“How did it get so late so soon?” –Dr. Seuss
We have reached that time of the year again. We are at the twelfth and last month of the year. Although, December historically was not always the twelfth month, for a long time ago it was the tenth month. Maybe that is why the month seems to sneak up on one. I know its coming but I am never prepared for it. December is often thought of as a time of great pause and reflection and the year that has passed. Although, with all the nog and rum that is found all about, I am not too sure that lessons learned become deeply embedded in our hearts. December is a time of mirth and feigned contemplation. The real hard-hitting thoughts won’t come until the New Year when the liquor has dried up and the new toys lie broken and tired. Oh boy. I think there are too many bitters in my Old Fashioned cocktail.
Besides Christmas day, the month of December is filled with slightly kooky, unnerving celebrations that really get your brain waves rocking. December 18, for instance, happens to be both the National Bake Cookies Day and the National Roast Suckling Pig Day. Makes me wonder if chocolate chip pork cookies are any good. If any place would have such a concoction would probably be Puerto Rico-where anything with pork is just the ultimate in deliciousness. I kid you not. Pernil (the Puerto Rican version of roast pork) is something kids look forward to as much as Santa Claus on December 25. I am so going to give this a try this year. Anyway, moving right along. December 19 is National Oatmeal Muffin Day. I guess after eating pork cookies on December 18, you will need a cleanse of sorts. I am starting to get the hang of these national celebration days. I recommend that January 1st be National Drink a Banana Day. Are you wrinkling your forehead? Come on, you can figure it out!
Speaking of odd celebrations, December 21 is National Flashlight Day. Such a day does seem to make sense considering that Sagittarius is the zodiac sign for December (up through the 21st). See those born under this zodiac sign are often considered wanderers; seekers of truth and the meaning of life. Of course, we should have national flashlight day on the last day one can be born a Sagittarius; which also so happens to be the winter solstice. You seek the truth, the day is short, you need a flashlight. Thus December 21 is National Flashlight Day. Ah, I like when things are given meaning and names that are quite literal and save you the hassle of trying to figure things out. Consider this: Anglo-Saxons use to call December ‘Winter monath‘, or ‘Yule monath‘ because of the custom of burning the yule log around this time. Thank you for such simplicity in meaning. So instead of being called yule monath this month is called December –which, again, comes from the Latin for ten although it is the twelfth month. How’s this for complicated? There is an old superstition that if you wear new shoes on Christmas day you will get bad luck. So, don’t ask Santa for shoes. And if you do ask for shoes and you get them, don’t wear them. I take it back. That’s not very complicated.
December’s birth flower is the narcissus. There could be no better birth flower for a psychologist. So, harkening back to mythology, we know that narcissus fell in love with his own beauty and reflection and suffered an arrogant demise as a result. While December is often touted as a time for family and reminiscing; it has also become the time of people tasing each other over a flat screen television or a talking over-priced robot dog. Does your family really need that robot or better yet can your family afford that bail money? This tug and pull of December, reminds me of how Tanzanite, December’s birthstone, is noted being a very strong gem yet having multiple color manifestations (sapphire blue, burgundy or violet) depending on how it is held. There is no true color for Tanzanite; yet in December we hope to find truths. Can we even afford to look at our reflections? Interestingly in Victorian times, the Narcissus flower took on a new meaning coming to symbolize faithfulness and modesty. Narcissism and modesty can co-exist.
And while I am freezing, slipping and sliding on black ice there are those in Australia enjoying the highlights of surfing Santas and sleighs being led by kangaroos. At the end of the day, the month, the year it is all about perspective. As John Geddes noted “December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory…” But, I would add, only if you let it. Now, let me get started on those pork cookies.