Monday, December 2, 2019

The Sherlockian Holiday Season

At some point, before other wild schemes took my mind, I was considering a blog version of an advent calendar, or maybe blog Christmas cards, or something else. But the odd little puzzle I kept running into was this: What, exactly, are the boundaries of the Sherlockian holiday season?

With John Watson calling upon Sherlock Holmes on the second day after Christmas, or Boxing Day, we have to at least go to the 27th. And New Year's is New Year's across the world, and a turning of the calendar we know the boys observed, at least in laying in a new almanac, if nothing else. And then there's Sherlock Holmes's birthday, and if Chris Morley is to be believed, as so many do, we have January 6th to push our holiday limits out five days more.

We have to be thankful that Thanksgiving wasn't celebrated in England, or we might be forced to bring matters as far forward as the holiday shopping gods would have Americans do. But when does the Sherlockian holiday season even properly start, then?

When do we start spinning our paper Doyle's Rotary Coffins, carol away like larks singing "Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay" (which comes out to the tune of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in my head), and wrapping our ear-ly gifts in brown paper and string?

Eating birds found on the street, visiting our maiden aunts, and watching that movie that Holmes recommended to James Ryder ("Get Out!") . . . Sherlockian holiday traditions can take many forms. (Neville St. Clair, one might recall, took a holiday to go begging on the street.)

Now, if New Year's Day is truly the day that Sherlock Holmes and John Watson first met, as it says on the plaque inside St. Bart's, we could wish each other a hearty "How are you? You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive!" and grip the other person's hand with a strength we don't get credit for. Seems like a grand thing to do when you first meet someone on New Year's morn, though spouses are probably going to look upon one in askance for it.

But maybe we just let the normal holiday traditions take hold and carry us downstream until we're left in mid-January with a depleted bank account like Watson postponing his holiday in "Resident Patient." There's usually enough to do just to make it through without all the adding Sherlockian trimmings.

You never know, though, just as we never know when the Sherlockian holdiay season begins or ends. So we might as well celebrate from here on in, I guess, which is a little bit of what Sherlockiana is about to begin with, celebrating Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John H. Watson, and everything else we love about that Canon of ours.

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