Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Blog 1890 – 11.26.2020

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Growing up the annual Thanksgiving Day parade announced the official beginning of the Christmas season. But with year round Christmas decoration stores and many stores putting out Christmas decorations before even Halloween it is Christmas time year round these days. And why not, as Elvis sang, “Why can’t everyday be like Christmas?” And I am not speaking of the Baby Jesus birthday celebration but the much older holiday of gift giving, candle lighting, and decorating with evergreens that stems from the winter solstice celebrations of pagans called Yule Time by Germanic tribes and Saturnalia in the center of the old Roman Empire. The new Christian state religion co-opted the holiday changing the name as it did many other pagan rituals.

Over time the Greek Orthodox Christian Bishop, Saint Nicholas, was turned into the Santa Claus of the tales we tell children today. The celebration has such deep roots in paganism that conservative Christian churches in the United States banned it for twenty years of this nation’s early history as some still do the observance of Halloween. But Christmas was too popular and the “party poopers” lost that battle as they have and continue to many even today.

The “bless you” after a sneeze and the custom of toasts or prayers before meals are not of Christian origin either but are also taken from pagan observations. There is, I think, a little pagan in all of us and the Solstice Festival is all about letting that hopeful pagan out in anticipation of longer days, more light, and new life.

Those who practice other religions than Christianity like to say Happy Holidays or Happy Yuletide rather than Merry Christmas but however you choose to name the season the most important thing is that we celebrate life. One of the best philosophies to me is that of Muppet bandleader Doctor Tooth who says, “There’s a party all the time for them that choose.” I like to put it another way too, “Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.” With Bill and Ted, I greet you all, “Party on, Dudes!”

Your friend and fellow traveler,

In the Nick of Time,

David White

Nick of Time

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

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