I took the dog for a long walk on this day after Christmas. As usual, I was surprised to see people in the neighborhood standing on their roofs taking down their Christmas decorations and putting their trees on the sidewalk for collection. Likewise I experienced the annual disappointment that the radio stations which started playing Christmas music in November have returned to their normal programming now that it is 26 December.
I was raised, by a Catholic mother who was bent on maintaining her traditions from Ireland. She taught me that 26-December is the time when Christmas had just begun.
Speaking from a Catholic perspective, just as Lent is a time for us to prepare our heads and hearts for Easter, Advent is the time when we likewise prepare ourselves for Christmas. Then a few hours before midnight on December 25th, the lights turn on and we START to celebrate the birth of Jesus. That celebration lasts through the Feast of the Epiphany (aka Nollaig Bheag, or Little Christmas in Ireland), the day the Wise Men came to pay homage to the baby Jesus. Once Epiphany had past on January 7th, Christmas was over in my house and the decorations were put away.
Acknowledging and respecting that we live in a country where Christmas is both a religious holiday as well a secular one, I accept that some people believe that the tree should not be up past after 31-December, lest one brings bad luck into the new year. I also happily accept those who believe that the holiday ends and the tree should come down on the 12th Day of Christmas (6-January). All this being said, I just have trouble with the idea of shutting the whole Christmas thing down today, on the second day of Christmas, you know, Two Turtle Doves day.
When is Christmas over for you?