I love Hanukkah and Christmas! And Kwanzaa, too. And the Hindu Feast of Lights, Diwali. In fact, all feasts of light anywhere and at anytime!
My wife's relatives, the older numbers, were in the quaint habit of leaving their Xmas tree up until the Kaiser's birthday, meaning Kaiser Wilhelm II. I believe this falls on January 27th. These were the people who had emigrated from Germany before World War I. I guess I admire their sense of respect and fealty to a symbol of their Motherland, but the risk of fire should have led them to throw out those dried up sticks of tinder well before the end of January.
The light is life. It is always good. I almost cry when we take down the decorations of this time of year, and we plunge into the fastness of cold, grey winter unrelieved by the festive glow of candles and lights. This year, this 2009, I shall leave one light on, one decoration, one candle from a menorah, one light from a Christmas tree: one light to relieve the gloom. I may leave it on until we recover, by the grace of God. It may burn for a year, but we possess the strength to transform, and we shall overcome!