• Daily Life

    Digital Minimalism for 2021

    Pretty sure I had a post about this for 2020. I also think I was decent for a while about not getting on Instagram on my phone. However, overall, I decided I was going to have to take more drastic action. I can’t give my life to the Internet like I’ve been doing. I’m starting to implement these things this month, hopefully it will be fully in place by the end of the month.

    1. Website and app blockers during week and Sunday for social media and anything I find distracting or obsess over.
    2. Saturday is my day for blogging and scheduling posts, comments, reading blogs, social media, and YouTube, and then only when I’m not spending time with family and probably for a limited time of the day, then the blockers go back on again.
    3. I’ve gotten good at limiting my email to a certain extent, but there are some more notifications I can turn off, and I can always remain vigilant. I’ve gone back to emailing myself tons of links which builds up.
    4. Do my digital to-do’s in the morning when I have more self-control.
    5. No computer time when I get home from work, nothing should be such an emergency that I’ve got to deal with it right then.
  • Daily Life

    January 2021 Goals

    Better late than never, also nice to see that I feel like I’ve made some progress on these goals and this is a good reminder of things I need to work on.

    To set up for the month

    1. Transfer old computer programs and docs and such to new computer
    2. Vision Board Pinterest and journal (actually not going to be too different from last year honestly)
    3. Set up digital limits and controls
    4. Fill out the beginning of the Artist of Life Workbook
    5. Bullet Journal Setup
    6. Digital clear out (after computer transfer), especially phone, email and Evernote

    Health

    1. Parsley health
    2. Therapy
    3. Sugar and dairy fast (maybe next month/in my own place do elimination diet, sugar controls)
    4. Start doing simple exercise and stretching, get a Fitbit or something
    5. Work on getting to bed by 9:30
    6. Work on morning and evening routine, digital limits and controls (I’ll have another post about this)

    Career

    1. Remind to be taught more AP
    2. Private step #1
    3. Private step #2
    4. Set up tech learning plan

    Self-Improvement

    1. Work on lateness
    2. Work on no gossip, politics, complaining, cussing, exaggerating set up
    3. Work on Spanish
    4. Work on habits, morning, and evening routine

    Finances

    1. Increase income streams
    2. Pay off some short term debt
    3. Save enough for laser, dermontologist, orthodontist
    4. I need one month’s rent and security deposit and also a pet deposit
    5. Build up savings and emergency to a certain amount
    6. Increase all savings, esp one for car
    7. Have almost everything I need for my house and some money towards purchasing groceries, toiletries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies

    Learn to Live

    1. Schedule one thing

    Beauty

    1. Research what is open in terms of facials
    2. Get back on track with skincare (probably easier to try this once in my own place)
    3. Work on body care and sunscreen reapplication (probably easier to try this once in my own place)

    Crafts

    1. Make snowflakes (and this should be FUN, not a MUST)
    2. finish Mom’s gift

    Study Subjects

    1. Build habits, work into to-do list

    Reading

    1. 12 book library limit!!!!!
    2. Order some study subjects books
    3. Finish The Idiot
    4. Overcoming Unwanted Thoughts
    5. The Shadow of the Wind
    6. Ethel Lina White mysteries
    7. Hemingway Didn’t Say That
  • Reading

    Winter Reading Plans 2021

    My General Reading Goals (present to March 20)

    • Try to keep my books borrowed from the library to 12. Try to keep any other borrowed books to far fewer.
    • Join an online book group, I’d like to join The Enchanted Book Club deluxe, maybe in March, depends on what they are reading.
    • Work through important to reads and long held borrowed books:
      • The Idiot
      • War and Peace
      • Dune? Maybe, if the movie is coming out in September, perhaps I could wait to start until Spring, but knowing me, I might not finish it time, and who knows, they could bump up the movie, since clearly its done if it was supposed to be out LAST September.
      • House of Mirth
      • Looking for Transwonderland
      • The Shadow of the Wind
      • Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts
      • Factfulness
      • Hemingway Didn’t Say That
      • Wheel of Time
    • I’d like to read one or two more classics besides those listed above from my Classics club list
    • I’d also like to read one or two more books besides those listed above from another country, perhaps another mentioned on A Strong Sense of Place
    • Fun potentials
      • Ethel Lina White mysteries
      • Mercedes Lackey fairytale retellings and fantasy
      • Circe by Madeleine Miller
    • Books to match my current study schedule (History, Logic, Geography, Civics, Christian Apologetics, World Religions). Genealogical reading should be on Ancestry.com, I don’t really need books for that subjects, its mainly to be building my tree.

