Merry Christmas

A year ago, I wrote that I hoped there would be more time for blogging in the next year.  That time would eventually materialize, but not for several months.  Yet, the frequency of posts immediately spiked, and has stayed higher ever since.  Did I just end up making more time?  Not quite.

I realized after that post that it wasn’t anything unusual for me to hammer out a 250-500 word comment in a conversation.  What then was stopping me from hammering out a blog post of the same size?  So I lowered the threshold of doing a post, giving myself permission to do only a 100 word one, or shorter.  Of course, I’m too much of a big mouth, so the posts are almost never 100 words, but the promise that I could stop at that length made it much easier to start.  And as many of you know, in writing, starting is half the battle.

The result is 120 posts since the Christmas one last year, 117 in 2019 proper.  According to my site stats, that’s the best year since 2014, which had almost 500 posts.  (I used to share articles via the blog, but most of that activity now happens on Twitter.)

And together, we’ve knocked out 5608 comments here so far in 2019.  Thank you!  It’s the discussions with friends which makes blogging worth it.  For me, that’s what really made the last year enjoyable.  Intelligent, often eye opening conversation is what it’s all about!

I read an article this morning about why winter solstice celebrations persist across human cultures.  It’s the ultimate origin for the holiday season.  The religious observances were additions, scheduled to occur on, or perhaps co-opt, existing celebrations.  The article focuses on the natural renewal aspects of the solstice, the fact that the sun starts traveling higher again in the sky, and the days start becoming longer again.

I think there’s something to that.  And maybe that was the original impetus.  But my own strong suspicion is that what the winter holidays are really about today is celebration of our friends and family, a celebration that evolved to lift spirits in the dead of winter.  (I do wonder how this works for people living in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed.)

With that in mind, I hope all of you, my online friends, are having a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

19 thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. Congrats on a highly productive 2019! I’ve often found your blog posts to be thoughtful and provocative. You’ve challenged many of my preconceived notions over the years, and for that I am very grateful to you. Looking forward to more in 2020!


  2. And Merry Christmas from me and mine!

    I’m always amazed at people who can write lucidly at length. It takes me forever just to compose responses here. My average response here takes 30 min. to an hour.

    Best to y’all and all y’all.

    [too much fake Texan?]


    1. Thanks James! 30 minutes isn’t too unusual for me on a long or complicated comment. In fact, I’ve spent hours on some before, thinking through it, or looking for the right way to convey something. Given the subjects we discuss, it’s not always easy.


  3. I’ve surely enjoyed hanging out around here as much as anyone has, so thanks Mike.

    (James, you must have noticed that I’ll commonly think all day about how to respond next, or at least during the work week. I’m not fast, though given my perpetual desire for good conversation, this does seem to work.)


  4. Merry Christmas Mike.
    I think that article is biased to those living in the polar areas. What explanation do we have for these holidays in the equator? colonialism perhaps?


    1. Thanks mak!

      That’s an interesting question. I know tropical regions have dry seasons, but that’s probably not enough to cause a similar psychology. We’d expect to see southern cultures with similar traditions related to the June solstice. I know of some in native South American cultures (such as the Incan Inti Raymi), although I’m not aware of any in Bantu or Papuan cultures. Some of this might be related to how sparse and isolated southern landmasses are from each other, as well as the relative mildness of their winters.

      But the current celebrations do seem heavily derived from high northern latitude customs. I definitely suspect colonialism is a big part of why these celebrations are now so pervasive.


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