There is a wonderfully lyrical article over on Salon by Garrison Keillor today, forcing all us Christmas sceptics to re-evaluate Christmas in all its techicolour, tinselly, absurdly over-commercialised glory, and remember what it is about today, why we put ourselves through the sheer nightmare of it year after year, cursing what it has become and blinking back tears as all our yesterdays unwrap themselves like so many badly chosen gifts...
"..So it is with Christmas. You can go straight from pure bliss to desperate remorse in less than a minute. There are dead friends that one does not ever quite forget, and there is the great wound of divorce which, even though 30 years in the past, can come open and bleed and almost break your heart. You walk to church and she's waiting for you in the shadows, asking, "Why did you do that?"
Christmas is an artistic performance, and art, by and large, is not made by contented people. It is made by wounded recluses, freaks, the absurdly self-conscious, the haunted and guilty, the humiliated, the outcasts, and we create this, first and foremost, for our children. To rise up out of confusion and dismay, with ghosts whispering to us, and bake cookies and light a candle and sing "Silent Night" -- I can do that for my child, and if your children want to join us, they are most welcome."
Go read it and remember why.