     

  • Daily Life

    Winter 2021 Goals: Foundations

    I’m trying to go by seasons and pick a theme. The theme from now until March 20th is Foundations.

    Health

    • Clean rest on Sunday (I heard this term for guilt free rest on The Perfectionism Project podcast, I don’t listen to it much, I find it hard to listen to, but I’ve received a few really great one point things that really strike me). Enjoy things I liked as a child and teen or similar things: reading, crafts, Legos, models, puzzles. NO screens.
    • Speaking of screen time, I’m going to try and lock down my computer and phone with Cold Turkey for Sunday through F, meaning no social media, blogs, Youtube, news. I also will do any self-improvement stuff in the morning. And shut down the computer and put away the phone when I come home from work (overlapping goal with Self-Improvement).
    • End each season with a week off or 3 day weekend in a screen free cabin.
    • Start exercise and stretch habits, including some fun sport like ice skating.
    • Work on my diet. I have eaten a frightening amount of candy at work lately. I might have to detour and walking around the sugar bowl which is right near my desk. I’m starting off with a sugar fast. I’m on day 6th as of Jan 9th, I’ve not had candy but I think I do need to be more careful about any added sugar.
    • Find a therapist.
    • Try Parsley health, see if there is someone in my state.

    Career

    • Private plan #1.
    • Private plan #2.
    • Private plan #3.
    • Set up and start on my tech learning plan.

    Self-Improvement

    • Break the lateness habit (I need to look up tips).
    • Institute a no gossip, whining, dumping (and calling in ranting), and petty politics rule and when someone else brings it up, either don’t take the bait or state my resolution not to talk in this manner.
    • Figure out how to ask questions to get people to think, rather than stating my own opinion (usually defensively).
    • Work on Spanish.
    • Work on habits and morning and evening routines.
    • Work on my screen time (overlapping goal with Health).
    • Work on blogging and Instagramming more consistently and better.

    Finances

    • Maybe get a weekend temp job to finance some large apartment expenses and pay off some debts.
    • Save for a big vacation.
    • Keep saving in down and emergency.
    • Start a non retirement investment account.
    • Have a 2nd source of income from my private career plans.
    • Brainstorm a 3rd source of income, preferable passive?

    Learn to Live

    • Take set of exercise classes such as ice skating lessons (overlapping goal with Health)
    • Join an online book group, I’d like to join The Enchanted Book Club deluxe, maybe in March, depends on what they are reading (overlapping goal with Reading)
    • Take one craft class.
    • Attend one event.
    • Do some wintery fun things.
    • Work on a certain series of blog posts, maybe.

    Beauty

    • Start getting facials if possible
    • Start getting laser (in my dreams)

    Crafts

    • Make paper, crochet, and maybe tatted snowflakes.
    • Finish Mom’s gift by end of January (frame and all).
    • Make valentine decorations.
    • Finish Harper’s Frog, Toad, and Frances by end of February.
    • Finish two more baby blankets by end of March.

    Study Subjects

    • Sunday: Rest
    • Monday: Logic
    • Tuesday: History
    • Wednesday: Geography
    • Thursday: Christian Apologetics (even though I’m not a Christian, I still find this important)
    • Friday: World Religion
    • Saturday: Genealogy and Civics

    Reading (This Gets its Own Post)

     

  • Daily Life

    Christmas Gifts

    Oops, I forgot to publish this earlier.

    I, in boring adult manner, asked for gift cards since I wanted to buy things for my apartment. With said gift cards I bought a bread knife, sheets, mattress cover, and pillow covers.

    I also received flatware, glasses, Pioneer woman dish towels, some scrubbies, lots of chocolate, mixed freeze dried fruit, a few office type items, a Christmas blanket, a Christmas tin full of Nutella fudge puddles, a Jane Austen devotional (there are some gems, see photos below). Color Street peel and stick nails (which I meant to put on for Christmas, but per usual, didn’t have time, was still working on presents, most of which I still haven’t finished), pink moscato, organizer caddy, hot chocolate and marshmellows, lotion, soap, shaving cream, socks, a mango, three hand sanitizers (hand soap and hand sanitizers were a more than usually popular gift item this year, I feel like its usually lip balm). A very grown up list of items.

