Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la la la la…
wait, what? Tis the season to be jolly? Clearly, whoever wrote this song never went Christmas shopping in December. I would venture to say they never had to fight mall traffic. I would also bet they never had to fight bumper to bumper cars just to get to the friggin’ grocery store.
Alright, in all seriousness, of course they didn’t. Deck the halls is older than you might think. Its origins date back to a Welsh song by the name of Nos Galan from the sixteenth century. Its more ‘modern’ version (actually named Deck the Hall, not Deck the halls) wasn’t even published until 1862. So we’re still in the no-mall traffic ages around that time.
I highly doubt anyone in the 1500s had to fight butt to butt horse traffic carrying villagers and townspeople on their way to buy presents. So these people in the 1500s and even in the 1800s might well have been some jolly folk. I mean, hey, they had long since passed the days of the black plague. They were two hundred years or more beyond that. They’re on the rise, times are a changing and it’s a good thing. Although, Charles Dickens, in his novel A Tale of Two Cities, in 1859 described those days as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
For the sake of those who believe that the times in which we now find ourselves are so different – let me tell you, they are not. Sure, people spend far more money on presents and get togethers than they did in the 1800s but that is not the point. The point is that people, on the whole, have not changed, and neither has the state of society.
I can illustrate this clearly enough with the following quote:
“…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
Guess what, that sounds a whole lot like the present time to me. Well, it’s not. That is actually the rest of the beginning quote in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Good ol’ Charles, he really knew how to describe things. Gotta give the man some credit, he was quite the wordsmith. I might change some of those words a little bit to fit our times,
“It was the best of times for the rich, it was the worst of times for the poor, it was the era of belief in change, it was the era of belief in regression, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the decade of hope, it was the decade of despair, we had an economic boom, we had an economic recession, rich people bought bigger mansions, poor people lost their homes to foreclosure, we were on the edge of a new age, we were on the edge of revolution,…”
Anyway, I am no Charles Dickens. I am also no Benjamin Franklin, but alas we have covered this ground before.
I say, Deck the Damn Hall and be jolly. If you are as frustrated as I am when out driving this holiday season – I have a few recommendations. First, don’t see traffic as that immovable thing between you and your destination. See it as a chance to listen to that song you like one more time. Whether it is Bruno Mars singing about sex or Roger Daltry singing about Pinball Wizards or Mick Jagger singing about not getting any satisfaction or that guy who did that Tubular Bells song – whatever – listen to it one more time. Sing along, be jolly.
When you do finally arrive at that store – don’t see the out of stock sign as a bad thing. See it as a chance to be creative. Hey, now you have the opportunity to show that person how much you care by finding something they will love that maybe even they hadn’t thought of until you gave it to them. Such gifts show that you not only know the person you’re buying a gift for but you care for them as well.
Now my other suggestion might seem a little off to you. Let me just say, I am a little off but consider it anyway. Instead of everyone on the green Earth celebrating holidays on the same days – how about we do things a little differently. We all know that holidays in and of themselves are not specific to religions. Yes, yes, we’ve all researched their origins and know that pagans celebrated the autumn, winter, spring and summer solstices and equinoxes and when Christian peoples took over their lands, the Christians decided the best way to convert the pagans and to get all Christians worldwide to celebrate on the same day – was, no surprise, to go ahead and make Christian holidays on these exact same days or roughly the same days as pagan holidays.
According to the Bible, there is no specified time when Jesus was born. Ancient peoples celebrated his birth at different times of the year depending upon how they interpreted the scriptures, some in November, some in April and so on. Someone somewhere decided to just finalize the dates as Jesus being born around the winter solstice, which pagans all over celebrated anyway and Easter being near the spring equinox, again, which pagans all over celebrated anyway. Most people are aware of these facts. It doesn’t matter because religions and groups celebrate holidays out of the spirit of the matter rather than the factual history.
In essence, what I mean is, you could celebrate your own birthday on any day of the year you choose. The reason is because you are not celebrating the actual day – you are celebrating the fact that you were born and are still around. Yay for you! Party it up on any day you choose.
The same is true for all holidays. Instead of only attending church on those ‘special’ days of Christmas and Easter, attend on any day you choose, if you are religious. Because most religions do not specify specific days in their scriptures on when certain events took place, you could then, celebrate the spirit of the event whenever you want. If you are not religious or an atheist, you could choose to celebrate the spirit of the holidays whenever it is convenient for you.
Get together with your family or friends and pick a day or a month when it is most convenient for everyone and celebrate Christmas or Easter or birthdays or Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. As for other non-religious holidays like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving in the U.S. those are pretty much clad in stone as they do correspond to specific days or times of the year. All I’m saying is for religious holidays, let’s all get together and decide to fight these battles of mall traffic and out of stock signs.
Let’s decide to not let commercialism rule our lives. Let’s stop attending Black Friday events or other Christmas season sales. Let’s not tell the retailers when our group or family will be celebrating holidays. That way, they will have to offer Black Friday style sales all year long. They will have to offer Christmas time sales all year long. We can all agree to stop being held hostage by these stores and their prices and sale dates.
Let’s turn the tides on these commercial monsters! We can take our holiday choices into our own hands. Let’s stand up and take back our time and our money!
And… for those of you not buying into my revolutionary talk about willfully changing holiday dates and times – get out of my way! I have a lot of people to buy for this Christmas season and all of you are just getting in my way. You’re buying the things I wanted to buy at the prices I wanted to buy them at. You’re blocking my roadways and interfering with my plans.
So please, go home and deck your halls. Stop shopping. More importantly, get out of my way. I have last minute shopping to do and I have no time for the rest of the population to follow my lead on procrastination. Be proactive, celebrate on a different day. And hey, if you buy that bit on convincing others in your circles to celebrate on different days because it would work better for everyone
– I have some amazing ocean front property in Arizona I’m looking to sell for a great price. If you buy now, before Christmas and New Year’s Eve – I’ll give you a discount on the Golden Gate Bridge.