Author Topic: Early Christmas lights  (Read 691 times)

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Offline Magdalene

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Early Christmas lights
« on: November 17, 2007, 12:35:11 AM »
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  • I remember that stores and businesses used to put up the Christmas trees and lights after Thanksgiving. But these past few years, they've started putting them up the first week of November (I live in California). What is with the rush? Has anyone else noticed this in their state too?

    Since we are on the topic, does anyone know what the Catholic practice of putting up the Christmas tree and lights is? Do we do it the day before Christmas? When are we supposed to take down the lights and Christmas tree?

    Offline gilbertgea

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #1 on: November 17, 2007, 06:24:06 AM »
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  • The Christmas season begins with Christmas.  The correct, traditional thing to do is to put it up on Christmas Eve and take it down either at Epiphany or at Candlemas.


    Offline Matthew

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #2 on: November 17, 2007, 09:19:02 AM »
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  • Gilbert is right, but we don't want to just have the tree up for 12 days.

    We usually take it down a week after Epiphany (plus or minus), especially when Lent comes early. Once you cross Septuagesima, it's DEFINITELY time to take down the tree. You can't celebrate Christmas and pre-Lent at the same time.

    As for putting up the tree, I don't want until Christmas Eve for practical reasons -- between the tree, the lights outside, and the lights around our main room (running next to the ceiling), there's a lot to do!  Then there's baking/buying gifts for our close relatives, etc. So we usually aim for a week before Christmas.

    We also distinguish between putting up the tree bare, decorating it, and when we turn on the lights. All of the above, however, happen deep into December. We'll aim for Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12) or Gaudete Sunday -- the latter seems close enough to Christmas, and even in the spirit of the Liturgy (to rejoice that Christmas is close at hand)

    It's very hard, too -- we keep our house un-decorated for SO LONG compared with everyone else -- but after Christmas, you feel like you should stop celebrating Christmas too. It's as hard to "keep the celebration going" by yourself as it is to refrain from celebrating Christmas before it comes.

    Matthew
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    Offline gilbertgea

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #3 on: November 17, 2007, 10:00:51 AM »
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  • Quote from: ChantCd
    Gilbert is right, but we don't want to just have the tree up for 12 days.


    Candlemas is 2 February.  That would be about five weeks.

    Quote
    As for putting up the tree, I don't want until Christmas Eve for practical reasons


    I can see the justification for Gaudete Sunday.  Alternately, if you wanted to tie in St. Nicholas with Christmas, you could put it up on 6 December.

    Offline lthngsbrtnbtfl

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #4 on: November 17, 2007, 10:17:39 AM »
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  • Quote
    Alternately, if you wanted to tie in St. Nicholas with Christmas, you could put it up on 6 December.


    I like this one.  We have been trying to celebrate St. Nicholas day in a very big way, with a special feast and little gifts in the stockings (usually educational ones...I guess St. Nick wants them to better themselves... :wink:)  It would be really neat to have the tree ceremony that night too.

    (Plus, it's a great excuse to put it up sooner...!)

    Yes, the tradition of putting out all the Christmas stuff as soon as Halloween is over is obviously profit-driven...get those people Christmas shopping Now!!!  It upsets me that doing so manages to overshadow Thanksgiving almost completely...and of course, we know that Thanksgiving is finally "out of the way" when the "day after" glut of shopping commences.  Yuck.

    Now if only I could bring myself to dispel the Santa Claus myth with my kids.  They're still so young...but my oldest is already asking way too many intelligent questions about the connection between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus...

    Does anybody have any suggestions of how to do this gently?

    God Bless,
    Lisa
    Thus saith the Lord to you: Fear ye not, and be not dismayed at this multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God's...It shall not be you that shall fight, but only stand with confidence, and you shall see the help of the Lord over you: ...fear ye n


    Offline gilbertgea

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #5 on: November 17, 2007, 10:53:50 AM »
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  • Quote
    Now if only I could bring myself to dispel the Santa Claus myth with my kids.  They're still so young...but my oldest is already asking way too many intelligent questions about the connection between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus...

    I used to think there was one.  (I.e., Santa Claus = St. Nicholas.)  Now, I'm not so sure.

    I just read a book -- Religious Customs in the Family, by Fr. Francis X. Weiser, S.J., (c) 1956, publ. by TAN Books -- in which Fr. Weiser explains that there really is no direct connexion between Santa Claus & St. Nick; that Santa Claus is actually based on the Germanic/Norse god Odin.