    I gave my grandfather an Ancestry DNA test (in his stocking) and a 6 month Ancestry membership. My grandmother I gave our state True South puzzle, the puzzle line I discovered on the Laurel Mercantile site (aren’t they darling?!). I also gave her two of my cinnamon ornaments and an embroidered heart ornament based on this (mine looks more like Micky Ears, I wish I trimmed it down) after my failed attempt to embroider velvet (I’m not beaten, I will embroider that velvet). I loved this so much I want to make one for me! But improved.

    I drew my sister in law and got some homegoods from her list. The rest of the siblings and in-laws got belated birthday gifts which were games, two of which were Harry Potter (the theme of my life is lateness if you hadn’t noticed).

    I don’t always get my parents anything, Dad just buys anything he wants, Mom often says she doesn’t want anything, but I know she always wants something special which is what I’m working on. This is an idea that I had over a year ago, at least a year and a half. I changed it’s medium this year, months ago, but still didn’t start on it really until, you know, the week of Christmas, actually a couple days before Christmas. My goal is to finish it before the end of the 12 days of Christmas, I’m pretty sure that is possible.

    And my niece’s gift, I’d also had the idea months ago, did I start on time, no of course not, that would be practical. I started it last minute and then decide to give it to her when her sister is born. It will be more memorable that way anyway. She was a bit overwhelmed, distracted by the gifts she got anyway. And she got TONS.

     

     

  • Daily Life

    2021 Goals and Brief Year in Review

    I’d as soon as not dwell on the past year. For one thing, I can’t remember a lot or it feels really blurry, and that isn’t just because of all the upheaval, I really think I’m having some short term memory issues. And for another, I’m ready to be rid of it. And yet, I didn’t do too bad on some of my goals.

    • I own a car, my grandfather’s well kept old one.
    • I have an emergency fund, a down payment account, and various other tiny savings accounts.
    • I’ve applied for an apartment and been approved and put on the waitlist, I’m still shopping around, but I want to live in town (which isn’t a huge city with lots of options, its a manufacturing town in an agricultural area) and most are income restricted (I know I qualify for some of them, but I think it seems easier to find a regular apartment . . . and overall, safer).
    • I’ve bought a lot of household goods for the apartment.
    • I finished working on business courses and got another associates and another certificate. I know have 2 associates, a bachelor’s, and I think three certificates. And they aren’t worth much. I don’t want to stay in accounting and business, so I’m done pouring money into it.
    • I’ve gotten more hours, more work, and a bonus and a raise at my job. In terms of my abilities it is soooooo not a good use, but I don’t have anything to show on paper, and it is ultimately dying in a dying industry. Yet, I can afford to live on my own, it has good benefits although the pay isn’t awesome, and it has a much better environment than I’ve ever been in. And it’s security more than I’ve ever had. It is in no way a dream job, but it was something I needed.

    My general resolutions are health, career, and living a fuller life. I’m going to be focusing more detailed plans for the quarters, generally the seasons. I like thinking of fun in terms of season, I’ve skimmed The 12 Week Year, I love reading Hamlette’s seasonal to-do’s, and planning a year in advance is just to concrete and unrealistic. I think breaking it down makes things more manageable. I’m going to be generally following the seasons based on the solstices and equinoxes, but giving myself a break in December. I’ve also got a theme for each quarter.

    I’ve got a full list of 10 areas as a framework for breaking down seasonally and then monthly. Health, Career, Self-Improvement, Finances, Relationships, Learn to Live, Beauty, Crafts, Study Subjects, Reading are my areas, and I will try and share the less personal ones each quarter and month.

    I’m also going to try not to have nearly as many details, I had WAY too many notes and breakdowns last year. I’m going to focus on seasons, habits, and overall steady improvement, not tons of checklists . . . hopefully, I’ve already got tons of details.

