Growing up Christmas still had at least the semblance of being a religious holiday. It begin Christmas Eve when we would set up the Christmas tree as a family and get the opening of gifts out of the way. Then Christmas Day was for church and family gatherings.
I suspect even then my father knew that Santa Claus was killing Christmas and tried to keep the consumerism separate from the religious aspects of the season.
For the profiteers of consumerism who have hijacked Christmas, the season begins after Thanksgiving and ends Christmas Day. In reality, the 12 Days of Christmas, which practically only exist anymore as an echo in a song or two, begins Christmas Day and ends with Epiphany, January 6th.
From the Wikipedia on Epiphany: “…is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles.”
Most people by this time are like “Hey, we and ours got our gifts a couple of weeks ago, got drunk New Year’s Eve and are mostly concerned with the National Football League playoffs by this point in time, Christmas is still going on? Acknowledge Jesus as representative of God and give gifts to someone else? Forgetaboutit.”
If Santa hadn’t killed Christmas, Epiphany might at least be noted, but did you hear it even mentioned in the mass media yesterday?
Anyway, at our house growing up it was acknowledged and that was when we used to take down the Christmas decorations, long after many Christmas trees were brown and shedding needles in back alleys waiting for garbage pickup.
Epiphany was also my father’s birthday. He would have been 90 this year had he not succumbed to polysystic kidneys many years ago.
So that is why the seasonal wreath I had my wife put on our 1990 Toyota corolla is still there.
I used to chop 180 acres of corn for silage for New Vrindaban’s cows. After getting the crop in the silos, I would chisel plow the stubble and plant a rye cover crop for the winter. That would be done before Thanksgiving.
For Thanksgiving weekend I would go to Washington, DC, and stay there until Christmas Day. I was involved in logistics with a company that was selling flowers every day on the streets of DC, DC being a city where people buy flowers. Some cities have a culture of buying flowers, and some don’t, but DC is one that does.
While in DC I noted that many cars would have wreaths on their grills during the holiday season and I liked the idea. While it is anomalous behavior here in the Upper Ohio River Valley, I still do it.
We can’t fit a whole wreath on our small grill but a swag works. Put a wreath on your door and a few dozen people might see it. Put one on your grill and every trip to town hundreds or maybe even thousands will see it.
So that is how I try to spread some holiday cheer, and why it is still on my grill, though today, being the day after Epiphany and an unseasonably warm sunny day (by noon I have saved 1.7 kwhs of electricity with my solar thermal unit) I will probably take it off.