Mummers, from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Cold. Freaking cold…. Finally! Not that anyone really looks forward to the freaking cold but it is December and at least it feels right, here in the northern hemisphere for when it is.

The recently forecast snow mostly missed us, leaving many of us in the American flyover to light the final candles of Chanuka in a frigid landscape of bare trees and dormant grasses. Memories of a “White Christmas” are fading with the changes to our global climate.

Our winter holidays are too early for the season in these longitudes. MLK, Presidents and St. Valentine’s Days unfortunately lack the cultural juice to really get us through the brutal winters that keep those of us who aren’t snowbirds close to home and hearth through St. Patrick’s Day.

As the sunlight begins to last a little longer with the coming of the solstice, there is only Christmas and the New Year before we all must face the worst of the winter. Our winter holidays are over before the full brutality of the season starts leaning hardest on us here “where rivers freeze and summer ends”.*

The NFL’s “Super Sunday” league championship game has become a decent winter holiday as it creeps deeper into February, right when we need something for those who are left out by St. Valentine’s Day, whether by their own fault or not. Although it appeals most strongly to the residents and fans of the professional football teams in only two metropolitan areas, the social gathering and gambling opportunities created by the spectacle of sport come admirably close to good enough — especially in the off years of the Olympic Games.

It has certainly been tough times for social celebrations, in this time of need for social distancing. However, we as a civilization desperately need to emerge from the other side of this plague with one or two steps forward. We are out of excuses. We have enough choices to pull it off.

*”Girl From the North Country” by Bob Dylan

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