    I’m going to be using in addition to Evernote which works really well for me for lists, I’m going  The Lavendaire Artist of Life Workbook. I’ve been coveting one for years, and this year it just worked out perfectly. I got the yellow, and its is just the absolute most perfect shade of yellow. I keep it in its box and each time I take it out it makes me so happy.

    yellow notebook

     

    As usual the last few years, I like to watch New Years planning videos and inspiration, my favorites being Lavendaire (and I finally bought one of her Artist of Life journals, in the lovely lemon shade for a happy feeling, I looooooove it!) and MuchelleB.

    10 Easy New Year Resolutions Ideas for 2021  Definitely reminded me that I really ought to tackle my lateness problem. I just. don’t. like. on the dot time expectations. My procrastination and lateness are pathological. I’ve really got to work on it. Just because no one is really waiting on my at work the way it is now and just because it’s pretty casual in a lot of ways doesn’t mean I should be as regularly late as I’ve been, it doesn’t matter how early I get up or how well I plan, I always think of something to do. Previously when I had to be on time in other jobs and other places it always was an effort and by the skin of my teeth (especially I usually REALLY didn’t want to go to those jobs unlike my current job). There is just some fundamental resistance to rules like that with me.

    How to plan your best year ever in 2021

    As you’ll notice, I’ve changed to my real name. As a part of living a fuller life, one thing I want to work on is fear and authenticity. Obviously I believe in a level of privacy on the web. But I’ve been paranoid. While in real life once I’m past my initial reserve, I just vomit information. I’m going to try to be more balanced. I might have slightly blurred or looking away photos of myself eventually, but one step at a time.

  • Reading

    Reading in 2020

    These were my 2020 goals. ahahahahaha. Ouch.

    This was my rereading general schedule.

    I read 60 books or well, items, considering that I counted each Gail Carson Princess tale singly where we have two books with 3 each in them. And I read two plays but those are closer to books. Anyway. This was my worst reading year in terms of books and page counts since 2011 when I was in college and still struggling to recover from my reading breakdown (meaning I was still sounding out or mouthing the words). And I think then I wasn’t rereading the same amounts because I had less to choose from.

    I was busier and had more brain fog/mental weariness this year, and I don’t think all of that was due to the pandemic situation although I’m sure it didn’t help. I’m going to be focusing more on present and forward thinking, so this will be a very short summary.

    A full 40 of those were rereads: The Anne series,  the first two Emily Series, most of Narnia (I’d started in December 2019), some fairytale retellings, The Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, the Grandma’s Attic Series.

    Of the 20 left, 16 were fiction. I read 8 classics, 2 of which were plays, 2 of which were the James Herriot audiobooks. I read 2 Christian fiction (Mitford, I’d hardly class them with the trash that is most of Christian fiction, but that is the correct genre I believe), 2 fairytale retellings, 2 mysteries, and 2 romances.

    Of the 4 (yikes!) nonfiction books I read 2 were history, 1 a memoir, and 1 pop psychology I suppose.

     

     

  • Culture and Entertainment

    What I Watched: December 2020

    This is very ’90’s early ‘0’s and Star Wars heavy. I of course watched plenty of Hallmark, but it peters out towards Christmas when one has been overdosing since November. I started using my Disney+ more this month than I did in November.

    Friends. I think I was still rewatching bits of Friends during my week long HBO trial.

    I’ll Be Home for Christmas. I think I saw the last bit of this movie years ago. I think I was surrounded by Jonathan Taylor Thomas growing up without having seen any live action movie he was in. Its been so long since I’ve seen The Lion King (need to rewatch that while I still have Disney+), that his voice didn’t trigger memories, he just looked familiar in that 90’s ’00’s way.

    10 Things I Hate About You. Rewatch. Again, ’90’s vibes and nostalgia, I was too young to have watched this anyway when it came out. But all the teens and tween around me growing up would have dressed like this. There is just familiarity in movies of this period even though I only have seen them recently.

    Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is NOT Han Solo. Also, way to make Lando look like an sulky idiot . . . that droid part, what the freaking what?! Han and Lando were both supposed to be that jaunty, bad boy, devil may care types. And sorry those types don’t spring from the non-entity (in the former case) and goof (in the latter case) types. Besides the script, I don’t like the casting for Han, but they could have given Glover a far better chance to shine, he had some good parts, it’s just the whole movie was so, well, blah (and that robot part, what the f people?!).

