Life is too short for doubt. Whatever you doubt you either really want to do it, or you don’t. So do or don’t, and move on I say.
In all cultures that have particularly harsh winters, there were spirits thought to be more active during these longer nights of the year. Krampus would be just one example. The Kitsune of Japan were another. This is where we get the term fox fire from. And well, as people tended to die much more commonly during the winter season, including from predation, it might seem a bit supernatural.
The seasons of long night were the season of the dead. So winter being the season of death, it might seem natural to associate it with spooks and monsters. In fact, werewolves have a connection to Christmas. It was said that if you were born on Christmas day, you were much more likely to become a werewolf.
I think there’s an old horror movie about that. There is, and they got it from the original lore. Writers sometimes do excellent research, and sometimes not.
Survival was tough. Honestly, even now there seem to be a lot of heart attacks in the winter. Yes. It still holds true. We just die for different reasons these days.
They probably wanted to make the season cheery to combat the normal depression people get. Perhaps this is why the other Christmas lore came about. They needed a counter to the dark? Well, the more they research, the more they find there is a basis for these archetypal images in human experience. Everyone familiar with the phrase “long dark night of the soul”? All evidence suggests that the brain takes that literally.
As for what it means, notice that your feelings and state of mind follow a cycle? Bright and sunny for a time and everything seems clear, then dark and muddled like all the color is washed out? Those dark phases would be spiritual night, but they can get longer and more frequent as you approach a spiritual winter. Even science would say it’s the product of a natural fluctuation, though they would attribute it to biological fatigue. I honestly don’t find attributing everything to the body really explains things. So you experience the dark night of the soul when you reach a point in your life where your feelings seem to have grown cold, and things seem to have lost their meaning.
I got that way last Christmas. Everyone does to some degree, but the positive lore behind winter doesn’t come from just wishful thinking. It’s when we are severely tested, and often when we are the most isolated, that we can see the value of hope the most clearly. I don’t mean hope in the abstract philosophical sense, but in the very primal life wish. The joy of life that the French sometimes make reference to. In the brighter season, we are too busy being busy, and too distracted by things we see to really look at any specific thing.
So as dark and depressing as the winter season is, that spirit of hope that visits us sometimes is very real. Wise in it’s way.
The habit of gift giving came about because it’s during winter when the real crisis points would happen for people, and they more or less didn’t have anything themselves to trade or any money, really. Toys would have been valuable as something to do when you had to stay in shelter. The tradition of hospitality was how towns and villages survived. We have grown soft by comparison.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.