BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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10                              THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
than many an existing history, constructed from more varied materials.
For these reasons,—and some others which are more personal and less philosophical,—we love all old traditions and holiday customs. Like honest Sir Andrew Ague-cheek, we " delight in masques and revels, sometimes altogether." Many a happy chance has conducted us, unpremeditatedly, into the midst of some rustic festival, whose recollection is amongst our pleasant memo­ries yet;—and many an one have we gone venturously forth to seek,—when we dwelt in the more immediate neighborhood of the haunts to which, one by one, these traditionary observances are retiring before the face of civilisation ! The natural tendency ol time to obliterate ancient customs, and silence ancient sports, is too much promoted by the utilitarian spirit of the day ; and the\ who would have no man enjoy, without being able to give a rea son for the enjoyment which is in him, are robbing life of half its beauty, and some of its virtues. If the old festivals and hearty commemorations, in which our. land was once so abundant,—and which obtained for her, many a long day since, the name of " merry England,"—had no other recommendation than their convivial character—the community of enjoyment which they imply—they would, on that account alone, be worthy of all pro­motion, as an antidote to the cold and selfish spirit which is tainting the life-blood and freezing the pulses of society. " 'Tis good to be merry and wise;"—but the wisdom which eschews mirth, and holds the time devoted to it as so much wasted, by being taken from the schoolmaster, is very questionable wisdom in itself, and assuredly not made to promote the happiness of nations. We love all commemorations. We love these anniversaries, for their own sakes, and for their uses. We love those Lethes of an hour, which have a virtue beyond their gift of oblivion ; and, while they furnish a temporary forgetfulness of many of the ills of life, revive the memory of many a past enjoyment, and re­awaken many a slumbering affection. We love those mile-stones on the journey of life, beside which man is called upon to pause, and take a reckoning of the distance he has passed, and of that which he may have yet to go. We love to reach those free open spaces at which the cross-roads of the world converge ; and where
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