    The Mandalorian season two, I’d dragged my feet on watching The Clone Wars and Rebels and just went ahead and finished the Mandalorian. Luke’s appearance signified that they are dropping the non-canon absolutely absurd newest films. Glory hallelujah, I enjoyed aspects of them, but sorry, they ain’t Star Wars or rather they are Star Wars lazily and terribly repackaged.

    The Clone Wars. I love these, I love these, I love these! THIS is Star Wars at it’s full potential, this is the real, true stuff. I officially fell into true Star Wars fan with these, and it makes me understand the fury of the original og people at the absurdly lazily written new movies. I turned to these as something to watch while I worked on last minutes presents, and then I was sucked in and watched them on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

    I wish I’d watched the Clone Wars and Rebels before I finished The Mandalorian, it would have made the appearance of Bo Katan (presumably, I haven’t yet watched Rebels) and Asoka Tano SO much more significant, especially the latter, I saw she was in Clones, but that was just a slight thing, I knew nothing of the series, she could have been one of many random characters . . . then I actually watched it, and she’s Anakin’s padawan! I didn’t like her for the first few episodes but then it got better, so much better, I love the older brother/younger sister dynamic.3

    This show, oh, my stars, its SO cool, it so much better than the movies. And guys, Anakin is COOL in this, so cool. Not the whiny pretty boy he is in the movies. And oh, oh, it makes me so much more upset that he becomes Vader, I relate to his attitude so much.

    Also, his back and forth with Obi Wan is great. I remember I wanted to punch Obi Wan for his pompous legalistic rule following attitude and total lack of empathy for Anakin in the live action, I felt that he was partially responsible for driving Anakin away, that he wasn’t being a good mentor at all.

    Also, you want strong female Jedi, look to The Clone Wars. These are talented, TRAINED Jedi, same as the men, not Mary Sue’s like Rey was, sorry, you don’t just hope in, no training required.

    However, it bothers me that the “good” guys are producing clone armies of living humans while the “bad” guys are producing non-living drones. So who is getting more killed really? Lambs to be slaughtered is what it feels like the Republic is doing.

    The ’90’s and early ’00’s nostalgia is strong for me right now. I wasn’t allowed to watch anything I’m watching now or I freaked out (in the case of the Star Wars prequels), but I was surrounded by merchandise and advertisements and little bits of shows and previews and the styles, so a lot of things I don’t “know” have that vibe which I recognize.

    I was 8 when the first and 14 when the last prequel came out, so I was surrounded by prequels stuff. I feel like there is just so much vying for attention now, I don’t think the dominance of the prequels then can be compared to anything now. I think this is part of why I SO love The Clone Wars, it takes me back to what I was surrounded by growing up without the disappointment those movies actually turned out to be watching as an adult.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Happy Things to Start the New Year

    Good news to focus on for a change:

    15 Good News Trends Reductions in polio, TB, and malaria, the top 3 I think most serious situations in diseases in recent decades (cholera is probably up there too though). I believe polio is slated to be the 2nd permanently eradicated disease ever.

    Inspiration and beautiful nature:

    This gorgeously shot Darling Desi video. Where she lives is so stunning (I think it’s Utah, I think that was on one of the videos).

    And of course, some humor:

    Of course we have to have 16 Personalities Reviewing 2020. I’m INTJ, ISTP, ENTP with a touch in INTP here. ENTJ has a point about elbow bumping, too close, also, I’ve always hated hand shakes. How about, and this was pre-2020, hi and don’t touch me and stay out of my personal space which is a 6+ foot radius for strangers?!

    And how about some major throwback to actors before they were famous and/or (not as famous) their breakout roles. There are some hilarious photos in there.

    Trey’s Kennedy’s Newlyweds

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Attitudes Toward War Exemplified in Friendly Persuasion

    Earlier this years, something in the Speaking with Joy Chesterton episode with Boze Herrington triggered me to think about the topics pacifism/just war/protection in Friendly Persuasion (I love this film, it is so sweet and homey and unexpectedly deep) with actors Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, and Anthony Perkins. It centers around a Quaker family in Southern Indiana during the Civil War. It is not mainly a war film, but the war is significant because of the call of volunteers and the ravaging Rebels coming over from Kentucky combined with the Quaker stance of pacifism. In thinking over this issue, I realized you could really see many different views towards war in the film.

