Sunday, December 26, 2004

Irresistible Christmas

Some would have had us resist Christmas. At first, it sounded good -- simplify, resist materialism; then, we find our resistors have more in common with the Puritans and Roundheads -- banning Christmas and plum pudding, when not burning monasteries and hunting fugitive priests.

In England the Puritans could not end customs of St. Nicholas’ feast day, however stringently legislated against. However, the Puritans caused significant disruptions of traditions. John Evelyn wrote in his diary on 25 December 1652 (and also in 1653): "Christmas Day, no sermon
anywhere, no church being permitted to open, so observed it at home."

The Roundheads were uncompromising; they delighted in holding Parliament on Christmas Day. The following remarks were recorded on the floor of Parliament 25 December 1656:

COL. MATTHEWS: The house is thin, much, I believe, occasioned by the observance of this day. I have a short Bill to prevent the superstition in the future. I desire it to be read.

MR. ROBINSON: I could get no rest all night for the preparations of this foolish day’s solemnity. This renders us in the eyes of the people to be profane. We are, I doubt, returning to Popery.


The Popish, having more in common with your everyday pagan than your skinhead Puritan, are not ashamed to admit co-opting various solstice festivals. Indeed, it seems only to have added to the meaning of Christmas.

As a consequence, the conscientious non-objector can, in the space of a few hours,
  • watch the placement of the ceramic Baby Jesus by the tiny niece dressed in Spanish lace, illuminated by just two, flickering, electric candles (for safety purposes);
  • spear the Swedish meatball and sample another variation on cranberry relish;
  • catch up with the poor relations, otherwise intent on a game of spades;
  • enjoy the fruitful ferment of hops, well rendered;
  • admire the Chinese made flashlight/hazard blinker from grandma; and,
  • lend a hand to clean up the mess to the scratchy strains of a grandiloquent Wurlitzer belting out "Silent Night".

Then, at the end of the day, don the spanking new undershirt. Friends, I can heartily recommend the v-neck for comfort and versatility.


Blogger palinurus said...

re the shunning of plum pudding: as someone once said, "It surely must be a sin of pride to act so virtuous about foregoing so little."

12/26/2004 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Adnan Mole said...

I agree with everything you have mentioned (especially the factual quotes from Parliament) including wearing a v-neck for bedtime. :)

12/26/2004 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed that I never got fired up over plum pudding.

Still, I'd rather be on the side of Tiny Tim than the unreformed Scrooge.

12/26/2004 04:28:00 PM  
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