Saturday, January 02, 2016

Happy Holidays!

I wrote this just before Christmas but things have been happening (more about that later).  I still wanted to share with you why I celebrate this time of year.  I hope your Christmas was great and that 2016 brings you wonderful things.

Sometimes I'm all in favor of political correctness and sometimes it just seems like a pain in the ass.  I mean I entitle this missive 'Happy Holidays' on the off chance that someone reading this celebrates something else.  From Wikipedia: "By the late 20th century, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the African American cultural holiday of Kwanzaa began to be considered in the U.S. as being part of the "holiday season"  Well, my wife and I are agnostic so we don't really give a damn what you call it.  But we do celebrate it.  Gotta ask yourself why.  (BTW, this time of year Wikipedia is asking for donations.  If you can afford it for heaven's sake give them some money.  There isn't a better source of information anywhere on the web so cough up!  We do every year because we sure use the site and I personally admire the people who put it together.)

The reason we celebrate is only marginally complex.  It starts, of course, with our parents.  Both sets of our parents considered themselves to be Christian though none of them attended church regularly.  So we started off with some parts of a Christian upbringing.  Then we started thinking for ourselves and kind of got over it.  (Our favorite, if rude, comment came from some movie or tv show refering to one's belief in God as having an "imaginary friend".  Sorry but I had to say it!)

So now we are in our mid-60's; haven't had any religious feelings in probably 50 years and yet we have our Christmas tree in the living room.  What's with that?  I wish people "Merry Christmas" all over town.  Huh?  Am I just full of crap?  I would argue not - but who wants to say they are full of it?

First of all, I don't believe in all the religious stuff but one of the most important founding principles of this country is freedom of religion.  That's one of the reasons I'm so proud of being a vet, I support your right to practice whatever religion you like even though I don't agree.  And if you wish me "Merry Christmas" all I do when I respond in kind is to basically say "I hope you have things to celebrate in this holiday season".  It's verbal shorthand.  Well, who doesn't like a party?

Now our tree.  Now our tree has become the story of our family.  The tree itself is a 4 foot (bit over a meter for your world dwellers) guy that we bought our first Christmas in the Netherlands.  So, just looking at it reminds us of one of the great experiences of our lifes.  So then we dress it up.  The lights do absolutely nothing for us except make it prettier.  The pointed ornement on top is simple and not religious.  (It also reminds us of the time many years ago when my brother-in-law made a star out of aluminum foil for our tree but that's another story.)

The ornements are the point for us.  We have all kinds of things hanging on that tree; our tree of life.  There are things the kids made when they were kids; not 40 somethings!  There are things my wife's mother gave us.  There are swarovski crystal things we bought back when they made different things every year.  (Last time I looked they were just hanging a '2015' sign on their annual star these days.  Needless to say we stopped buying them!)  There are little straw things we bought in the Netherlands.  Every item has it's story.  It's the story of our lives; our family; our love.  Isn't that the whole point of the holiday season?  So call me a fool but don't touch my Christmas tree!

Happy Holidays, folks.  And Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and whatever greetings of the season that you may prefer.  Thanks for stopping by.