It's about Festivus and it's bare pole tree replacement around which, whether in tongue in cheek mode or in deliberate mockery, some people were celebrating that sarcastic alternative to Christmas with origins in the Seinfeld sitcom. Yes, it's the annual war on Christmas, all wrapped up in colored paper. Christmas divisiveness, Christmas aggression, and Christmas fictions with which to assert Christian ascendancy and Christian victimhood at the same time.
But pay no mind, the young woman knows the True Meaning.
So which true meaning are we talking about? Is it better to ask which fictitious gods it's all about this time? Certainly we know that the origins of Winter Solstice holidays go back to our lower brow ancestors, their relief that days in the northern hemisphere were lengthening -- particularly those in higher latitudes than the tropic of Cancer, whence many of our customs and gods originated. The traces of the Norsemen are unmistakable as are the legacies of Roman Saturn and Greco-Persian deities like Mithras concerned with season change. It was celebrated on December 25 in the later Roman Empire as the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," of whom Constantine, the Romanizer of Christianity, was pontifex maximus. Christmas has had more layers of accretion than an old piling covered with shells, worm casings and pelican shit. Let's not forget The Truth that as the major prop of consumerism in America, it's irreplaceable. Of all the saints in all the world, only St Nicholas is worth praying to.
I like to call it the Dondi effect: in which a story persists for eons while the names change to suit circumstances or objectives.
For those who remember the picaresque comic strip that started soon after WWII and was about a war-orphan boy named Dondi, adopted by GIs and brought home from Italy. As memory faded and a new war emerged to produce a new crop of orphans to sympathize with, Dondi quietly metamorphosed into a Korean. He became Vietnamese with little fanfare some time later to keep up with our wars. Christmas, like any comic strip has been altered to fit, new patches sewn on to cover the holes left by obsolete gods and deleted bits of history, as we tell new lies to cover the last lies as they become threadbare.
Thus the Sumerian flood hero Ziusudra, became the Accadian Utnapishtim, who became the Hebrew Noah and the details changed to fit the new characters and the new message from the new gods. Holidays evolve and the day of Saturn becomes the day of a failed Galilean revolutionary. Is newer truer? Must be if the CBS newsreader thinks so. So no worries, we can always invent reasons to bring northern trees inside, to give presents, to hang mistletoe and make fires. We can always explain away the eggs and rabbits and the buns we used to eat for Mithras at Easter as well, as we fiddle with the calender to separate it from the holiday it used to be back before it got it's true meaning.