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Christmas Spirit

Do I have enough time to write this before lunch? We'll see.

I can't remember when exactly I started to lose the Christmas Spirit. I don't think it was anything to do with the whole concept of Christ's birth or anything because I'm truly not sure I ever bought into that story, even when I was a Christian and fully immersed in Catholic dogma. No matter how much of the baby Jesus stuff they drilled into me in Catholic School, Christmas for me was always more about the wonder of Santa Clause.

Not to say I was a greedy little kid. Far from it, I got into the whole Season of giving thing. But the magic surrounding Christmas Eve...for me, that was it. And I believed wholeheartedly. I was one of those little dudes that every year would try to stay up extra late and see the big guy. I'd make sure he had cookies and milk left out for him to tide him over. Even later when I knew it was my parents sneaking down and putting out the presents, I held out hope of seeing the jolly old elf.

It was probably somewhere around age 10 I guess. Kids started to tell me there was no Santa Claus. I didn't want to believe them at first but then the whole social acceptance thing kicked in and the magic was gone. I think at that point I started seeing Christmas only for what I would get out of it. Christmas had become commercials of all the fabulous toys to be had and it stopped being a season of giving and sharing. Of course I was too young to realize how shitty it could be to have Christmas alone. But later I found out. And then I just got bitter and cynical. For years, I've hated the whole coming of the Christmas season. It doesn't help I guess that Winter just ain't my gig. But more than that, I've grown to hate Christmas carols and Christmas cookies and Christmas trees. I haven't set up a Christmas tree of my own since I got my divorce 6 years ago and I never decorate my house. Last year Deb and I did put reindeer antlers on the two owl statues that guard our front door but that was more of a joke than a serious attempt at decoration.

Every year since I was old enough to remember, my Dad has decorated the house with lights. He really does it up big. Not gaudy like some but big nonetheless. At one point, we even had Santa and the reindeer in lights in the front yard. Now, Mom and Dad have permanent light sockets on the house so every year, they just have to plug the bulbs in and viola, instant Christmas lights. They have a huge tree. Sometimes it's natural and it's filled with decades of ornaments that the whole family has gifted to one another. They go whole hog on the inside of the house as well.

That's why my brother and I make the yearly pilgrimage to their house for Christmas I think. To get just a taste of what it once was. And because it just plain suck to have Christmas alone. I did for a couple of years and I was just a bitter asshole to be around then.

What's funny to me about the whole thing is devout Christians have no trouble at all in believing in a person and an event that may or may not have actually happened 2000 years ago and celebrating it every year since then. I mean Christ doesn't even go around spreading good cheer. He just sits up there in Heaven and watches what goes on, performing the occasional big miracle here and there. But try to get them to believe in a story about some old guy in a red suit who flies around to every house in the world and delivers good tidings if not actual gifts and they look at you like you are an idiot or a child. I'd say what Santa does is pretty damn miraculous and at least he does it on a regular basis. Now all you Christians, don't come down on me for putting Santa in the place of God. Although for all we know he is a god of some sort.

As a heathen who believes the power of the creator can be channeled through stones for healing purposes, why should I then find it so hard to believe in the concept of a beneficial force who once a year attempts to fill each and every one of our hearts with the joy of giving and receiving? But I've seen some magic lately. Through the stones and the animals, I've seen it clear as day. It's something I can reach out and wrap myself around. It's like the apostle saying he couldn't believe Christ had risen until he could put his hand in the wounds. Well I've put my hands in the wounds. I've seen the magic. I've felt it surround me and welcome me into it's heart. So now, maybe there's room in my heart again for a little belief in old Saint Nick.

Something must have snapped in me recently because I keep catching myself singing Christmas carols. Last night in the grocery store it was White Christmas and just the other night, I was dying to see the David Bowie/Bing Crosby video for The Little Drummer Boy. Of course if I see it I'll be blubbering like an idiot so maybe it's best I don't watch too much TV.