    (I always thought Santa Claus was a corruption of Saint Nicholas.  "Claus" is a German nickname for "Nicholas", and "Santa" is obviously some Romance language form of "Saint".  Although, come to think of it, if a German were going to render it, it would be Sankt Claus, not Santa Claus.)

    Anyhow, Fr. Weiser says that the Dutch brought the 5 December "visit of St. Nicholas" (whom they call "Sinter Klaas") celebation to New Amsterdam (later, New York) when they colonised the area.  When the (...Protestant) English took over the colony, they liked the idea of the celebration, but not the obviously Catholic meaning.  So, they simply moved the celebration to Christmas and transformed the central character into a cleverly-disguised version of Odin.

    Apparently, Odin resembled a kindly old man who flew around in the sky in a cart drawn by a couple of goats, helping humanity by fighting off snow giants (I always thought he flung a hammer at them...), visiting houses by sliding down the chimney, then flying back to his palace in the icebergs somewhere in the frozen north.

    I'm not sure I buy it, but it does look kind of suspicious.

    Anyway, Fr. Weiser goes on to suggest a solution: have your kids write letters to or ask Our Lord Jesus Christ for their Christmas gifts and have Santa Claus be the delivery-boy.  No, I'm not making that up.

    It does have the benefit of being original...

    Offline lthngsbrtnbtfl

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #6 on: November 17, 2007, 12:22:35 PM »
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  • Quote
    (I always thought Santa Claus was a corruption of Saint Nicholas.  "Claus" is a German nickname for "Nicholas", and "Santa" is obviously some Romance language form of "Saint".

    This is what I had understood.  We have a book called "Christmas Gift Bringers" that tells the story of the different Christmas traditions in different countries around the world.

    So what I have told them in the past is that Santa/St. Nick loves Jesus so much, that instead of bringing gifts to Jesus on his Birthday, since he doesn't need them, he brings gifts to good girls and boys who love Jesus and who give Jesus their gifts of love and obedience.

    We typically don't write letters to Santa, since they're still pretty young.  We'll probably just avoid it altogether.  Since we have family celebrations, I sometimes ask them verbally what they would like so that I can give others ideas (thereby avoiding getting things like Bratz dolls, etc.)

    Quote
    (I always thought he flung a hammer at them...)


    Umm, that's Thor.

    God Bless,
    Lisa
    Thus saith the Lord to you: Fear ye not, and be not dismayed at this multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God's...It shall not be you that shall fight, but only stand with confidence, and you shall see the help of the Lord over you: ...fear ye n

    Offline gilbertgea

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #7 on: November 17, 2007, 12:36:25 PM »
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    Umm, that's Thor.


    Oh, yeah.  Odin had a spear...  It's been a while.  I get my pagan "gods" confused...

     :scratchchin:

    Quote
    We typically don't write letters to Santa, since they're still pretty young.


    Neither do we.  But, then there's the whole "Santa Claus in the shopping mall" thing...  That'd be a great thing if you could march your trad. Cath. congregation into the shopping mall, then have the little kids ask "Santa" to tell Jesus what they want.  Esp. if the employee playing the Coca Cola elf is an atheist.

     :shocked:


    Offline lthngsbrtnbtfl

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #8 on: November 17, 2007, 02:10:54 PM »
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  • Sorry, but I won't bring my kids within shouting distance of a shopping mall.  Whatever benefit there may or may not be to the idea of telling the mall Santa to ask Jesus for their presents would be undone a thousand times over by the pure filth on view in every shop.  And as if that weren't bad enough, there's no way to steer clear of the Disney store either, and I refuse to buy that garbage, so why trot my kids in front of it.

    Nope.  My kids are blissfully unaware of that nonsense.  :pray:

    God Bless,
    Lisa
    Thus saith the Lord to you: Fear ye not, and be not dismayed at this multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God's...It shall not be you that shall fight, but only stand with confidence, and you shall see the help of the Lord over you: ...fear ye n

    Offline JoanScholastica

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    Early Christmas lights
    « Reply #9 on: November 17, 2007, 09:48:36 PM »
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  • Quote from: Magdalene
    Since we are on the topic, does anyone know what the Catholic practice of putting up the Christmas tree and lights is? Do we do it the day before Christmas?


    We do it a week before Christmas day (because we have a lot of lights and decors) but we light it up on the 24th.


    Quote from: Magdalene
    When are we supposed to take down the lights and Christmas tree?


    We remove it immediately on the morning of January 7 (the day after Epiphany).

     

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