As much as I enjoy the idea behind the holidays like giving thanks and celebrating survivals, victories, families and births (depending on your faith), I wonder if the deep rooted meaning of all these combined faiths' reason for celebrating somehow got caught up in commercialism with the passage of time? Actually, I don't wonder, I know. When my son can see a gift in the back of my car and look into it and say "mom, that's not what I wanted." Instead of, well first, he shouldn't be looking! Second, he should have said, "hey mom, thanks...couldn't help myself but peek!"
As many of you know, I am Zoroastrian. I hear so many of you saying "what?" and it is no wonder. It is a dying faith, but if you look it up you will see it's historical significance. In a nutshell, it was the FIRST faith to say there is only ONE God. It's teachings are simple, to "do good, say good and think good." Our major celebration this time of year, as is true for most Iranians, is Shab-e Yalda (literally "night of birth"), the longest night of the year - a celebration of the winter solstice where families gathers to share in fresh fruit and nuts; a reminder of their thankfulness for the harvested crops that they were still able to gather during the winter months. From this night forward (Shab-e Yalda), days become longer and the "birth" of more light (longer days) meant more potential for survival. The next celebration to look forward to was the spring solstice where everything is renewed and the earth as awakened from its winter slumber.
So if we look back at history and see that religions, faiths as I prefer to say because I believe that all of us share one God, celebrated for a purpose and gave "gifts" of nuts, fruit, food, friendship, oil for light as gifts of thanks...where and why did humanity deviate from that path.
Well, to those of you who are reading this...even if it is only myself...I am old-fashioned in so many ways and pray on a daily basis for humanity to return to humanness. My favorite artist/singer/"spiritualist" who I miss to this day is John Lennon so forgive me for quoting his lyrics because as I walk the malls or listen to the radio, in my mind, this is the only song playing: