Here we are again: pushing through crowds to buy crap, squeezing in mandatory generosity and “quality time” with people we moved away from for clear and sometimes talk show worthy reasons, or locked into awkward, hopefully drunken, office parties where you can leave with an adequate amount of regret and sugar cookies. Still, people get tangled up in what we’re wishing each other, when if we are to be honest, we really expect food, presents, and paid vacation days stuffed with fa-la-la ’till we’re relieved for the regular schedule of a work week.
In an all too often gloomy, disjointed, illusion saturated existence, I say we take the opportunity of the “Holiday Season” to celebrate every dang moment. We need joy, and sometimes scheduling joy is like rem
embering to eat your fruits’n’veg, and then remembering that you really dig fruits’n’veg, and they make you feel like a super hero. Happiness is an essential nutrient. Here’s how to cram in the reasons to celebrate.
Chanukah (December 8-16)
You know, Jewish Christmas. Recently popularized as the 2-for deal Christmukkah, here’s the story as I know it: Biblical Dudes get stuck in a cave with only enough oil to burn their lamp for 1 day. The oil lasts for 8. Ta-da, Festival of Lights. I’m guessing these Biblical Dudes got out of the cave, or it wouldn’t be such a good story, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is a universally small miracle that deserves a holiday. How often have you had a surprise guest, didn’t think you had the means on hand and then produced a meal? How many times have you wondered how you’d make it to payday after a wonderful weekend of terrible decisions, and have? We’ve all had days, due to circumstance, or existential soup, when we wondered if tomorrow would come for us, if the sun would ever burn through fears, and it has. Tradition has you lighting candles every night, in a specific thing, in a specific way, with a specific prayer, but I suggest you take even 1 night to light 1 candle in honour of the small miracles that light our way.
I don’t usually go in for these month-day-year matchy-matchy things, and they’ve happened every year this millenium, but this is the last one this century. It’s got to be optimal for making wishes, but make it memorable in whatever way is truest to yourself. Whirlwind weddings are not advised, as venues are all sorts of booked up for the impossible-to-forget-so-what’s-your-excuse-punk, date.
My Birthday (December 18)
I feel we’re bonding, here. There is a strange intimacy created by you reading these words, and this is a significant birthday for me: if right now I ‘m “l’age du Christ”, I’ll soon become older than Jesus. Heavy stuff. Also, as a winter baby, I’ve struggled with party planning, joint birthday/Xmas gifts, and never having an ice cream cake for my celebration. Add to that the fact that you strike me as someone who likes a reason to celebrate, and the fact that we could all use as many good wishes as we can muster, I invite you to raise, light, decorate something, in my honour. Smile at a stranger. Wear an outfit you aren’t sure you can pull off, and wear it with your head held high. Drop me bday wishes (@McMoxy).
Apocalypse Night (December 20)
We’ve heard the hype. We’ve gotten over it. Still, I think it’s safe to say we harbour a morbid curiosity alongside a healthy of dose of anticipation for the biggest “I told you so! Suck it, Paranoia!” to be had yet this century. On the other hand, not since the Y2K scare have we had a chance to party like it’s 1999. Official dress for this holiday shall be PJs to the office, or better yet, PJs at home, after you call in pending demise and promptly declare it 5 o’clock somewhere. This would be the right holiday to tell people what you really think, pledge undying love to special someone, or passing strangers. Dance like no one’s watching and sing in the streets, because it’ll all be moot in a minute. Skip the dishes. Go to sleep and hope for the best.
Yule/Solstice/I-Told-You-So-The-World’s-Still-Here (December 21)
Yule was celebrated over the course of three nights in “midwinter”. It was much of what Christmas now is. For instance, bringing parts of evergreens indoors to coax back the spring morphed into what we do now for what seems like random reasons (which Wise Man brought spruce?). Visiting, singing, feasting, were all ways to warm the coldest nights and lighten the darkest season. Rock it. And once we’re past the 21st, the days do, by precious golden seconds, begin to lengthen. Blessed be, oh Blessed BE!
Christmas (December 25)
I grew up with a Christmas tree (and menorah), letters to Santa, along with the Spirit of the Season, and I think that goes for the majority. Christmas is as secularized as commercialized, and frankly, that invites more people to enjoy it, in one beautiful shared morning, like Whos scattered across Whoville, knowing that we are all singing. It is for giving, sharing, and remembering blessings. It is everything 80s TV taught me it was: at the last minute, there are hooves on the rooftop and even the cynics must believe. It’s magick and miracles. I love Christmas.
Kwanzaa (December 26-Jan 1)
An African American and “Pan-African” holiday, the core principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Personally, I think we should all get on board with those. They have candles, “libations”, and the whole week culminates in gift giving on New Year’s Day. It’s the whole package. My menorah might get a second run this season
So bring on the season and the snow. I wish Happy Everything, one by one, to one and all. May you celebrate often, safely, and always with your bells on.