Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings

Ah, I can hear you now.  The War on Christmas!  Target in sight; good hunting.

Actually, I don't say "Season's Greetings" to anyone, because it sounds odd.  It's something that gets written on cards full of greenery and cardinals which are sent to people you aren't sure celebrate Christmas.  (If you are sure they don't, you send them Hanukkah cards at the wrong time of the month if they're Jewish, or cards with "Peace" and a dove if they are anything else, hoping it will not be taken the wrong way if they happen to be Muslim.  If you send cards at all.  Keep meaning to get back to doing that one of these years.  Aside from the few Landreth Seed Co. vegetable notecards I stuck into packages, trying to choose the ones with the most red and green - watermelons for Christmas, yay!)

But yeah, no one says "Season's Greetings"; they say "Happy Holidays," which is a PC way of declaring that you want your target recipient to be happy and celebrate something, in fact multiple somethings, because of that final s.  I suppose nearly everyone celebrates New Year's Eve and/or Day, unless they have to work on both of them, and then if we can add in one more, somehow, it makes holidays plural.  It works out fairly well in years like this one when Hanukkah overlaps Christmas; I always wince a bit hearing it in the third week of December when Hanukkah was over a week before and no one else has any holidays happening to speak of.  There will always be one along eventually, I guess; it's like wishing someone a good bus ride when they are waiting at the stop.  "Have a good holiday" is even safer.  (Yes, thank you; I plan to enjoy the Fourth of July this year.)

And I am all for being safe, as well as courteous, and don't tell people they must have a Merry Christmas unless I'm sure they intend to.  I kind of wish I could say "Season's Greetings," though (well, I could.  It seems to go with a curtsey and an honorific and possibly a petticoat, and all that could be arranged).  Because there is a reason that whatever holiday we celebrate this time of year has something to do with lights in the darkness, and that those with a long tradition in the north include evergreens and root vegetables, and that is because they are seasonal holidays, and seasons are important, and I don't think enough people (of those lucky enough to live in a place where there are distinct seasons) are really aware of them in this same-food-year-round climate-controlled(-except-not-really) age.

We ought to wish each other "Season's Greetings" all year, while shivering and cutting holly branches in the winter, while raking leaves (for the compost) in the fall, while sweltering and harvesting tomatoes in the summer, and while watching the green leaves emerge in the spring.  We should acknowledge the joys of each separate time of the year, and the seasonal depressions that can haunt people not just in the winter, and the fact that our outdoor environment changes, and our indoor environment too, if we bring flowers inside in the spring, and fresh produce in the summer, and long-storage produce in the fall, and evergreen trees in the winter.  I get rather overwhelmed in December by gift-giving, excessive food, endless carols, people saying "Happy Holidays," and the dilemma of religion, and when I crawl off in a corner to read a book it's generally not a gardening book (please, I need a break), but I always love the Christmas tree and the lights.  And the sweet potatoes.

So, Merry Christmas if you want one, and Season's Greetings to all, and to all a good if short day (unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere), and lights in the darkness.


  1. I'm really big on lights in the darkness. Maybe because I was born in January, I have to take care not to go into a deep funk in the winter dark, wishing to be a bear in hibernation or maybe just back in the nice warm womb. So I have taken to quietly celebrating the solstice and insisting on colored lights in and out, and refusing to shut off the outside ones until I am satisfied that the days are REALLY getting longer, and it is not a fluke of my imagination. Usually early March, holding on til the equinox seems overdoing it.

  2. That's a grand philosophy. And the days may be getting longer, but it's hard to notice that for a while; happening too slowly.

  3. Apparently philosophy is necessary to winter peace of mind.

  4. Yes, Erica, we're all worn out by all the holiday greetings that we manage to deliver in the most general, unspecific way. I say let's abandon this commercialized, sterilized mess and establish a hew holiday. I propose that we declare March 15 to be "First Spade Day," the symbolic holiday celebrating the first turning of garden soil for the coming season's garden. Whenever someone wishes us "Season's Greetings," we can reply, "Thank you! I can hardly wait for March 15 and First Spade Day." Interesting dialog should follow soon thereafter. Happy First Spade Day, everyone!

  5. And a Happy First Spade Day to you too, Bob! Although considering our weather this winter, it may be in January!