I was talking with a friend last week about how some of us celebrated Christmas in the olden days and came to the conclusion that not much has changed. People are still decking the halls and hanging up stockings, although I’m not so sure about roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Heck, I don’t even know how a chestnut tastes.
Some of us are old enough to remember a time when the whole family looked forward to Andy Williams’s Christmas show each year featuring singing and dancing and guest stars like Donny Osmond and the Osmond family.
Those squeaky clean TV specials of the sixties and seventies have been deemed an irrelevant curiosity in today’s world, but, take heart, there is still a place to go to fill those feel-good needs. I was reading that the Hallmark network has produced a total of 41 – count ‘em 41 – new Christmas-themed movies this year, all wrapped up in its COVID-free world of bows and ribbons and comfort zone endings, featuring the same 15 actors, four settings, and pretty much one plotline. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still preferable to the cynicism of movies like Bad Santa or Black Christmas.
When it comes to music, although it seems like someone is putting out a new Christmas song every year, the traditional songs are the best, with carols like Away in a Manger, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World; they go back well over a hundred years and are still around.
Even more modern songs like The Little Drummer Boy, written in 1941. If it wasn’t such a well-written song it wouldn’t have lasted these 80 years, and you’ve got to admit that “pa-rum-pum-pum-pum” part is a great hook, as they say in the music biz. It was first recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family Singers (of the Sound of Music fame) and has been covered by everybody from the Bing Crosby-David Bowie duet to Johnny Cash to Jimi Hendrix.
On the other hand, I saw a meme posted by a friend of mine in Santa Fe that said, Warning: If you get a link called Justin Beiber Sings Christmas Carols, don’t open it. It’s a link to Justin Bieber singing Christmas carols.
But I digress.
There is one tradition, however, that comes around this time of year that hardly gets any mention at all. Well, maybe not a tradition in a traditional sense, but more like a period of winding down for a couple of weeks. In the traditional sense. Huh?
I’m talking about Halcyon Days, the 14 days surrounding the winter solstice, a time of happiness, peace and contentment. A fitting phrase for the peaceful, joyful spirit of the Christmas holidays.
According to legend the halcyon – known as the kingfisher – built its floating nest at that time, during which the gods had promised calm seas for the nesting and hatching time. With that in mind, I’m practicing being bored.
This thing called boredom, as you probably have guessed, has gone out of style…as passé as “acting your age.” If you listen to a teenager these days, you’d think being bored is the worse thing that could befall a person just short of death which, I imagine, is what’s given rise to Twitter. Or Instagram. Or Tumbler. Or Facebook. Or any of the other “please steal all my personal information” social media apps.
But all that being the case, boredom still happens. Especially when one’s smartphone batteries run down having not been charged up the night before. There’s just so much that must be taken care of in the name of convenience, by golly. And in the pursuit of anti-boredom.
Dang. Without all that convenience and instant entertainment in the palm of my hand, one might have to resort to thinking about something. Who knows what brilliant ideas are going to pop into one’s noggin?
- When your laptop gets too heavy, try deleting some of the bigger files.
- Whenever you leave your house to go out, attach a ball of string to your front door so that you can find your way back again when you need to return home.
- Always drink from the side of the glass nearest your lips.
- If you love Chinese food and you’re trying to diet, try this tip: eat all you want but only use one chopstick.
- There’s no safe way to operate a weed whacker in the nude.
- If the computer does not give what you believe to be a correct response to your input, try pressing the keys harder.
Oh, dear. Something tells me I need to take off my thinking cap and just sit in my Halcyon Days nest. In the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh: “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits…”