Home for the Holidays

by Rebecca Schmitz

Even though I was raised without religion (My parents came from intensely religious families.  My father was an altar boy at St. Anthony’s, my mother was confirmed at St. Paul’s. By the time I came along they were wholly uninterested in faith.) my family always celebrated Christmas. It was purely a celebration of family and tradition for us. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving (thanks to an entrenched campaign of whining on my part), made at least a dozen types of cookies and candies from scratch, sent cards to everyone in our address book, and bought a gift for the entire family to enjoy. Usually the gift was a board game, something all of us could play after dinner on Christmas night and for months afterward. My dad, tired of Connect Four, bought an Atari for Christmas 1979. The rest of us barely got to play with it; he grabbed the “Adventure” game right away and disappeared into the family room for hours, hell bent on getting the chalice away from the red dragon.

It’s memories like these that make the holidays special for me, despite my professed atheism. Christmas means home, comfort, safety and family. I’m sure many of you feel the same. That’s why it’s important to remember those of us in Missoula who do not get to experience all the small domestic joys of Christmas: the cookies, the cards, the cat throwing up from eating tinsel, the pine needles imbedded in the carpet for months to come. You can help them by donating to the Poverello Center. If only for a few hours, every Missoulian deserves a place to call home this time of year–with or without tinsel in the cat puke.

  1. g. hooligan

    So when I was a kid, my stepdad worked in the advertising department and he got a lot of Christmas presents from ad agencies and photographers and those kinds of fifties/sixties suits and ties guys.

    They gave liquor, and hams and cookies, but most of all, they gave those Swiss Colony and other companies, boxes of cheese samplers, with little fruitcakes, maybe, or sausage or the like. Those cakes with all the little layers were really good.

    But mostly in those gift baskets was little wedges of cheese, or little balls of cheese, baby goudas and baby edams and baby colby’s and baby cheddars and swisses and all the rest. And we got those year after year after year while I was growing up.

    And now, when I contemplate the TRUE MEANING of Christmas, I understand, it was ALL ABOUT THE BABY CHEESES!

  2. ::cymbal crash::

    He’s here all week, folks!

  3. goof houlihan

    Blame it on Jamee….he has unleashed….The Hooligan!

    By way of mea culpa, here’s something from the famous orator and freethinker Robert Green Ingersoll, who once called the Gallatin Valley “a dimple on the fair cheek of nature”.

    “AGAIN we celebrate the victory of Light over Darkness, of the God of day over the hosts of night. Again Samson is victorious over Delilah, and Hercules triumphs once more over Omphale. In the embrace of Isis, Osiris rises from the dead, and the scowling Typhon is defeated once more. Again Apollo, with unerring aim, with his arrow from the quiver of light, destroys the serpent of shadow. This is the festival of Thor, of Baldur and of Prometheus. Again Buddha by a miracle escapes from the tyrant of Madura, Zoroaster foils the King, Bacchus laughs at the rage of Cadmus, and Chrishna eludes the tyrant.

    This is the festival of the sun-god, and as such let its observance be universal.

    This is the great day of the first religion, the mother of all religions — the worship of the sun.

    Sun worship is not only the first, but the most natural and most reasonable of all. And not only the most natural and the most reasonable, but by far the most poetic, the most beautiful.

    The sun is the god of benefits, of growth, of life, of warmth, of happiness, of joy. The sun is the all-seeing, the all-pitying, the all-loving.

    This bright God knew no hatred, no malice, never sought for revenge.

    All evil qualities were in the breast of the God of darkness, of shadow, of night. And so I say again, this is the festival of Light. This is the anniversary of the triumph of the Sun over the hosts of Darkness.

    Let us all hope for the triumph of Light — of Right and Reason — for the victory of Fact over Falsehood, of Science over Superstition.

    And so hoping, let us celebrate the venerable festival of the Sun. “

  4. I happen to agree. It cracks me up when Bill O’Reilly declares his annual war on “The War on Christmas”. Hellooooooooo, it’s a pagan ritual, Loofah Boy. Who cares what people say, so long as they wish others well? Jesus only recently started being the reason for the season.

    You can be a hooligan anytime, Goof.

  5. petetalbot

    Thanks, Rebecca, for pointing out the ‘Pov’ and the great work that it does. I’m kicking some bucks their way.

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