Of all the reasons to celebrate the holidays, freedom of expression tops the list. We do it every year without giving it much thought. We deck the halls, decorate the tree and turn our homes into individualized declarations of our unique take on the season’s joy.
The Romans got us off to a rousing start. They were the first to take a midwinter break dedicated to drinking, overeating and endless parties. They also dragged in what little greenery was available to liven up their interiors. The seven-day revelry honored Saturn, their agricultural god.
Gift giving was a big part of the Saturnalia festivities too. We owe our beloved holiday traditions to the Romans, but there were bumps in the historic road. By the 4th century, established religions declared it all a pagan rite observed by heathens. The Puritan population at Plymouth considered the celebration a blasphemous exercise in idolatry.
Thank goodness the majority of our ancestors continued to deck the halls. We have certainly upped the decoration game over the centuries. We laugh at the image of Santa mooning us from a toilet seat cover. And who doesn’t thrill to the tackiness of a Christmas Story leg lamp ornament?
The nation that elevated Woolworth’s to icon status also appreciates the seasonal elegance of expensive holiday expression. If visions of designer sugar plums brighten up your dreams, why not adorn the tree with miniature Louis Vuitton bags? Some mantles are destined to glow with garlands of Swarovski crystals.
Our decorations sing out to the world and declare our love for the midwinter break. We might be home crafters who build Nativity scenes from scratch. Some of us are ornament bakers who dress up the mantel with frosted gingerbread men. You might be a holiday hacker who creates sparkling winter wonderlands under glass cheese domes.
Let’s wrap this up with a wonderfully obvious observation. No matter how we deck the halls, this is the time of year to embrace each other with open hearts and appreciate our hearty appetites for self-expression. That is the best way to revel as we reveal our unique holiday spirits and share our collective joy.