    • Militant pacifism in the mother. She is self-righteous and unrelenting in her total pacifism and her judgement towards those who think differently, even in the face of her son trying to fit his conscience to a nation at odds with itself and his conscience. She doesn’t exactly relent, but I think she soften towards others some.

    • Gracious pacifism in the father. He is steadfast in her total pacifism but understands that others do not feel the same, like his farm laborer who is a former slave, and his son, who he understands is wrestling with various commands in the Bible and his conscience and the state of his nation.

    • Conflicted pacifism in Josh (I’m started to sometimes swing closer towards here, not here, but close; however, like with many things I’m a pendulum) (also, I looooove Josh). He knows and respects his parents beliefs and has made some of them his own, he seems to definitely prefer pacifism and peace, and he doesn’t want to kill or have hate in his heart, but he doesn’t think that watching innocent people get killed is right either.

    • Traditional honorable just war view held graciously by Guard (where I traditionally fall) (also, I looooove Guard). To Guard, it is simple the war is just, the Rebels are wrong, he sees it as his duty to fight and lead and does so honorably. He goes away to war, he leads the ragtaggle group of farmers protecting the farms against raiders, he swiftly calls to order the person who gives out the Rebel yell who is spoiling for war and who jeopardizes their position by the noise and scaring the other volunteers with the yell. He doesn’t shame the Quakers for thinking differently from him. I don’t feel he pushes Josh anymore than Josh’s father does, and certainly less than Josh’s mother.

    • Selfish Hypocrite in the Quaker Purdy who claims pacifism when it benefits him and revengeful violence when it benefits him.

    • Warmonger in the Rebs ravaging the country-side as well as the farmer volunteer who gave out Rebel yell.

    All of this is portrayed so well. Any preaching is real preaching in the story, not preaching from the script to the film watchers. The thoughts and discussions and dilemmas feel real and intense. And this isn’t even the only theme of the story. Oh, this is SUCH a good movie.

  • Daily Life

    Productivity: Use Your Calendars

    I was listening to one of the earlier episodes of Not Overthinking where Ali mentions knowledge exposure and how for him and many others certain things seem obvious, but some people haven’t heard or don’t think about them. One of his examples was Thomas Frank’s productivity course which was based on this process and one of the examples was using a calendar.

    This reminded me how I really don’t use mine and also highlighted the ridiculousness of my not having phone and laptop calendar synced (I’m not an Apple user at all currently, and I never had only Apple products with the calendars and such automatically synced). I also, in the middle of our densest birthday month, realized I really need to put all birthdays and anniversary dates in my calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Google Calendar in my Outlook calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Outlook calendar in my Google calendar.

    I then had to check the calendar box in my Google calendar on my phone so that the Outlook items showed up. Once everything synced, I think put all my family birthdays and anniversaries along with the year of birth/marriage in with an annually recurring event. How simple and smooth. And I don’t have to ask stupid questions about dates I should have memorized.

    I wrote this months ago, I’ve not done a very good job at looking at my calendar with any regularity. I still rely a lot on my memory. I need to work on this in the new year. Its usually around this time that I start making New Year Plans, actually often earlier.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Christmas History

    I tried to research Christmas history a few years ago, I read some books as part of A Literary Christmas. I basically held a vague understanding that early Christian married pagan elements (some Roman, some “barbarian”) to Christian concepts. But modern Christmas is modern Christmas with significant points (the tree, Santa Claus) brought from Germany in the Victorian period to America (Christmas wasn’t that significant until recently as a huge day unto itself although perhaps Advent season was in some traditions, early, strictly Protestant Americans didn’t celebrate it). I think that my slapdash research then rather matches both the actual history of Christmas and the way it is put together, a patchwork of various traditions put together in various ways over its history.

    And yes, I’m going to be one of those, “but ackshully” people, but I hope I don’t follow the spirit of them. I don’t intend to follow the killjoy spirit, just generally being a history, humanities, and myth nerd.

    I don’t think we are ever going to have a very clear history of Christmas. I’ve come across misinformation and confusion on Christmas history. Be wary of anything that speaks too definitively, actually be wary, there is a weird resurgence in ancient paganism generally that I think wants to rewrite things or blur the truth, particularly about the darkness of these religions and about the accuracy of our knowledge, these are ancient, ancient things, our knowledge is at best vague. I’m going to be sticking to Britannica mainly with some dictionary definitions.

