Hope I’m not stirring up the wingnuts with this, but it got my attention. Farmville players recently received a tree from the game. The tree is initially bare, but you can load it with gifts from friends, which you open on Dec. 24 (me, I’m hoping for chickens).
Due to my compulsion to collect worthless (but visually mesmerizing) strings of 1’s and 0’s, I am thrilled by any new opportunity to gather the meaningless in service of the pointless. Farmville, as always, is only too happy to oblige, and so I’ve been trimming this virtual tree with virtual gifts from my virtual friends. But as I scrolled over the tree today, I noticed this:
While I applaud your bravery in going with the “Holiday Tree” label, Farmville, I’d be curious to hear some of the no doubt calm, rational, and not-at-all-hyperventilated comments you’ve received about this.
For too long, an age-old tradition has been sullied by those who would hide its true name out of some loyalty to what’s popular, or “correct.” Rather than embrace what countless others have found meaningful – the gifts we give, the tree we harvest and decorate, the hams we eat – these individuals have chosen to know the season by a name other than its true one, seeking to hide the true celebration behind it all.
I am referring, of course, to Saturnalia.
Every year, the wife and I travel into the wilderness of Kroger to select the finest $30 Frasier Fir in all the land. We cutteth that tree out of the store, the work of the hands of the workman, with the debit card. We deck it with silver and with gold; we fasten it with nails and with hammers, and one of those green plastic bases, that it move not.
For this day, we allow our slaves to treat us with disrespect.
Come the eve of December 24, the real excitement begins. In the tradition of my Druidic ancestors (on my father’s side), we do then observe the winter solstice with the hanging of our socks (the better to catch falling coins) and lie in eager wait for the coming of Odin All-father astride his great steed Sleipnir. Gifts and punishments are doled out as befit our comportment in the year that was. It is a magickal time for all.
Lo, Saturnalia! And a mergy Krampus to all!