December Reflections

Even people regularly referred to as heathens know that December is for much more than shopping.

Somehow people think that if you are a non-proselytizing believer in a an organizing principle larger than oneself, what I refer to as the Great Organizing Principle in the Sky,  you cannot understand the draw of the Winter Celebration. But dichotomy tends to rule our meager human minds. In December, there are many focal points of  winter revelry. Must of us partake of more than one.

No matter where you are from in the Northern Hemisphere, December calls out for gatherings, hearths, and food.  Solstice, And no matter whether you observe Christmas, academic break, Kwanza, or Hanukkah, every person ends up in a similar quandary.  

“Cookies, Candy, Nuts, or Fruitcake?”

We all ask this question: 

December –– Beyond a Lead-up to Christmas 

And most of the people who do equate it with Christmas do not think of it as Christ’s Mass, which was not one of the bigger observances of an older, pre-modern Roman Catholic Church.  The Church never said when the birth of Christ actually occurred and it did not become writ in stone, so to speak, until it needed to overlay those dreaded, so-called pagan religious festivals with something in order to minimize the Old Religions with something appealing in order to rebrand the date of the recurring North Central European celebration with a Catholic Holiday.

Seasons, Moments, Days, or Months

The hustle-bustle of the contemporary Christmas Season can be a real drag on energy, pocketbooks, and patience.  As I age, I find that I enjoy seasons far more than events.  That is one of the primary reasons I love the whole notion of the Winter Solstice.  Recognition of annual cycles and related weather patterns is ages old.  There is nothing wrong with appreciating millennia old human culture.  It does not take away from anyone’s beliefs. Cycles of growing, grain, and flour are the bedrock of civilization.  

The Classic Fruitcake Diversion

So, if someone tries to lure you into some sort of disagreement or argument about Christmas versus Holiday versus whatever, I would suggest replying that greetings are problematic, but you are all caught up in trying to figure out, “Fruitcake on not?”

partially sliced loaf shaped fruitcake on parchment in a baking tray on a marble table with a knife placed on the tray. with cut paper snowflakes by food photographer jennifer pallian from

This reply works equally well for culturally insensitive folks of all stripes, and this time of the year the stripes most often are red and white, though they can be gold and green, blue and white, or even multi-colored.  

If someone starts pooh-poohing the old bearded man dogma of… say, Santa… or a male God behind pearly gates…  the fruitcake question can distract and divert from ideological disagreement and move the discussion on to gastronomic questions of the ages, such as,

  • “Just how old is fruitcake?” 
  • “How old is the oldest fruitcake?”
  • “Is there really only one fruitcakes that is perpetually re-gifted?”
  • “What are those red and green things in the cake?”
  • “Is it okay to run screaming from the room upon being served a fruitcake?”

If this take on seasonal talk goes awry then please, please refer them to this classic fruitcake article from the now defunct Village Voice.  While the disagreeable person is looking up the referenced link, you will have time to exit the area.