Is it all about Jesus? Or is it all about Shopping, or is what the Pagans say it is all about or the Wiccans or Christians ?
Does it fit in a box, does it belong to anyone, is there a right way to do it? Why does everyone want to own or set the rules down for a holiday that everyone starts to bitch about before Thanksgiving even starts? From the sounds of it, people sound like they’d rather not have the Holidays show up at all.
During the winter I do a lot of writing and reading- I write stories and I want to hear them. I like to listen to Christmas Music and try new foods and engage in writing challenges ( it seems to come back to writing for me )
For the most part I enjoy my non-traditional ways to get into the Holiday Spirit.
But then the shaming starts- someone somewhere gets on a soap box and waves their bony little finger under our collective noses and reminds you when to shop, not to enjoy yourself too much because it’s all about Baby Jesus/The Goddess/Why do you do this at all there’s no such things as ” God “. According to these experts in the field, unless you do it right you have to- I don’t know, give it back or give it up or stand there in front of your Christmas Tree and say, ” I am so ashamed.”
So I celebrate Christmas quietly for fear of waking up the sleeping baby and set it to wailing.
That is my way of Celebrating the Christmas Season- I write and feast and enjoy my family and art and music.
It’s non-traditional and it came about through compromise.
But it’s my tradition now and I guess I’ll stick to it.
When I was growing up my Dad and his sister, my Aunt and my Grandparents had a very cool tradition.
No matter the time of day, if we were home and it snowed we would put on the Christmas tunes as we bundled and then we would head out for a walk in the snow.
We’d head to a store and buy treats- like coco mix and comic books ( my Aunt loved comic books so we’d stock up on the Archies ( or any of Christmas themed ones ).
And for good measure I’d ask for those weird magazines about UFOs the other one I loved was called Fate– Fate is a magazine about paranormal phenomena.
I’d stock up on Fate during the year ( my Grandma Ginger had a subscription ) so I’d snag her copies and read them during the winter- don’t ask me why it made sense when I was nine.
Back to the snow- If we were lucky it was dark and the snow was crunchy- I loved the crunchy sound of snow. I would break my own little path just so I could hear the snow crunch or squeak ( if it was powdery snow).
It was an adventure, and all along the way we’d tell stories to each other.
The weirder, the spookier- THE BETTER.
There is only one thing that could top those memories- and the snow walks I’ve taken since.
That would be the chance to walk in snow on…
Tell me that wouldn’t be the bees knees.
I’d sign up for that trip in a heartbeat.
Or I’d love to take a snow walk on
Oh yes indeed.
Let that roll around your head for a minute.
Grand thought isn’t it?
And I know it’s methane snow- but snow is snow and that’s the stuff you’d find on the moon, Titan
I’d go to those planets- risk my life, give up years on Earth just to checkout the snow.
My family would be disappointed if there was ever a chance to do that and any of us passed it up.
We’d take comic books, magazines about ghosts and hot chocolate.
I love Christmas songs- I pull out the music on Thanksgiving and I’ve got it going on until Christmas Night
Christmas movies are great, but the music?
That’s the most important part of the festivities- I can do without the the tree, but I must have the tunes.
When I was a child I only learned part of a song that I say on every single holiday that came up, though I rattled it off more during Christmas.
Nobody in my family knew where I learned it and why I thought it was a holiday song- so it was an earworm.
Worse yet, I only knew one line and I would sing that one line over and over and the words weren’t even in English.
I’d get grilled about where I heard it, I guess the reasoning was if they knew the song title and the rest of the lyrics the mystery would be solved and it wouldn’t make everyone crazy when I sang :
Caput apri defero Reddens laudes Domino
So it was years and years later when I was at a friend’s house and up comes THE SONG on their CD player that I tortured everyone with at Christmas, Birthdays, Funerals and Dinner parties.
It was a real song.
The mystery remains though, where I heard it.
It’s a nice mystery, a Christmas mystery and those kinds of mysteries are fun when you just let them be.
So I don’t put too much thought into solving the question.
Now that I know the entire song I like to sing it with as much joy and gusto as I can. If I’m not feeling it when I start, I always end up getting caught in the moment and I feel it to my bones once I get going…
The boar’s head in hand bring I, (Or: The boar’s head in hand bear I,)
Bedeck’d with bays and rosemary.
And I pray you, my masters, be merry (Or: And I pray you, my masters, merry be) Quod estes in convivio (Translation: As many as are in the feast)
CHORUS Caput apri defero (Translation: The boar’s head I offer) Reddens laudes Domino (Translation: Giving praises to the Lord)
The boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedeck’d with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico. (Translation: Let us serve with a song)
Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of Bliss;
Which on this day to be served is In Reginensi atrio. (Translation: In the hall of Queen’s [College, Oxford])
The Boar’s Head Carol is a macaronic 15th century English Christmas carol that describes the ancient tradition of sacrificing a boar and presenting its head at a Yuletide feast. Of the several extant versions of the carol, the one most usually performed today is based on a version published in 1521 in Wynkyn de Worde’s Christmasse Carolles.
Our Dad had been a Chef and it was his job to roast the Christmas Turkey.
His Turkeys were great, they were perfect and he took great pride in his work.
The turkey skin was golden, the bird was always seasoned and stuffed to perfection. I swear to God when he pulled it out of the oven it looked like something you’d see on a magazine cover or cookbook.
When I was 12 I had saved up my money and bought the most adorable little Alaskan Malamute puppy I named Sham.
I should have named him Godzilla because Sham grew up to be the size of a horse.
Not some regular horse.
He was Clydesdale sized.
Sham never liked being in the house when we were cooking because I think it was too warm for him.
But one Christmas me and my brother and sister wouldn’t let him out when he asked because we were having fun with him.
Sham was a gentle giant and we had spent the afternoon trying to dress him up like an elf.
You know kids- our parents went to wrap some gifts for our family members that were going to be coming for Christmas dinner and we decided to power our way through the candy in our Christmas stockings and we forgot Sham was in the house.
My brother went to the kitchen to get some cookies and he came running back into my bedroom.
His face was white and I thought he was going to faint.
He couldn’t speak, he just grabbed me by my hair and pulled me down the hall to the kitchen.
All my brother could do was point
Sham was standing at the counter and he had this huge turkey in his jaws.
I slapped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming.
My sister was right behind us and we piled on Sham and held him still while I pried his jaws open.
He dropped the turkey on the floor, I grabbed the cooling platter from the counter and dropped the turkey on it.
The platter was made of wood had little spikes on it to hold the turkey in place. I pushed the turkey back on the spikes and burned my hand shoving the stuffing back in because some of it had popped out and oozed on the counter.
Me and my brother lifted the platter and put it back up on the counter.
” What are you kids doing?” my Mom called ” You’re to quiet!”
” We’re playing with Sham.” my sister answered.
I looked down at her in horror. ” Shut up!” I hissed.
I stuffed turkey bits in the little holes from Sham’s fangs and we ran back down the hall and into my bedroom.
” Hide him!” my brother said.
I threw a blanket over Sham and he layed down and we could hear him licking his chops under the blanket.
He fell asleep and the three of us sat there on my bed waiting to die.
The doorbell rang and the rest of our family started to show up for Christmas Dinner.
Then my Dad went into the kitchen to carve the turkey.
Dinner went off without a hitch.
Dad carved the turkey, there were a million side dishes and everyone said it tasted great as usual.
I wouldn’t know- me and my siblings didn’t eat turkey that Christmas.
Come on. It was in our dog’s mouth. It was on the kitchen floor at one point. We wouldn’t have eaten it for more Christmas presents or money.
Besides, every time we lifted a slice to our lips the other one would bark or pant and we’d start laughing so hard we’d start choking.
I don’t know if this was the funniest Christmas memory I have- but it is one of the best.
Now it’s tradition:
I give my dogs their own slices of turkey freshly carved and still a little warm