Tag Archives: holidays

Boxing Day

I wanted to write a really nice post about Boxing Day, but I’m feeling quite tired and a bit lazy. I’d wait until tomorrow but, well, then it wouldn’t be Boxing Day anymore and, as everyone knows, one can only write about Boxing Day on December 26th.

So here is my feeble, but sincere effort to share the meaning and history of this somewhat mysterious holiday:

Few Gift Americans have any inkling that there even is such a thing as Boxing Day, let alone what the reason might be for a holiday so named.[…]

The holiday’s roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.

And that’s about as much as anyone can definitively say about its origin because once you step beyond that point, it’s straight into the quagmire of debated claims and dueling folklorists. Which, by the way, is what we’re about to muddy our boots with.

Muddy your boots here.


¡Feliz Navidad!


A Young Girl’s Christmas List

A blogger by the name of Possummomma posted an essay her daughter wrote in school. She called it a “pop essay”; the students did not know the topic in advance. Here is what Possummomma’s daughter wrote in response to the question: What do you want for Christmas?

What I want for Christmas, by Possum#1
There’s a movie that’s frequently shown in twenty-four hour blocks in which the main character, Ralphie, wants nothing but a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Ironically enough, he’s asked to write an essay about his Christmas desire by a slightly shrewd teacher and told that he’ll shoot his eye out. As I glance around this classroom, I see that many of my friends are feverishly pumping out manifestos dictating what gadgets and goodies they wish to find under their Christmas tree on the morning of December 25th. My mind, however, is reeling over the presumption that my public school teacher has addressed our classroom and assigned an essay in which she presumes that the entire lot of us are Christian or celebrate Christmas.

I take another look around my classroom and notice that Mahmeed is absent-mindedly cleaning underneathe his fingernails with the cap from his pen. Emily is feverishly trying to catch my eye and, having done so, mouthing the words, “I don’t celebrate Christmas…I’m Jewish.” in a quizzical manner. Jayden is doing what he normally does during such pop essays: he’s looking out the window- probably wondering where his parents will get the money for January’s rent and feeling guilty for daring to think about a gift. He’s pretty sensitive.

I have never admitted it to any of my friends, but I think I must be an atheist. My mother is an atheist and has always told me to find my own path to spiritual comfort. I think I must be an atheist because I can’t fathom any God who would allow the celebration of the birth of his son to become a time when my friends are consumed with thoughts of how they can convince Grandma to buy them a new Nano Ipod while other kids are wondering how their parent will manage the rent. What do I want for Christmas, I want a less assuming teacher. I want a teacher who thinks past the standard “What I want for Christmas…” assignment when she’s aware that three out of her twenty students probably don’t celebrate Christmas. I want a world where my friends will be asked to write essays about how they might use their winter vacay’ to help other people. I want my mom to be healthy again. I want my grandmother to quit smoking. I want my grandfather to quite bugging her about it. But most of all, I want to not get an “F” on this assignment because you get angry with me for saying all of the above. Merry Christmas, Mrs. “X”* (name changed to protect identities).

Possum #1 makes us proud.
Reposted with permission

If that don’t make a momma proud…

The teacher wrote this at the end of the student’s essay:

[Possum#1], thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I don’t think you’re an atheist but I respect your empathy for your friends. Please see me after class today. A+

Possum #1 reported that the teacher said she couldn’t be an atheist because her “ability to care for others feelings isn’t an atheist trait.” The teacher attributed the girl’s compassion to her own god, calling it a “very Christian attitude.”

Happy Holidays.


Raining On The Christmas Parade

I confess to not liking Christmas much. All the compulsory gift-giving, mandatory office parties, forced and uncomfortable family gatherings, crowded stores and general holiday chaos and hoopla is quite a bit more than this cynical introvert can cope with.

That said, I do still participate in the festivities to a degree. I started the whole tree and presents thing when my son was a baby, and I don’t think it’s fair to abruptly snatch it all away just because I’m beginning to like it considerably less with each passing season. But I am trying to gradually tone it down with the hope of eventually bypassing it completely.

It’s interesting, though, to observe and listen to Christians discussing the holiday and what it “really” means, occasionally reminding each other not to forget the “Christ” in “Christmas”. Having been a practicing Christian for the vast majority of my life, I know that this is a reminder that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world who was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem and, well, I’m sure we all know the story, Christian or not.

