Wow! From this vantage point of more than 500 years, I really wonder how people survived in those days. (We live such cushy, comfortable lives nowadays.) Just hearing about the comfort gap between the rich and powerful and the peasants was sickening. But, would I have actually chosen to eat the food delicacies of that time? I don't think so. Boar's head? Mince meat pies? Turnips? Lambs' brains? Nope.
The celebrations of Christmas started on December 24th (the evening when Jesus was born) and lasted into January for 12th Night (when the Magi visited the Holy Family). Before that, the Church mandated fasting through Advent from meat and dairy with absolutely no celebrating. So, when the 12 Days of Christmas began, the feasting and celebrating could really begin --- complete with decking the halls with boughs of holly, eating colorful food delights, and no work!
Some of the celebrating was way too raucous and filled with intoxication for my taste. However, I am grateful for the tradition of singing great sacred choral music about the Savior (that is still sung from that time), and also for the tradition of singing of carols going door to door to spread holiday cheer. Mumming, not so much. (You'll have to look that one up.)
Although I am not a fan of how commercial the Christmas season has become in our day or how the Christmas season seems to start at Halloween, I am very grateful for many of our modern traditions. I love Christmas trees, lights, gift giving, feasting with family and friends, and all of the wonderful music. I love going to concerts, plays, programs, and holiday parties. I especially love singing with my family and going caroling.
My family members have opted to have less commercial celebrations for Christmas. They would never go for raucous reveling and giving expensive gifts (like the Tudors had to give to King Henry VIII). But they do go for giving small gifts to each other and giving service in the community. The gift I love most is when we sing together. That makes my Christmas special!
Here is a song many of us sang for a Family Show we did for the Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitor's Center. Enjoy "A Christmas Carol" with the Bailey, Bullock and Perry Families and Friends.