But then, I do love the lights

The Impoverished Preppy made an interesting comment on my last post; she mentioned that the thought of no holiday decorations made her a bit sad.

And as I thought about it, I had to admit that it is a bit sad to not honor the season with lights and candles and greenery. Nativity scenes and santa bullshit aside, there is beauty to the traditional decoration of the season, and much of it has little to do with the churchy, commercial nonsense I so dislike.

I dreaded winter in Sweden, when the sun appeared only from 11 am to 2 pm, until I learned how Swedes celebrate the season of darkness. In November, when the gray of the world is at a maximum, they light candlabras and lanterns and live in cozy firelight until spring. It is beautiful and heartwarming, and now that I think about it, an ideal way to honor the season, the Solstice, Hannukah and Christmas.

After living there, in the cold, blond North, I made candles an everyday part of my life. The rituals of lighting them and blowing them out became like a prayer, and so even though I claim to eschew all things religious, I have to admit that I do feel a universal greatness when it's dark except for fire (and, honestly, I even little twinkle lights are really pretty).

Sigh. There goes my hard stance on all things Christmas. Full disclosure: earlier this year, I said to Brad, "Maybe we should get a tree. Not for stupid ornaments, just for lights and my pretty fabric garland (see below)." And he looked at me like I was high. I think he loathes the holiday hooplah even more than I.

But we'll see. I love, love, love this festive garland I fashioned from pretty fabric scraps. It's one of the most delightful things I've ever seen - like a tutu in its over-the-topness, but free of red and green and Jesus...just how I like my holiday stuff.

Big Arnie, who turns 5 years old on December 26th, makes a charming model, no?


Kate said...

It seems that almost every culture has some sort of winter festival of lights...like hoping for some light in the midst of the wintery darkness unites us all. If only we could all be on the same page like that where religion was concerned...

Give Arnie a big birthday hug & kiss for me!

Jen Yu said...

Happy Birthday Arnie!! Big snuggles and cuddles for my furry friend. K-dawg sends her wags and butt scoots too. December Dawgs are the best! :) (No offense to Red, he's a sweetie too). Hope you all had a great Christmas, your way. Much love and hugs to you for the end of 2008 and the arrival of 2009. xxoo

Anonymous said...

I like your description of winter in Sweden. Now that it gets dark in Vermont by 4, perhaps I'll pick up some lanterns so we can do the same. Love sitting by the wood stove grading papers or reading while the girls color. (PS I can't light a fire in our stove either!)

Stop by my blog and take a look at the Scandinavian baby names we've been discussing. Would love to get input from someone outside DH's family who's been to Norway or Sweden.