I've resolved I will not be cynical this year about the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe a little towards the commercial aspect but that's fair game. I'll attempt to be kinder to my fellow man and woman and give of my heart if only for this month. And I think I'll start believing in Santa Claus again. I'll bake some cookies and leave out a nice big artery clogging glass of milk and wait up to try and see him or hear the sound of his team. Might make me feel a whole lot better about Christmas. I'm tired of feeling bad about it.

Peace,

Wander

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
dragoneerl
Dec. 5th, 2000 01:03 pm (UTC)
Santa Claus
You know, it's funny, but at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, I was relieved to find that I still get excited when I see the fat man in red coming down the street (that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is itself a testament to commercialism is a tangent I'd prefer not to take, but you get the idea). I've long since discovered where my parents hide my presents every year, and I know that a big red fur coat, a sack of toys, heavy leather boots, and a few hundred pounds of girth couldn't possibly make for a very stealthy man (and I'm a very light sleeper on Christmas Eve). However, I'm glad to know that someone else thinks that Santa may be real just the same. I'm with you, man; for me, Santa just captures the Christmas spirit, and in terms of making the world a better place to live, I'd rank him right up there with Superman and Bill Cosby.

Dragoneer
wander
Dec. 5th, 2000 01:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Santa Claus
Well good to know there are more of us in the world.

Cool

Wander

ex_dragonfly63
Dec. 5th, 2000 01:17 pm (UTC)
I've got to share a little Christmas story with you.

According to some Norse mythological legends:

Every year at Yule, (Dec. 21) the Allfather Lord, winking with his bad eye, and watching the world below through the other, dressed in his fabled crimson garb, would ride through the late night. As the gates to the upperworlds were close at hand, he made this pilgramage in the time of cold. As he rode out over the night, he would bellow out a howl, and two magical steed-like animals, named Thunder and Lightning... (Germanic: Donner and Blitzen) would fly him over the land. It was said that his holy presence was felt heavily, and that he would bestow gifts and blessings on all of his loyal heathen followers... sometimes going into their homes, or dropping the blessings through their chimneys. The followers of this figure, Odhinn/Odin himself, would leave offerings for him on that night.
....
No joke, my friend. Maybe not 'St.Nick', but 'Santa Claus' is none other than Odin, the Norse Allfather. And so it's with honesty that I get to tell children that I believe in Santa. I do believe in Odin, whatever the populous wants to call him.
(Deleted comment)
ex_dragonfly63
Dec. 5th, 2000 01:45 pm (UTC)
*Smiles*

That's a wonderful story, and I'd never heard it before! :D

Thank you for sharing it with me. :)
wander
Dec. 5th, 2000 02:02 pm (UTC)
Re:
Not a problem. I'm sure we could get together and talk for hours with all we have to share with one another.

Wander


wander
Dec. 5th, 2000 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re:
See, that's what I'm talking about. And yeah, I knew Christians basically ripped off the whole concept from Pagans anyway. When you attempt to conquer a people, the best way is to corrupt their religious beliefs into yours. In reality we are all talking about the same dude. Man, Christians really know how to screw up a good thing sometimes. Thank you for the story dear friend.

Now a story for you my little Dragonfly. Did you know why the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest were so accepting of Christianity? It's because the missionaries realized many of the Christian symbols could be modified slightly to mimic Native religious symbols. One of the biggies was the symbol of the cross. In this case, they used the symbol of the double barred cross because it very closely mimicked the Pueblo symbol for the Guardian of Illusion and Mystery, in other words, the Dragonfly. So it was easy for them to draw a connection between their god of Mystery and the Christian God of many mysteries.

