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M.A. Peel

Hey Lance, don't forget to read Joyce's Dubliners on Jan. 6, which is set during a Twelfth Night party. As for the calendar, there's an Octave within the 12 days--each day in the Octave is a solemnity. I think it's just a way of saying that what just happened is so important, it cannot be contained within 1 rising and setting of the sun.

Sabutai

In all fairness, many of us don't celebrate Christmas because we don't associate with "the Church", so why pay attention to its calendar? That said, I keep the season going until New Year's Day at least (and usually until the first weekend afterwards, when everything comes down). And any lawn inflatables should not be torn down the day after Christmas...they should be torn down as soon as they are installed.

marjo

My son's birthday is Dec. 10, and friends with December birthdays always counseled me to keep his birthday separate from Xmas celebrations, so from Thanksgiving to Dec. 10, we are preparing for his party, etc. Only after that, I turn my attention to Christmas. Okay, part of the reason is because I'm not organized enough to handle more than one holiday at a time. At 10, my son doesn't seem to mind if his birthday would overlap with Christmas, but I wonder if he would feel that way if I mooshed them together every year.

Every year, I'm late getting the tree up, but always keep it up until Jan. 6, Epiphany. I no longer go to church like I used to, but I still wish that Christmas would linger longer. I enjoy the greens, colors, lights, of the season, and feel sad when they go. My pet peeve is when the local radio station starts playing Christmas music ad nauseum from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and then wham! right when my holiday labors are done and I'm ready to relax in the season, the Christmas music is gone and the world rushes back to work.

I like taking time off at the beginning of January to savor my own quiet time, assess the year and journal, if only to gloat that my holiday goes on while others' are over!

Rana

I like the holidays best after the craziness of preparation is over, and you can just enjoy the family, food, lights, sparkle...

It's so strange how there's this great (and annoying) rush to begin the "Christmas season" on November 1st, and yet, on Christmas 26, boom - it all disappears.

Of course, I'm one of those people who will be mailing out the cards and gifts _after_ New Year's...

Victoria

I, too, have always had a special place in my heart for Twelfth Night, started collecting articles and notes on it in a file when I was a teen. I like the cake and the bean/coin/charm and mostly the word epiphany. Surely, we fail to honor a thing called Epiphany at some peril. I agree that it's a season, not just a day or two. For me, it starts at the Solstice and goes to Epiphany, and I try to "practice" it as a series of deep meanings that resonate for me and mine. A time for long, deep breathing rather than a breathless dash that jerks to a halt.

Avedon

It has nothing to do with the church, of course - it's the darkest time of the year, and we need the bright lights and warmth. I love it that it's an excuse to be cheery to strangers, too.

Solstice comes but twice a year, whether you believe in gods or not. It's just there. You might as well use it for all it's worth.

PurpleGirl

While I was growing up we kept the tree up until my Mother's birthday (Jan. 8). I don't always have a tree but I try to get the cut-off branches from a tree seller which I then put in a big, heavy crystal vase and hang ornaments on them. Last year I kept the branches up until sometime in February -- I just liked how it looked and kept smelling piney. This year I got a wreath which I hung on the dining room wall and decorated with snowflake ornaments.

I like your comments about growing up and and not doing things just because they are opposite of your parents/family. It took me a few years to discover that myself and since I did life has been happier and much better.

Kip W

Good piece. I like your last line (and the insight it encapsulates).

By coincidence, the next-to-last thing in my little notebook is a speculative thought I had just before my birthday last month: "The opposite of genius is still genius." (I'm here via Avedon's link, btw.)

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