Picture two reindeer dashing through the snow pulling a sleigh; one is named Spiritual and the other Secular.
Christmas has been divided into two segments over the years; The Spiritual half with the focus on Jesus’ birth and the secular half with the focus on Santa Claus. Today I discuss the secular side.
Each year we are challenged with the glorious prospect of making sense out of the Christmas season. The five senses are the interstate highways that the season uses to come to our houses. Christmas is one of those times when our senses go on serious overload. We are assailed on every side by stimuli that compete for our attention. If any of the five senses is diminished or inoperable, the enjoyment of the season is also diminished a similar amount. Those living without one of the senses may disagree with me.
I believe that vision is the most important sense for enjoying the season. Think of what you would miss if you could not see the beautiful decorations that fill the house and lift your spirits to festive heights. What would the season be without seeing the beautifully decorated trees with the presents crowding around the base in temporary housing while waiting to be placed in permanent homes? See the beautiful wrapping paper and lovely bows that clothe presents. How they fascinate and amplify our expectation of what is inside the wrappers. What would the season be if we could not see the decorations on houses, in yards, in stores, schools and where we work? I love to see the anticipation in the eyes of children. I can see the visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, as they await the visit from a certain S. Claus.
Simple candles in the windows of a house are beautiful. They are reminders of the past when times were simpler. When we lived near Indianapolis there was a house that was strikingly beautiful during the Christmas season. It was an old house with white clapboard siding and green shutters. The owners placed an unadorned, green wreath in each window and on the front door, and illuminated the scene with floodlights in the yard. It was so simple, yet so powerful. No garish lights intruded on the image to spoil the mood. Norman Rockwell would paint the house and use it for a cover for The Saturday Evening Post. The sight of that house greatly enhanced the joy of the season.
On second thought, I believe that hearing is the most important sense in enjoying the holiday season. What would the season be if we could not hear carols sung by a choir? How drab the season would be if we could not hear the laughter of children opening presents; the voices of families telling of Christmases long, long ago; the cheery greetings of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; church bells chiming ona Sunday morn reminds me of the town where I was born; Bing Crosby singing White Christmas; the contented sounds of family and friends visiting. How glorious.
On third thought, I believe that the senses of smell and taste are the most important to assure enjoyment of the holiday season. Oh how I would miss the smell of the freshly cut tree; vanilla candles; the potpourri that so pleasantly assails my olefactories; the taste of turkey, ham, smooth chocolate candy, peppermint candy canes, yeast rolls, hot cider, chestnuts roasted by the fire; the taste of oranges and apples; hot chocolate on a cold winter night; ivory soap and new flannel jammies on babies; cologne and sassafras wood burning in the fireplace.
On fourth thought, I believe that the sense of touch is the most important sense for enjoying the holiday season. The tree needles always stick my fingers as I drape the tree with decorations. That is all right since it is a part of the season. Squeezing packages is a ritual that many engage in. Making snowmen and throwing snowballs is a part of touching. But, the greatest feeling is the touch of handshakes from friends and the hugs from loved ones. I can still feel hugs of Christmas past. I distinctly remember the one I received from my mother when I made it home from the Navy for the holidays. I remember my rather large hand disappearing into my father’s huge paw that same Christmas in a manly handshake. Touch is so important for humans. What would we do without it?
On fifth thought, I think that all of our senses help make sense of the holidays. They make the season bright. I sense that you agree with my assessment on the senses.
[Larry Vandeventer. Go to my two websites – Larryvandeventer.com and wjrambler1956.com – and purchase my books. I grew up North of Calvertville and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State. Contact me at Goosecrick@aol.com or 812-796-0784]