There are many, many traditions at Christmas, many of which are simply wrong. In this post, the RT takes time out of his busy Yuletide schedule to set the record straight.
- For the record, Jesus (most likely) was NOT born in winter. Shepherds would not have had flocks in the fields in the dead of winter (Luke 2:8). That makes December (and therefore the 25th of same) highly unlikely for a birth date for the Messiah.
- The Wise Men were not present at the Bethlehem manger, though ever nativity scene on earth depicts it as such. The Magi showed up at the house where Jesus lived (Matt 2:7-12), not at a stable. This would have been some time after his birth. Also, why would Herod kill all babies two years old if Jesus was born yesterday? It’s far more likely that they showed up two years later.
- Christmas began as a celebration conjured up to counter the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, which took place around the winter solstice (December 20 or 21). Since the pagans were winding down their let-it-all-hang-out festival on the 24th, why not invite them to a special day at church on the 25th? Not saying that it wasn’t a noble thought, but made up it was. So, Jesus is the “reason for the season”, though in a rather indirect way.
- It should be a felony to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving. And, by inference, before Veterans Day, Halloween, Columbus Day, Labor Day, the Fourth of July and the Summer Solstice. Only AFTER Thanksgiving.
- As a corollary to the previous observation, Christmas merchandise should NEVER have to compete for retail shelf space with turkeys and goblins.
- “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is THE definitive Christmas show. And only the original 1965 version, produced by Chuck Jones, is legitimate. None of the later live-action or re-animated versions are in ANY WAY permitted. However, “Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are also acceptable, but nothing produced after the 1960s is allowed.
- Presents are to be opened on Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve. Prithee, tell the RT how one can open presents on Christmas Eve if Santa has not yet arrived to deliver them?
- It’s DONDER, not DONNER. Donder is one of Santa’s reindeer (look it up). The Donners were the settlers who ate each other in the High Sierras one winter in the pass that now bears their name.
- Rudolph is not in Santa’s starting lineup. Santa generally does quite fine with eight reindeer, as laid out in “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. As noted in the song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, Rudolph is only required on “foggy Christmas Eves”. This makes Rudolph part of Santa’s special teams group and not a starter.
- Christmas trees were intended to be real, dead ones, hacked to death from a forest somewhere. None of that artificial stuff. (Note: the RT’s allergy to mold pretty well nixed the real Christmas tree thing when Mrs. Nurse RT noted, upon becoming Mrs. RT, that the RT became ill simultaneous with the introduction of a real tree into their collective home.)
- No six-year-old child should be forced to endure the entire three-hour-and-five-minute rendition of Handel’s “Messiah”. Mama RT insisted upon exposing the RT to “culture” at a young age and you see what it got her. Thankfully, the RT had a new wrist watch to help her know exactly how long she had been sitting in the performance.
- Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” is the definitive Christmas album. And maybe “The Star Carol” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. But Hillary Duff’s “Santa Claus Lane” ain’t gonna make it, no matter how many times Walmarts plays it.
The RT is hopeful that this brief post sets the record straight and clears up any misconceptions you may have related to the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. (OK, Andy Williams’ “Personal Christmas Collection” also makes the cut.)
Happy Christmas to all and to all a “good night”. (Yes, “Happy Christmas”. Look it up. That’s how Clement C. Moore captured it in “The Night Before Christmas”.)
Best, The Rambling Texan