For a number of years, I have written the same goal for Christmas in my organizer every year: a peaceful, joyful, spirit-filled holiday with my family. But not everyone shares this vision. And here I am shamelessly promoting a joyful, spiritual Christmas experience, when there are other points of view that should be considered.

I refer, of course, to the Ayn Rand Institute and their effort to “get Christ out of Christmas.” Check this link: for their thoughts on why Christmas should be a “a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.” This message has been delivered annually by these folks since 1995, and they may be making strides, since Christmas is for many Americans now an annual torture marked by intense stress and financial woes, guilt and/or ill health caused by over-indulgence, and time spent with family and associates whom they do not like but still have to buy things for. The Rand folks want you to give up silly notions of peace and good will, which “no one believes in anyway,” and enjoy Christmas as a sort of unabashed potlatch.

They point out, accurately, that winter holidays pre-date the birth of Christ. They also accurately point out the objections of the Puritans to Christmas, although they do not mention that the holiday festivities being objected to were not visiting the sick or singing in the parlor, but roistering about in drunken bands demanding money with menaces, a Colonial custom which we might not choose to see revived. Not to mention the custom of shooting off guns as noisemakers, and exploding anvils. Never mind; their argument, such as it is, is based not on fact but on emotion. You may find that it resonates with you.

Not me. Here is a nice modern song for you: “The Greatest Gift of All”:

This is the cheesiest site I have ever linked, and I am just assuming that the recording it has of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing this song is there legally. However, #2 daughter was playing this song at the piano last night, while we were all gathered around the fire, and it is a very pretty one. It also has a nice sentimental message about love, family, friends, prayer, peace, goodwill — you know, all that stuff. It was written in 1984 by John Jarvis, and has been recorded by several country artists, including the Parton/Rogers duet. I like Dolly Parton, myself, but this is also very nice with more of a jazz feel to it, as #2 daughter does it.

 So the links today will give you a choice of approaches to the holiday. Take your pick.

I am still not knitting, but #2 daughter made this stunning scarf. I am not a fan of novelty yarns, giant gauges, or variegated yarns, but I really like this one, which combines all those features. I hinted that she should give it to me for Christmas, but had no luck with that. However, she let me wear it today. What a good girl!

We copied it from one she admired at the mall, but I think it is very similar to the one Mayflower gave a pattern for early in the fall. It’s done in garter stitch, with every third row done with three yarn-overs to the stitch. In the next row, you drop all the yo’s, so you get a lacy effect.