This is a Request for Comment on Solstmas, a New Holiday Meme. Pre-Launch ToDo
A Thanksgiving Season 2015 Greeting
We've had some software issues recently. We appreciate your patience as we prepare to roll out another glorious year of Solstmas watching, rule making around the fire, and heal the schisms over begin dates. --earth, Nov 24 2015
An Umbrella Meme for the Season
The main winter holiday period, an umbrella celebration to incorporate all existing winter holidays in December and very early January. Necessary to have a single designation for the "holiday season" that can better fit the needs of those who are power-users of the winter holidays yet are not comfortable with the implied advocacy of any given religious tradition by giving "Christmas presents". By having an organizing holiday that has a timelined set of included celebrations, one may be able to more honestly participate in each and not resent others for celebrating sub-holidays.
As of 2013, based on data collection from nine years, the beginning of Solstmas in the United States has been moved to the sundown of the day before Thanksgiving. In the US, people begin holiday travel and shopping, and the major news media switch to a full Solstmas mode as of Thanksgiving. Although small amounts of actual work are accomplished in the first week of December, the work is obviously impacted by being inside the Solstmas gravity well.
In previous years, an ordinary Solstmas had 21 days, beginning December 17 and ending January 6th (see End Date Discussion), but could start earlier, based on when Solstmas J begins. See below, under "Chanukah", for more details. And also Beginning and Ending Dates.
The exhortation/exclamation for Solstmas is "Fabulous Solstmas!", parallel to "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Chanukah" and "Happy New Year". Individual Solstmas days may have their own specific exhortation : "Comatose Solstmas 15!", "Relaxing Solstmas 11!", etc. The details on specific daily exhortations have not yet been worked out, and may be discarded upon further review. "And many garlicy returns!"
Major Reasons For New Name
- The Winter solstice is a physical, astronomical event not tied to any one one religion and yet the conceptual darkest day => start of day lengthening meaning is pregnant with possibility for symbolism.
- Rhymes with and has the same number of syllables as Christmas, the dominant holiday meme during this period and can replace "Christmas" in songs, greetings, and sayings. As in "Christmas", the "t" in "Solstmas" is often silent.
- Mas-ending has a variety of meanings as well as simply being parallel to Christmas linguistically. Extra meanings include Spanish "more".
Holidays designed to be included in Solstmas
Note: Holidays in Solstmas may be referred to by numeric designation by the day of Solstmas on which they fall.
- Chanukhah (Solstmas J), the Jewish "festival of lights", traditionally celebrated with candle lighting, eating latkes, and giving chocolate coins to children. Chanukah presents a particular challenge, as it starts on the 25th of Kislev of the Hebrew lunar calendar. In those years in which Chanukah starts before the typical start of Solstmas (12/17), Solstmas is extended to start when Chanukah does. In this case, it is referred to as a "schlepping Solstmas", and the traditional response to the Solstmas exhortation should be an exhausted "Oy, Solstmas!"
- Winter Solstice (Solstmas 5): Longest night, shortest day in Northern Hemisphere. Rebirth of the sun as it grows and rises in the sky.
- Yule : No universally-agreed dates, but a Northern European solstice/christmas mid-winter festival period. Probably best to assume it's either the Solstice or a week or twelve days sometime around December 21st.
- Christmas (Solstmas 9): Christian undertones and christ-name in word for day requires that non-Christians either find another celebration or learn to ignore Christ-imagery and wording in surrounding media. Lots of fun and non-Christian elements such as Present-giving and receiving, Magical gift-bearing Santa Claus, Magical Reindeer, Celebration of Snow, festive Green and Red, Bells, Tree-worship and pine-smells. Enormous quantity of existing media.
- New Year's Eve (Solstmas 15) & Day: Widely celebrated last day of year, first day of year. Symbolism often similar to Solstice, but more heavily drunken-party oriented. Nostalgia heavy. See Auld Lang Syne.
