Days of Holly Daze.
We have come up with a principal for each of these twelve days that
we think, when thought about, should help make the upcoming year better
than the last.
On each day we light a candle, have a feast, and give a gift. A couple of interesting traditions, born in poverty have developed in our family around this longer celebration. Stuff is cheaper after Christmas, and we ofter have gotten things we can regift, so we save all our big presents for the last half of the holiday. It's fun to do our shopping when the stores are quieter and littered with crazy sales.
Another favorite tradition (especially among the boys) is The Stealing of the Tree. We do this late on Hope (Christmas Eve to you), when the moment a tree lot closes, any Christmas Tree left over instantly turns into compost, and represents a cost to the tree seller. By jumping the fence and stealing a tree, we are actually saving them money, even as we we get a little thrill of faux-larceny.
We then go and find someone selling Tamales, and easy task on Christmas Eve in here in LA, which we eat while trimming our tree (or trees, one year we hung 12 upside down from the ceiling) and wrapping our presents.
We've divided these 12 days into a Quartet of Trinities, each
joining to construct a pattern of renewal. On each evening of Holly Daze, we light
another candle to represent each one of these principals, much as is done for Chanukah and Kwanzaa.
First Trinity deals with the formation of Community
both in spirit and in society. We think of spirit in its most literal
form: Spiritus, as the breath of life that unifies us.
Principal is Unity.
Nothing is more fundamental to the formation of community than being
united. On this First Day of Holly Days, the 21st
of December, the first day of winter and the date
of the actual solstice, we consider our Unity.
The Second Principle
we celebrate is Compassion, because to feel
with those with whom we share our lives is essential to forming a
Principle we consider is Kindness.
Kindness builds connections between us. Kindness is a
gift that forges gentle obligations of reciprocation.
In the Second
Trinity we come together through Sharing.
Gifting is the most primary and powerful economic form, and the most behaviorally rich and best loved aspect (at least by the kids) of both the Christmas and Chanukah holidays.
On the Fourth
day, the 24th of December, which is Christmas Eve, we consider Hope.
All of us want more for ourselves and our loved ones, all of us hope
for better world, and as we share our longings with each other, we can
see more clearly what we need and celebrate what we have.
day, the 25th of December also know as Christmas, is Generosity. On this day we give generously of
ourselves. We try to fulfill each other's heart's desires, and we think
about the way giving can be so enriching, not only to our own spirits,
but to our communities..
For the last of
the Sharing Trinity, on the 26th, also known as Boxing Day, the sixth principal is Gratitude, for giving without gratitude may breed
resentment and greed. Gratitude for all we have
always puts perspective on our lives, which are such amazing gifts, and
beyond which we really should ask no more.
Trinity consists of Personal Ideals
feel can help us achieve more internal harmony in our
lives. We've tried to give this bit of coasting betyween Christmas and New Years something deeper than just getting over food and drink hang-overs
Principle then is Truth.
Seeking the truth is one of the most glorious pastimes humans have
ever devised, and it is a path that has no limits. We have faith that
the more we see ourselves and our world clearly and honestly,
the better able we will be to live good lives.
Principal is Love. When we
built love within ourselves it heals us as much as it does those
things and people that we love. We also have faith that whenever we
strive to muster Love within us, our lives will be
The last of this
internal trinity, the Ninth Principal, is Courage. So much within us resists growth, fears
change, and can cause us to cower, almost lifeless. We believe that
only when we buck up our Courage can we move into the
unknown and develop new and better ways to be.
The Fourth and final
Trinity is about Rebirth. These are based on Judaism's High Holy Days of Awe, shifted around to our Julian Calendar.
On the Tenth Day we consider Atonement.
We try to face our guilt, and see what things we might do better, take
responsibility for our actions, and prepare to move forward.
Then on New
Year's Eve, the Eleventh Principal is Forgiveness. Without this, hate and reproach
fester and poison every endeavor we undertake. As the new year starts
we share a Kiss of Forgiveness with those we love,
and even with those we may have hated.
Finally, on New
Year's Day, we consider the Twelfth and Last Principle,
Redemption. Each of us wishes
be reborn each day, wishes to find our better self and the world we long
for in our hearts. It is this spirit of the Redeemed
that we celebrate as we end our celebration, and prepare to return to
our mundane lives.