16 December 2009

Officially Over The Top

They say you can't be in two place at once, but I managed it on Sunday.

My Friday radio show (hyperlinked there in the left column) is rebroadcast on Sundays at 7 am. A few days ago I recorded a pair of programs for another show, "Common Threads" which airs on a different station and is broadcast when?

Sundays at 7 a.m.

I was in competition with myself, you might say. We all know that the yuletide season is way too busy, but I never thought it would get so frantic that I would be literally beside myself.

Doesn't it seem odd that we constantly bemoan the frenzy of the holiday season even though it is entirely of our own devising? Was it John Grisham who wrote a book called "Skipping Christmas?" Sometimes I wonder what it would be like not to take part. That would be easy in Asia and the Middle East where Christmas is a minority voice.

(I got a taste of that when I was in Istanbul, where Christianity is mostly an historic thing - old churches and stuff. The two actual operating churches I saw were outnumbered by the dozens of mosques. Iznik, the ancient city of Nicea where the creed was formed and which I visited, has no working church and likely no resident Christians. And I must say it was oddly exhilarating refreshing to be in a place where none of your cultural assumptions preside.)

I suppose what I want is not the end of Christmas but spreading it out more, not packing all that merriment and charity and good will into a few weeks. Do you find it odd, as I do, that on December 26th it is all over? Carols quit, trees are hurled into the street, and we just stop.

At our house we actually begin our enjoy the day itself, but then observe the full "twelve days" through Epiphany by opening a small gift each day (thank you Hannukah!), indulging treats, making each day a little more than just a day. We spread the cheer out as it were. Our tree is among the last to arrive and the last to go, like reluctant hosts who want their guest to stay longer. And we use winter, those long cold nights, to compose and send our greetings to others, be they New Years greetings or Ground Hog greetings or even St. Valentine's greetings.

Hardly Skipping Christmas, and yet subtly subversive. If you find the season too demanding, so that you are beside yourself with business, you are allowed to do things differently. Who knows, you might start a trend - "keeping Christmas" not just spending it.

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