Io, Io Saturnalia!
Happy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! Joyous Yuletide!
Since I grew up in Southern California, I never really got why we celebrated Jesus's birth in December. (Mormons believe not only that his real birth was in April, but that it was specifically April 6th. Go figure.) I mean, I was raised Christian, and so I understood the holiday as a celebration of the birth of the Son, and knew that it was celebrated at the same time as the Roman Saturnalia (technically, Dec. 17-23rd) so that the renegade Christians would be safer and less conspicuous in their celebrations. But I certainly didn't have much of an understanding of how totally pagan Christmas celebrations are, or, more importantly, how totally appropriate it is to celebrate the birth of the Son at a time when you really need to believe in, hope for, and celebrate the immanent return of the Sun. But now that I live where winters are bitterly cold and long and the days are dark and short, I get it. I really, really get it.
Here's our tree:
(Some of you might have seen this over at my girlfriend's blog)
GF and I exchanged gifts last night, after we got back from an amazing Christmas Eve dinner at our friend's home. It will be hard for anything we do today to match the beauty and peace of sitting in our living room late, late into the night, unwrapping gifts by the light of the tree.
Today we'll have about ten friends over for a feast, and then we'll have another half dozen or so over for after dinner festivities, including fondue, paper crowns, and champagne. Last year GF made everyone watch "The Littlest Angel," a 1969 Christmas classic starring Johnny Whitaker, Fred Gwynne, Cab Calloway, and Connie Stevens. (And by Christmas classic, I mean seriously schmaltzy shit: an hour of kitsch that feels like 15). This year she's decided that we will all watch "The Little Drummer Boy," I think because she wants people to cry, and not for the same reasons they cried last year when we made them watch "The Littlest Angel." My holiday movie choices were:
1. Auntie Mame (they have at least two Christmas parties during the course of the movie) or
2. The original Yours, Mine, and Ours, because we're all feeling a little nostalgic for a house full of screaming kids, or
3. Jesus Christ, Superstar, because nothing says Christmas like a rock opera about a skinny, sexy, sanctimonious about-to-be-slaughtered corn god who ditches his political message at the last minute and makes his friend take the heat. Forever. (Remember how Judas is kind of a misunderstood hero in JCSS? If not, you need to see it again. It's all about peace, man.)
But, since I got the new Barbra Streisand television special box set, aka the best Christmas present EVER, last night, I am hoping we can watch a little of it.
Happy holidays to all! May your day be the gayest ever! (Ours will be!)