Monday, December 28, 2009
On the third day of Christmas
Yes, that's right, Miss V is in Utah again visiting her mom and grandma, and here we are trying to get re-adjusted to the lack of sound and fury that comes in the wake of a teenager's absence.
Also, yep, it's Day #3 of Christmas. The Christmas season doesn't officially end until Epiphany/Twelfth Night/my sister's birthday. You can tell there were traditionally twelve days of Christmas festivities even as late as Dickens' time; if you read A Christmas Carol carefully, you'll note some indications in the text that Scrooge spends an indefinite amount of time with the Ghost of Christmas Present: "The Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together", and Scrooge waits to ask the Ghost about his aged appearance "until they left a children's Twelfth Night party" (that is, the evening of January 6).
I'm not really sure why Christmas has been dialed down to a single day of intense jollity, followed by a kind of post-partum holiday depression. Maybe it has something to do with the American obsession with work. Maybe it has something to do with retailers creating an artificial deadline ("only ten more shopping days until Christmas!"), encouraging shoppers to panic and spend far more than they usually would. Maybe it has something to do with the gradual loss of shared holiday traditions within our culture. In any case, I think we lose something important by losing "the Christmas season" in favor of focusing only on Christmas Day.
And who says we have to? I'm making me some seed-cake and other goodies, and we're going to engage in some modern festivities! Not sure yet what they'll be. Have any suggestions?