decades, but its mixed legacy encourages me not to abandon it. My Christian background encourages my enjoyment of the music and traditions. Most commercial intrusions can be muted or turned off. I have some personal traditions I almost follow religiously.
I do not even rail against Santa Claus. I heard his sleigh bells one Christmas Eve when I was five. I saw his sleigh runner tracks in the snow a couple of years later.
I have even been mistaken for Santa a couple of times.
Once, in the line-up in a bank near Christmas, a two year old pointed at me. Unfortunately, my presence terrified him and he started to scream and cry. His parents said things like “But Santa is nice and kind.” I was wise enough not to go Ho Ho Ho.
Another time a family approached me as I walked in a park. A boy, who looked to be six or seven, stopped in his tracks then ran back to his parents. “Santa Claus!” He pointed. Happily he did not cry. They walked past me in silence.
Also, for decades, I lived close to a residence where one of the very first recitations of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas happened. The author of that stirring piece, Clement Moore, who wrote it in 1822, sent a copy to his godfather, the Rev Johnathan O’Dell, of Fredericton New Brunswick. However, the poem was not published until 1837.
This year, I have been brushed by Christmas but twice.
I entered a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. Before any query was out of my mouth, I was ushered to the correct table. I found out the maître d‘ ‘ had been told to be on the outlook for Santa Claus.
And, just this morning, I was told by a revered friend and writer that she was going to write a Christmas Eve column about how silly Christmas really is.
Silly is a kind word.