30 September 2016

Rudolph Day, September 2016

"Rudolph Day" is a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long. You can read a Christmas book, work on a Christmas craft project, listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie.

Christmas in the Crosshairs, Gerry Bowler
"There's a war on Christmas!" has been proclaimed now for several years by groups angry about stores saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" or state governments forced to take state-funded creches off state property, etc. Is there really a "war on Christmas"? Well, yes, says Gerry Bowler—but then there always has been.

Christmas has, believe it or not, been a bone of contention since 4 AD (or 4 CE, if you prefer). The early Christian church sanctioned no Christmas celebration and in fact, over the years the most vociferous opponents to Christmas merrymaking have been Christians themselves. "We should not be celebrating the birth of the Christ child as if he were some King Pharaoh," thundered early Christian leaders. The Puritans pointed out that nowhere in the New Testament was "Christmas" mentioned, just a weekly day of rest and prayer, and those were their only days of rest practiced in their meeting houses. The new Protestant religions, especially the Calvinists and Presbyterians, post-reformation rejected "Popish" Christmas celebrations while others pointed out that most of our Christmas customs derive from earlier pagan practices (mistletoe, the evergreen tree, the Yule log), other old time practices (feasting due to killing of livestock that couldn't be fed during the winter and gifts which came from Roman custom of giving gifts at the New Year), or involved wicked events like dancing and singing of songs that were not hymns and—heaven forbid!—men dressing like women and vice-versa. Other religions, as well as nonbelievers, were tired of stores being overwhelmed by Christmas carols and decorations from late November, and worse, their non-Christian children being forced to make Christmas ornaments and sing religious songs.

Bowler neatly and sometimes humorously recounts the history of the holiday, and the protests against it, from the Christian rise which overtook the pagan religions (and absorbed so many of their customs) all the way up to the protests by the Westboro Baptist Church, the ACLU, and various organizations who feel there's just too much Christmas in December. Since I collect books on the history of Christmas, this was a welcome find. I have Mr. Bowler's World Encyclopedia of Christmas and I'm off to find Mr. Bowler's book about Santa Claus now; Christmas in the Crosshairs would make another good-reading addition to my library!

What if we make something for Christmas? Many craft projects should be started now:

"Better Homes and Gardens" Christmas Crafts

"Country Living" Christmas Crafts

"Parents" Christmas Crafts for Kids

Cross-Stitch Christmas Free Patterns

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