But in reality, what happened initially was the Pueblo folks just accepted the Christian God as yet another one of their Gods. They accepted the fact that they did not know everything and if this god seemed to work well for these new people then why not worship him as well, right long with their own gods. The missionaries thought they were dealing with thousands of converts. But they found out the truth in the Great Pueblo uprising of 1680. The Spanish missionaries had tried to force the Pueblo people to believe in only one god and had enslaved many thousands of the people to work in their mines. During an 11 Day period, the Pueblo people rose up and killed or drove out all the Spaniards in New Mexico and kept them in exile for 12 years.

Nothing like a little rebellion to get the point across to leave people well enough alone.

peace,

Wander

cuddles
Dec. 5th, 2000 07:40 pm (UTC)
Don't look surprised you knew I'd comment on this.
AND IN THIS CORNER: WEIGHING IN AT NONE YOUR BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE FORCES OF CHRISTIANITY, FROM KINGS MOUNTAIN NORTH CAROLINA, BENJAMIN "CUDDLES" BURTON!!!!!

Flutter like a butterfly sting like a bee! Well let me start off by sayin I agree with you a hundred percent on Santa. He HAS to exist. It is NOT impossible to do what he does. I even believe in mall Santas to a certain extent cause they help spread the magic to new generations. I actually have no trouble believing in wither God, Jesus, or Santa of course. Is Santa working with God? Well yeah, of course. I still send Santa a wish list. As a scientist I know that neither one could likely exist but still I KNOW they do. Why? Well for God it's simple I got faith. But with Santa it's something different: It's my refusal to neglect the kid in me. Santa Clause exists and if anybody ever tells my kids he doesn't I'll beat the bejeevus out of them.

later

cuddles
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 10:09 am (UTC)
Re: Don't look surprised you knew I'd comment on this.
Cool. I beleive you beleive. I was just being a little sarchastic when I wondered aloud why people beleived in celebrating the birhtday of someone supposedly born and resurected 2000 years ago but they had a problem beleiving in some fat, red clothed elf flying around the world and delivering good cheer. Both seem equally plausible to me.

Peace,

Wander'

namaste21
Dec. 5th, 2000 08:28 pm (UTC)
yep, it's me....
okay, we're all up in each other's journals, but hey, that's what friends are for.. :)
I really like this post, because it makes me feel better, too....see, while I'm right up there with Dragonfly on the ancient legend of Odin, I'm also realizing that Santa is a spirit.....you see, recently I let my mind go and began to believe in such things as elves, faeries, and unicorns again. I don't care if people find it weird, either....I believed in them as a child, they befriended and protected me, why should I ignore them now? I see spirits and faeries all the time, now...just take a walk into the forest.
Christmas was ruined for me after 1) Santa got thrown out when I turned too old, 2) I couldn't afford gifts for everyone, 3) it was JESUS JESUS JESUS and I was turning away from Christianity so I had to sit there quietly and listen to someone explain to me about how this night was for JESUS, when I knew even then that it had Pagan orgins....
eh....anyway, I think I like Christmas again....I still can't afford gifts for anybody, and I am NOW the santa in my family....but I still can see the spirit of good things, maybe the spirit of Odin, running around and touching people's lives this time of year...christmas is not a religious holiday, per se...it's a time to celebrate life and love, and a time to get close to those you love...most of all, I think it's for kids..... loading my son down with ten gifts one night a year makes it all worthwhile...I understand why my parents did it for me, now....
anyway, this year I'm choosing to celebrate Yule rather than Christmas Day....that probably means I'll be opening presents on two days, one with my family, one with the christian family.... but it doesn't really matter if it's a christmas gift or a yule gift, because it means the same thing....enjoy what you have, give when you can, and love until you think your heart will burst....
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 10:11 am (UTC)
Re: yep, it's me....
Oh yeah. Sing it sister!