    Advent. This seems to be the earliest Christian conception of Christmas, but it is far more religious and with less of an emphasis on one day.

    December 25th. Per Britannica: this is the date of a Roman holiday (dies solis invicti nati) about the rebirth of the sun which, in one view Christians then connected with the rebirth of the Son. Another view ties the conception of Christmas with the Spring Equinox which timeline puts Jesus birth at Christmas.
    Modern Holiday. Britannica again confirms the German origin of some significant modern Christmas concepts as well as the fact that the Puritans didn’t like Christmas.
    Saturnalia. This is the Roman holiday of the Winter solstice that I think most people with any conception of an understanding of Christmas use to point out the pagan origins of Christmas, that all we did was Christianize it. I think that is too simplistic, especially since Christmas wasn’t that big of a conception really until fairly recently. Clearly the dates are what we did directly take. However, it certainly seems to be a far more like Saturnalia now, at least New Years is. Such days as the first of the year are always going to have an ancient pagan emphasis.
    Yule is the Germanic celebration of the Winter solstice. Britannic didn’t have a separate entry for Yule while googling it brings up tons of articles. I think this is a subject where modern imagination takes a very little source or historical knowledge and runs wild.
    St. Nicholas is the origin of Santa Claus (North-Western Europe and American via the same) and Father Christmas (UK, I think I prefer Father Christmas, maybe because it is less familiar, I just don’t care for Santa or at least how we have him) and Père Noël in France. He is an actual early Christian saint, I’m not sure I knew that or I’d forgotten, we don’t have documentation, just Christian canon tradition, but it seems like it is fairly believable tradition? Obviously, tons of mythic traditions have been added on and then those myths were revived more recently to morph into Father Christmas and Santa Claus.
    Christmas Tree. While trees did have significance in Yule in Germany, apparently that is not the source for the modern Christmas tree, which yes, did come from Germany. It originated in an Advent play.
    Mistletoe. I don’t know how this transforms from having to do with Druid sacrifice (potentially human! although this isn’t mentioned in the Britannica article, I think it was in the Celtic book I just read, but again, tread carefully this is ancient) to kissing at Christmas.
    Wassail. Basically originally an Old Norse toast that turned into an English drink.
    Christmas carols and songs deserve a whole post. We shall see if I get to that in this 12 Days of Christmas or not. I read a book about some of the carols and songs, but I know that the story told for the 12 Days of Christmas song is inaccurate, so I will have to spend more time carefully researching songs. I am more interested in getting to a post about the different tunes between the UK and US for different carols.
    Failure in research: “Happy Christmas” for the Brits vs “Merry Christmas” US. In U.S. there is a sort of, I don’t know, phony debate over “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas.” Why not both, its a huge extended holiday season anyway? I’m not going to get into that.* What I wanted to know was why the Brits say “Happy Christmas” while we say “Merry Christmas.” I first learned of this, I think in, wait for it, Harry Potter. I thought I remembered reading something about Queen Victoria and snobs preferring “happy” because “merry” was plebian or something, but I can’t find any source I’m happy with (and the stupid debate above mentioned drowns everything out). What I could gather is that the word “merry” had different connotations, like, um drunkenness, and that possibly snobs preferred “happy.” I found a blog post, but I would prefer a more creditable source. I’ve given up sorting through the absurdity, maybe I will tackle this next year better. Anyway “happy” nowadays is about as specific and useful as “nice” in my opinion while “merry” feels specific, jolly and a bit mischievous.
    To sum up. First of all, wow, this took longer than I meant. Anyway, I don’t like fossilizing things the “well, ackshully” way, nothing new gets created plus I have no personal connotation of the pagan (no one does!) or Advent aspects anyway. I like the patchwork history. Pick the traditions or “traditions” you like, make up new ones, take pagan, Christian, whatever you like, change what you like, just don’t create a false history!
    Sources:
    *Actually (ackshully) I am, if you take offense at “Merry Christmas” would you like to go to Hell? Hades? Sheol? Gehenna? Jahannam?
    . . . I, at least, find myself funny. I got a little tired of sorting through those stupid articles.