The really awkward part of that whole “reason for the season” is the fact that the circumstances surrounding this miraculous birth are neither original nor unique to Jesus or even to Christianity. I’ve known this for quite some time, but a post by my friend, Gary, entitled Christmas and Mithras got my wheels spinning again and there’s no time like the present to go ahead and write about it.

Gary talks about how he very nearly became infected with a Christmas bug upon seeing some pretty lights on a tree. He was quickly cured before too much damage was done by watching a video clip from QI, which Gary has embedded in the above-linked post for your viewing pleasure.

In it, Stephen Fry and those on the panel discuss why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. In doing so, Fry also outlines some of the characteristics of Mithras (2000 B.C.E.) and the story surrounding his life:

  • Called Savior
  • Sent to Earth to live as a mortal
  • Through him, sinners could be reborn
  • Died for our sins
  • Came back to life the following Sunday
  • Born of a virgin in a manger or perhaps a cave
  • Attended by shepherds
  • Known as the light of the world
  • Had twelve disciples with whom he shared a last meal before dying

My goodness! Where have I heard that before?

But Mithras wasn’t the only god to share these striking similarities. Horus (3000 B.C.E) shared them all and the following as well:

  • Mother’s name Meri
  • Annunciation by an angel to his mother
  • Heralded by a star
  • Announced by angels
  • Witnessed by three solar deities (wise men)

More here and here.

There was also Krishna (1200 B.C.E) who shared most of the same attributes, plus these:

  • Second person of the Trinity
  • Adoptive human father was a carpenter
  • Spirit or ghost was his actual father
  • Was without sin
  • Criticized for associating with sinners

More here and here.

So, you see, the so-called “Christ in Christmas” did not originate with Christianity at all. The story behind the Christian celebration of Christmas is a scrapbook of hand-me-down legends and myths that predated the Jesus figure by several millennia. In fact, the tenets of Christianity most significant to Christians; the very foundation of Christianity itself — the virgin birth, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus — are all borrowed from previous religions and gods.

Now, I say this not to criticize Christians for their beliefs or religious practices and celebrations. The fact that the story of Jesus is not original or unique doesn’t matter one bit to me. I do find the parallels very interesting, however, and of equal or perhaps even greater interest is the fact that so many Christians who make an effort to focus on the “reason for the season” seem completely unaware of it all.

But celebrate or don’t for whatever reason you choose, or for no reason at all. Whether you gain a new perspective from reading this post or dismiss it altogether, it doesn’t really matter: I am writing this for informational purposes only. Do with it what you will.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug; it’s all the same to me!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Holiday Greetings

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I’d start by posting this warm greeting here. So, from my home/heart/blog to yours:

Now don’t say I never gave you anything. 8)

Happy Holidays!


Giving Thanks

My friend, Bonnie, sent this to me in email and I thought it would make a nice Thanksgiving Day blog entry:

An old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Ave. where he’d been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the US Marine standing guard and said, “I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.”

The Marine looked at the man and said, “Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here.”

The old man said, “Okay”, and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, “I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.”

The Marine again told the man, “Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer President and no longer resides here.”

The man thanked him and walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House . The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, “Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I’ve told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the President and no longer resides here. Don’t you understand?”

The old man looked at the Marine and said, “Oh, I understand, I just love hearing it.”

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, “See you tomorrow, Sir.”

The turkey is out of the White House. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Happy gobbling!


Wonderful You – The Gift Of Time

[For the purpose of this post, my son would like to be referred to as John.]

Money has been really tight lately. Mike and I both work, but we’re maintaining two households and trying to save money for all the immigration fees. One of the ways I recently cut back was to stop giving John his weekly allowance. He was disappointed, but he understands the reason and knows that things won’t be this way for ever. He’s also happy to do whatever it takes to get his dad here as soon as possible.

As many of you probably know, this past Sunday was Mother’s Day in the U.S. Since John no longer gets an allowance, he didn’t have money to spend on a gift for me. Now, I have never been the kind of person who expects or demands gifts. I absolutely despise the concept of compulsory gift giving. If someone gives me something, I want it to be because he really wants to, and not because he feels obligated. Otherwise, how meaningful can the gift possibly be?

John is generous and loving, and he would have been happy to buy me something if he had still been getting an allowance. But the fact that he was flat broke didn’t stop him from giving me a gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life. And it was completely his own idea!

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