You know it’s true. What do we think of when we hear the word “Christmas”? Shopping and gifts and Black Friday – which, of course, comes after Thanksgiving but is about Christmas shopping.
Vacation from school. Parties. Eggnog. Sales. Wrapping paper. Long lines.
The tree. Maybe a wreath on the front bumper. Fruitcake.
Santa Claus, the official spokesman of Christmas 2012. Elves. Snow, if you’re a dreamer. Flashing lights on the house. Big inflatable snowmen in the yard. Tinsel. (What ever happened to tinsel?)
“Happy holidays!” which is all you’re likely to hear on television shows or commercials or from store clerks. Hardly a “Merry Christmas!” in the bunch.
Sending cards that often portray Santa or the rest without mention of the reason for the season.
Movies on television that have a Christmas theme – so long as that theme is the aforementioned Santa or shopping or “the true meaning of Christmas,” which turns out to be whatever the show is selling: love, children, toys, families or the undefinable “Christmas spirit.”
Families getting together and eating, fighting and exchanging gifts.
Novelty songs more than carols. Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, not holy nights and mangers. Dogs barking about bells. Chipmunks and divas and every other recording artist with a Christmas album to sell.
Yep, it’s a whole new ball game from when it all started a couple of millennia ago.
They say that early Christians chose Dec. 25 to celebrate because it was a pagan holiday already, so they figured it would be easier to sneak in on the festivities than to win people over to a new day entirely.
It’s also tied in with winter, which begins Dec. 21 this year. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s also the date the wackos have set aside for the end of the world. According to people who claim to be able to read the Mayan calendar, anyway.
You know, considering how commercial Christmas has become, Superstorm Maya might be a breath of fresh air.
MOORE WORDS: One word associated with the Christian takeover of winter festivities is “yule,” which was the name of a European feast that took place around the beginning of winter, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.
The same root word for yule moved into France as jol, which meant “festive” and gave us “jolly,” a familiar word this time of year.
Moreover, “joy” sprang from the same origins.
From heathen feasts, then, we get a whole sackful of Christmasy words. Maybe change isn’t so bad, after all.