Merry Christmas to all my Christian friends and Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends. Oh, to the non theists out there, I wish you a Happy Thursday.
Every once in a while some curmudgeonly columnist will decry the commercialism of Christmas and urge everyone to get back to the roots of the holiday. If my understanding of the holiday is correct, it celebrates the birth of Christ. So, Christmas is a gigantic birthday party. What do you do at a birthday party? Eat, have fun, give gifts. Which is what people do for Christmas, too. Seems to me that giving people you love presents to celebrate a joyous birth is right in there with the spirit of Christmas. I know that there is a religious component too, but people seem to take that seriously as well. I would guess that Christmas and Easter are the days when the most people go to church. That’s just a guess though.
As a non Christian, I’d think that Easter is the more serious and somber holiday. It commemorates the death and rebirth of Christ, which is serious business. That’s why people take it more seriously as a solemn religious holiday. People don’t give gifts lavishly as they do on Christmas. That seems fitting to me. I will admit that the whole Easter Bunny laying eggs thing is a mystery to me. Who came up with that, Lewis Carroll? It just doesn’t seem to fit in with a somber holiday, but I guess you have to do something to engage the kids.
Chanukah is a different type of holiday than Christmas. It’s a more solemn holiday and the modern tradition of gift giving is the influence of Christmas since the two holidays fall pretty closely together. This year they coincide almost exactly, but Judaism uses a 13 month calendar, not the 12 month calendar of the western world. For those interested Judaism 101 has a pretty good description of the reason behind the holiday.
While you are celebrating, please keep in mind the people who are away from their families working here or overseas fighting against the Islamic Fascists. I won’t point you towards any specific charity, but there are several that benefit military personnel, especially wounded ones. Even a small donation will help make someones holidays a little happier.
Be safe, enjoy the time with your families, and as I tell my son, above all, Don’t Do Anything Stupid. Really, you don’t want to end up as the subject of a blog post, do you?