Mrs Vache Folle made a pretty good observation the other day while we were watching a TV program about folks who go crazy with their Christmas lights. She reckoned that the lights are a way of fighting the darkness that is most profound around the winter solstice. Moreover, the activity of setting up the lights and keeping Christmas is a way of fending off depression.
Mrs VF reckoned that societies with winter would tend to have holidays around the winter solstice to get them through the darkest days without killing themselves. Folks kill themselves around the time of the solstice because of the hopelessness and darkness, and the holidays are meant to get them through it. If they kept Christmas better (or the other holidays) they could get through the season alive.
Look at the way we celebrate Advent. We tell ourselves to have hope, to know peace, to be joyful, and to celebrate the light. If we didn't do this, we'd be confronted with despair, anger, depression and darkness. Seriously, the winter solstice sucks.
We're hosting the choir party this year, so for the first time in years we are actually decorating our house and putting up lights. Or we will when I get around to it. The snow has set me back a bit. I have to keep reminding myself about how beautiful the snow is and to put my feelings that it is a big honking pain in the ass aside.