- NOTE: Numeric designations presented above are not accurate during a schlepping Solstmas (such as 2007), and will need to be recalculated for those years when Solstmas begins before December 17.
- Thanksgiving : Although Thanksgiving should not be considered a purely-Solstmas holiday, the giant gravity well of Solstmas has now culturally grasped Thanksgiving in its shopping-soaked, deadline-ruining claws. Note that a corps of dedicated, brilliant, and attractive individuals still stand athwart the tide of this corrupting intermingling.
Solstmas Food (see Solstmas Recipes)
Like every important holiday, food is important to Solstmas. Some traditional Solstmas foods are :
- Crispy Tofu a la Erowid
- Hand made garlic paste. The hand made garlic paste is not, itself, a food. However, at some point, everyone should participate in the hand grinding of a garlic paste consisting of fresh garlic, black pepper, salt, and olive oil.
- Grapefruit and pumpkin pie. Not necessarily together.
- Satsuma and Clementine mandarins.
- Hotdish of canned French-cut Green Beans, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, and those canned fried onions. When made by a gourmet it is called a "casserole," "comfort-food" or "an oxymoron."
- Collards and Black-eyed Peas (Southern USA) - traditional New Year's Day food, represents "green bills and coin", meant to bring financial luck in the coming year.
- Yule Log (Europe) - raspberry jelly roll cake iced with dark chocolate-with-orange-aroma icing and garnished with meringue "mushrooms" and powdered sugar "snow".
- Traditional Lincoln Family Spaghetti
- The Perfect Roast Turkey
- Herb Crusted Roasted Leg of Lamb with Roasted Garlic Gravy
- Recipe:Stu Split Pea Sanityogen Soup
Problems Solved with Solstmas
One of the persisting issues with the winter holidays is that there is a mix of desire and obligation to participate in one or more types of celebrating. Many people live busy lives and have multiple families or groups of friends they may want to celebrate with during this period.
Solstmas offers a solution by de-emphasizing any one day or set of days as the focus of the celebration. Celebrating Solstmas can occur on any day of Solstmas, any of which are Fabulous days to get together with friends or family and enjoy any one of the many sub-holidays. Solstmas is both a universal solvent and universal glue.
Example Problem: Jim and Starbright want to have a tree and exchange presents, but Starbright's family (SbF) has demanded that they spend Solstmas 9 at the family home. Without Solstmas, they would have to conceptually de-emphasize their own celebration of the winter holidays by allowing the SbF to take precedence over their own personal fun. By recognizing Solstmas, Jim and Starbright are able to view their participation on Solstmas 9 with the family as just one of many opportunities and there is no opportunity cost.
Because the business world has already defacto accepted Solstmas by virtue of the fact that virtually no one is expected to get anything done or pay any attention during the 19 days of Solstmas, there are ample opportunities for days off and slacking. If you work in the retail business, Solstmas is also for you as it offers full celebratory value for almost two weeks after the frenzied period before Solstmas 9. Without the Solstmas Solution, retail workers are often feel left out as they have to work harder than the rest of the year up until their Big Day and there is often little room for actual slack within the confines of the Christmas Holiday Model.
Decorated per taste. Often decorated per 19th and 20th Century Euro-American neo-pagan Christmas Trees.
Current candidate for the Solstmas Mascot is The Solstmas Entity, see Mascot:Solstmas Entity
- Solstmas Eve : the night before an important date during Solstmas, often the giving or receiving of presents, usually only one Solstmas Eve is celebrated each Solstmas, but there is no limit.
Christmas has the creche and trees, Hannukah has the menorah, Solstmas has computer monitors. Not only are monitors bright and capable of pretty pictures, they are also practical and a reminder of Solstmas all year 'round.
Shine? Totem? Altar?
The monitor is the modern age symbol of solstmas because each person can choose their own favorite representation of solstmas to display. It is symbol neutral.