Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Yes, I said Merry Christmas. Tonight is Twelfth Night.
Two days after Christmas, I said to a friend, “Merry Christmas!” She looked at me like I was crazy, so I said, “Well today is only the third day of Christmas, after all.”
My friend, as it turned out, had been under the impression that the twelve days of Christmas culminate in Christmas Day. It made me wonder how many people think that. How many poor souls view Christmas Day itself as all the presents, food, and festivities you can have for the holidays? No wonder people get so stressed out in December. Aside from the overly materialized expression of Christmas which we have in the United States, people are trying to pack it all into one day (or maybe add in a little Christmas Eve fun). In November, I watched an episode of Saturday Night Live where the Weekend Update with Mr. Senior talked about how Christmas comes too early. I have to agree, but maybe people should try to draw it out a little, as well. We could have a less burnt out, exhausted, stressful holiday, and maybe a little more holiday food.
Many of the days of Christmas are important saints’ days. There are celebrations of Saint Thomas Beckett, Saint Stephen, and Saint Egwyn, among others. In England in the Middle Ages, however, the Christmas season was largely an ongoing festivity, with a lot of food and drink. We don’t have to celebrate the Catholic saints in order to honor the Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas Day doesn’t have to be immediately followed by gift-returns, post-holiday diets, or other great American traditions. Maybe we could rekindle the Twelve Days of Christmas in order to diminish the stress and increase our happiness and fun with family and friends.
This Christmas, I have been determined to watch one or two Christmas movies after Christmas Day. I tell people “Merry Christmas” even though it’s January. I have kept the lights up in our apartment windows, and left the Christmas tree up. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” as Ebenezer Scrooge said. Or at least for the twelve days we’re meant to. So Merry Christmas everyone, and welcome to 2014!