Yesterday was my 324th day of self-quarantine.

Christmas is not a time to be alone.

I began my evening early. Cocktails with Cathy in Seattle. We made a great combination. Me with my ribs and she with her back. Cathy indulged, I a small glass of wine.

We finished our Christmas Eve at 8:30 my time. I immediately went to bed and fell asleep. Woke at 11:30. Christmas a half hour away so decided to stay up.

Something was required to celebrate. Christmas cookies and tea. Cathy had mailed me a huge container of home made Christmas cookies.

I pigged out on them. About 10. Delicious, but filling.

TV sucked. Very few Christmas shows as such at midnight. Other than a mass from the Vatican, all regular reruns.

Returned to bed and sleep at 2. Woke at 5.

I have always enjoyed Christmas cookies. My former wife made them big time. Each one a delight!

She began baking December 1. Stored them in one of our refrigerators. Ended up with the whole refrigerator full.

My problem early on was I would grab a few each day as they were done. Then really pig out Christmas Eve.

The few turned into too many. Not healthy. Not comfortable.

I devised a plan that I followed for well over 30 years. I would select one day before Christmas and it became my cookie day. Somewhere around December 20. That day all day enjoyed my wife’s cookies. I would not touch one before that day nor one afterward. Not even Christmas eve and day.

My Christmas cookie collection is not what it was. Fortunately, Cathy blessed me with a big sized container. Lisa just called. She is on her way over with her cookies.  Guaranteed to be good. She makes them as her mother did.

One thing I could never understand. My wife made so many cookies because she had to deliver bags of them to her lady friends. They exchanged. She received in return from her friends bags of the same type cookies.

I thought the whole thing was an Italian custom. I did a little research last night. The practice of women exchanging cookies goes back to the 1800s. There were “cookie exchanges.” A large place/hall where women went and exchanged cookies with other women. The big exchange is now a home visit.

Today’s blog is somewhat like a Morning Stew.

A few news items that attracted my attention this morning.

Headline of one article: Trump’s Gift to the American People Chaos.

Trump yesterday issued a warning to Republicans who did not back his election fraud claims: “I will never forget!”

Cold this morning. Temperature will be going down today. Mid afternoon temperature will be 63 degrees.

There was a Christmas Eve concert last night at Notre Dame in Paris. Still very much damaged, though under repair. The musicians and choir wore hard hats.

We enjoy many Christmas traditions. They have evolved over the years. I am going to touch on Christmas trees and mistletoe.

Keep in mind that many of today’s traditions had their beginnings centuries ago and were part of pagan festivals. Yes, the Christmas tree and mistletoe are pagan derived.

The Christmas tree tradition began with the Romans. So many years back.

There was a Roman holiday known as Saturnalia It was around the same time that Christmas is celebrated today. Wild. Involved feasting, drinking, sex and exchanging gifts.

The Romans began hanging small ornaments on trees outside their homes. Each represented a god. Either Saturn or a family’s patron saint.

During the 16th century, the Romans began bringing Christmas trees into their homes. They decorated them with ornaments similar to those already described.

Credit for lights on a tree goes first to Martin Luther. He added lighted candles.

Understand that the decoration of the trees and moving them inside did not give the trees a Christian or good status. Jeremiah 10: 1-5. Recall the Christmas tree was born of a pagan event.

From candles to electric lights took place in 1882. Edward H. Johnson was Thomas Edison’s friend and partner in Edison’s Illumination Company. He hand worked 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and wound them around a Christmas tree.

It worked!

The next year electric Christmas tree lights were in most New York City homes!

The mistletoe. A lovely modern day Christmas experience. Anyone standing beneath a mistletoe receives a kiss from another.

The mistletoe is a symbol of fertility and life. In winter when all trees are bare, the mistletoe stays green. Continuing to happily grow on bare tree branches.

It is a parasitic plant. Grows only on trees. Not in the ground or in a pot. While growing on a branch, it sucks the nourishment out of the tree that it requires to live.

The mistletoe and romance of a sort go back to the Celtic Druids in first century AD. The mistletoe then and now is primarily grown on branches of willow, apple and oak trees.

The Druids were not interested in kissing. Their goal sex!

In wintertime, the men would chase the ladies around the trees bare of leaves. The only thing growing were mistletoes. It was a game. The men wanted to catch the ladies and the ladies wanted to be caught.

Recall because the mistletoe was a symbol of fertility and life. Under the mistletoe was a proper place to engage in frivolous sexual activity.

The mistletoe itself was considered to have an erotic quality. White berries grew from the bottom of a mistletoe. The whole berries represented testicles. Oozy white juice fell from the berries. Came to be referred to as “oak sperm.”

The sexual nature of the mistletoe was engrained in society. The act of cutting a mistletoe down was considered by the Celtic Druids as “symbolic castration.”

A quaint reflection today is that the custom of kissing beneath a mistletoe carries with it an echo of Pagan penis worship.

By 1784, the English were beginning to kiss beneath a mistletoe. Kissing can be found in the first book of “A Christmas Carol” published in 1843.

Kissing had become the game of the day.

The word mistletoe is derived from 2 Anglo-Saxon words. “Mistel” which means dung and “tan” which means a twig or stick. Together they translate into “poo on a stick.” Not very romantic.

Enjoy Christmas Day!

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