Wander

ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 01:48 am (UTC)
I stopped believing in santa when I was about 9 or 10 years old and my 2 oldest kids dont believe in him anymore, but Nicole my 6 year old still believes in santa,So i get enjoyment out of watching her all excited about xmas and leaving milk and cookies out for him.
Christmas is a happy time, but for many people its a lonly time,its way too commercialized.
People stress out and go broke running around thinking what they are going to buy everyone.
The only thing I like about it is the christmas carols and the family get togethers..
Im still not sure what santa has to do with the birth of jesus ..
dragoneerl
Dec. 6th, 2000 06:40 am (UTC)
There used to be a house (still is, I suppose) close to my old neighborhood that would go all out on Christmas lights and outdoor decorations every year. I suppose it was somewhere between gaudy and pretty, but there was this one decoration that I could never get past. It was a wooden cut-out of Santa kneeling in front of what I'll presume was the baby Jesus' cradle. Below it the words "Even Santa has to kneel," were painted. For some reason, that picture always struck me as odd. Nevermind the obvious anachronism (how could SAINT Nicholas be at the birthplace of the person who's church invented the term "saint?") But like you said, wicca, they didn't seem to go together. Even when I thought of myself as a Christian, I had a great deal of difficulty reconciling the idea of Jesus, who I felt to be real, with Santa, who I desperately wanted to be real, even as a holiday spirit. In the end, the best answer I could arrive at is that Santa emphasizes the same spirit of unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus does (assuming, of course, that you're not from the "Santa-will-leave-you-a-bag-of-coal-if-you're-naughty" school of thought). Maybe, in some small way, I love the idea of Santa because he is a good wholesome figure to cling to at Christmas in the absence of a personal deity. Maybe I just really like getting toys.

Dragoneer
dragoneerl
Dec. 6th, 2000 07:37 am (UTC)
I love the Internet
You have to admire a medium that allows you to come across random information by accident that seems totally relevant at the time. By way of explanation, a brief history of ol' Kris Kringle, via the Straight Dope, perhaps the best source of useless information on the web.

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msantaclaus.html

Sorry it's not linked. Copy and paste, people, copy and paste...

It mentions some of the things we've talked about here, but it deals more with how Santa became a Christmas icon. Interesting reading.
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: I love the Internet
Wonderful! Thanks for the info!
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 10:17 am (UTC)
Re:
Actually, it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus or Christianity for that matter otehr than the fact that Santa Claus is sometimes refered to as Saint Nicolas, a Christian saint. But I think people try to tie in the whole Jesus giving his life for us as a reason to give to others. Yes, It's way too comercialized here as well. Oh by the way, Outback Steakhouse is running a contest here to see how much Americans know about the Australian Christmas customs. Can you clue me in on some of them. As long as were talking commercialization, I might as well try to win a free steak dinner out of all this,

Wander

ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:18 pm (UTC)
Is that picture you?
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:24 pm (UTC)
Re:
You didn't know? I thought you had looked at my website. That's where I took it from. Why do you think I'm horribly ugly or something? ahahahahah

Wander

ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:26 pm (UTC)
Re:
Havnt checked out your website yet
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re:
Well...

OK, I forgive you then.

Wander
ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re:
Checked your site out, no your not ugly
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:54 pm (UTC)
Re:
Well thank you dear lady. I appreciate it. Your not ugly either by the way. I don't think Goldie Hawn should play you in a movie though. I'd go for Calista Flockhart. You look alot like her. Goldie Hawn is getting some miles on her.

Wander

ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 10:10 pm (UTC)
Re:
Calista is a bit skinny I think.I have more meat on my bones
wander
Dec. 7th, 2000 06:56 am (UTC)
Re:
Well we'll have to keep searching then. It's gonna be hard to find someone just right.

ex_ebony770
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:31 pm (UTC)
Christmas carols by candlelight, unwrapping presents christmas morning under the tree. Listening to Christmas songs. we have the traditional christmas lunch, turkey, ham etc,, and family get togethers .
thats the australian tradition.
wander
Dec. 6th, 2000 12:40 pm (UTC)
Re:
It's ours too. They must have something different in mind.

Wander

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )