Literally the day after Halloween stores started putting Christmas decorations out here in Portland. Actually, it may have been earlier in some places. It used to be when I was growing up that Thanksgiving was an entirely separate holiday to Christmas. Then, for many years Christmas “cheer” began edging back further and further until Black Friday became the official start of the Christmas season. When you look at the advent calendar, or the reality of a complete moon cycle leading up to Solstice, it makes at least a little sense, but starting right after Halloween, a full extra month earlier?
I have always loved Christmas – even though it wasn’t a big thing in my home growing up. I love the coziness and gathering of voices, the sweets and performance of cheer even in the dreariness. I did have a stint of rejecting Christmas completely and all its consumer fanfare, but after having children I began to think again about whether there might be something to redeem of the winter celebrations.
and forced holiday cheer, with the awareness that it is imperative we carry at least one small ember of light through the dark of winter. The more ossified and closed we become the more strained our efforts to hold this light are as well. The more intensely the dark of the world grows in general, the more effort it takes to preserve that one small ember. For many, it’s easier just to surrender to the dark completely… in the guise of rebellion or progressive self-righteousness. One thing my children have taught me is that magic is not optional. It is necessary, like water.
Anyway, as I have been celebrating Christmas again for quite a few years now, I am particularly intrigued by this shift to starting it all as early as Halloween, the annual slightest shift back in the timeline. Most people moan and complain with dismay,
I, on the other hand, have begun to wonder if it isn’t related to the speeding up of cultural polarization and strife, that it isn’t a genuine cultural response to the need to prepare for winter’s dark earlier and earlier as it literally becomes more psychically and even materially dangerous.
is also a tender time that is losing it’s grounded connection to grief and death as our world continues to reify life above all else and ignores its shadow life. Summers are growing hotter and hotter with fires as we ignore our need to carry the water medicine of tears and death wisdom with us as we traverse the growing warmth and blooming birth energy of Summer.
So prepare well ahead my dears . . . it actually really helps.