So, I don’t really celebrate the birth of Christ. I think he was probably a great guy and all, but I’m with the Jews on that one. I can’t bring myself to dance around and call him our very own Hercules. I do, however, celebrate the scientific and historical part of the season, which would be the winter solstice.
I like celebrating the longest night of the year because it really means that hey…if you can get through the longest night of the year, then you’re doing pretty good, and you can probably make it through until the shortest night of the year when that rolls around in June. Kudos to me and my mad survival skillz.
Of course, this isn’t as significant these days to those of us living in gas-heated homes with tables piled with ham and cupboards full of canned things we’d rather give away than eat. I still believe that it means something, though because there are people out there right now who are struggling to survive just one more day.
We celebrate the holiday by setting up a tree and decorating it, just like most people on the block. We give away presents on Christmas day because that’s the day that America deemed everyone should get off of work, regardless of personal beliefs. It’s pretty much Christmas, but in a Simpsons kind of way without any church going or outright thankfulness for anything but each other, which is what matters.
Usually we light a Yule candle, but we didn’t this year because our kids split off in different directions to visit their respective other-parents. Maybe next year. To anyone unfamiliar with this concept, it’s when you light a candle and set it up to safely burn till morning. This is a remnant of the yule log tradition, which you may have heard of. This has been replaced by most Americans with burning lights on the xmas tree and on our homes. The tree in the house is an old tradition, too. Evergreen trees last through the winter without a problem, so let’s stick one in our living room and hope we last, too.
This all is a simple representation of sticking it out through the longest night till morning. Incidentally, this practice predates most everything else you see during the holidays. I could break down everything that is symbolic about what we do, but I won’t because I got chocolate for the holiday and it’s looking at me right now.