Yule is not Christmas
Once again, the Christmas advertisements pop up on television. It starts a few weeks before Halloween now and continues until December 24th. There was a time when these advertisements were not seen before Thanksgiving.
I am reminded of a funny movie entitled “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” In the story, Halloween and Christmas somehow got confused. That is what happens in October. There is a push by marketers to sell their Halloween wares and begin pushing for the Christmas shopping season.
There was even a small bit on TV news about what holiday items to buy now!
For the Heathens among us, remember: Yule is not Christmas.
Retail greed has gotten worse during the past ten years. Stores open early for the Black Friday sales. Some open on Thanksgiving. Mobs of people crowd the front ,waiting for the doors to be opened. What happens next is pure savagery. The crowd rushes through the doors like a stampede. People make a beeline for the goods that are on a special sale. Of course, there are usually not enough for everyone. Then the brawls begin. Last year, a grown woman was shown on the news trying to tug boxes from under a little girl’s arm.
People sell their dignity to save a few bucks amid a feeding frenzy of greedy shoppers.
My response to these sales: stay home. The supposed savings are not worth the loss of dignity. If you get caught up in a pack of people behaving like frenzied animals, it’s hard to tell you from them.
Yule is not Christmas. Yule is not cause for a shopping blitz. Yule is not an occasion to show how much you care by the extravagance of the gifts you give. Yule is about family, friends, traditions and the changing of the year. We do not cheapen it with tawdry gifts and seasonal silliness. Our gifts should be meaningful and heartfelt, with an eye to the happiness of the receiver. They are tokens of esteem.
Our holiday decorations should be tasteful. We need to preserve the dignity of the occasion. Ostentatious displays and the like detract from the holiday itself.
Yule is not Christmas. We have no place participating in the Black Friday banzai charges and the battles to get the goods. Ignore the advertisements.
Part of the problem is that there are actually two Christmases. One is the religious holiday celebrated by Christians. It is easy for us to avoid. The other is the secular Christmas with its Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and chintzy decorations. The secular songs and characters seem harmless enough. Many are innocuous, being more seasonal then reflective of the religious side of the holiday.
Heathen parents need to be careful here. We are not alone in confronting the ramifications of the secular Christmas. Jews, Buddhists and other non-Christians have also had to make their choices about the holidays.
One of the problems is the character of Santa Claus. He is a little too close to the Yule Visitor of various Heathen traditions. Granted, Santa is not Thor, Odin, Freya or Perchta. Do parents tell children that Santa equates with one of our Yule Visitors? Should they explain that he is a different character altogether? And in the matter of gifts, ought Parents explain them as delivered by Santa, or should they tell children that their gifts were bought by family?
Eight Reindeer? Eight-Legged Sleipnir? Maybe Santa is supposed to be a Sami or someone from Finland?
These choices will have to be made by each household. Secular Christmas is a bit more insidious than its religious counterpart. It is easy to pare out the obvious Christian songs and motifs, from Silent Night to Nativity scenes to the “Little Drummer boy.” It is a harder with things that are not so obviously religious. While we can enjoy the secular side of Christmas, we do best to set limits.
One problem we face is the matter of relatives. Most of us have relatives who are Christian to one degree or another. Even if they are not particularly religious, they probably dip heavily into the secular side of the holiday. While having Christmas dinner with the extended family is not much of an issue, other things might be a bone of contention. For instance, your nieces and nephews may have been told that Santa brings the presents. If your household prefers the Yule Visitor and tells the kids that the gifts come from parents, there may be conflict with some of the relatives. Family at holidays is enough of a minefield. Throw in religious differences and it is like walking on eggshells. Just be prepared for it and handle it tactfully.
Holidays are supposed to be fun. Merchants want to make them occasions to fleece us, thinking that extravagant gift-giving is a substitute for a good time. It is not fun if you have to go into debt to “enjoy” the season.
Get a free copy of our booklet, “Yule Thoughts for Heathens,” with any purchase of our books or other products over $25.00 Our items for sale are at www.trollwisepress.com