I’ve never celebrated Christmas. Ever.
When I was young, it never really crossed our minds – we weren’t Christian so it just wasn’t something our family did. I’ve never once had a Christmas tree in my house.
As I got older and started working in a professional career, I would usually go in to work on Christmas day – just because I objected to being told that I HAD to take a day off for some religion that I didn’t care one whit about. Usually, I wasn’t the only one there.
Except for a couple of “mandatory” gift exchanges at work, which were more office politics than anything, I’ve never given anyone a Christmas present.
And now that I have kids of my own, we all agree that it would be hypocritical to subject them to this custom just because of the social pressures of our society (which have unfortunately gotten worse over the years).
I also get annoyed at the “celebration envy” that many non-Christians fall into. Hanukah is a minor Jewish holiday which no one outside of the Jewish faith would have ever heard of if it weren’t for the questions of “so what DO you celebrate?” – the idea of a “Hanukah bush” is an embarrassing distortion and any self-respecting Jew wouldn’t dream of putting one in their house. And what’s up with all these Winter Solstice parties? No one celebrates the Summer Solstice or the Spring or Fall Equinox. And as much as I love Seinfeld, we don’t need “Festivus for the rest of us” either! Celebrating the arrival of the New Year is plenty for me.
So on December 25, we typically have something like Macaroni and Cheese for dinner and peek out the windows and wonder at all the people participating in what I fondly refer to as “The Great Christian Orgasm”.
It’s not that I’m a grouch or a grinch or a curmudgeon (one of my brother’s favorite words) or a scrooge. I’m quite jolly and good natured and generous.
I just don’t celebrate Christmas.
My mother hated the whole “consumerism” and “commercialism” that Christmas has become. She often said that this isn’t how Jesus would have wanted his birthday celebrated – everyone trying to outdo their neighbors with bigger, brighter, flashier displays of lights and expensive decorations. Where in all this is the humility that Jesus is supposed to represent?
And of course, even devout Christians don’t really think that Jesus was born anytime in December – there is plenty of speculation as to why this date was picked as the honorary day of his birth. Some people think it’s because of the winter solstice, others have traced the roots back to pre-existing pagan holidays. No one really knows why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.
Myself? I’m not convinced by the arguments that the person known as “Jesus” really existed at all. The entire New Testament appears to be a mushed up pile of stories from whomever decided to contribute something that looked good. It’s a religion specifically created to pacify and control a gullible population. Many of the stories attributed to Jesus were already centuries old, passed down from generation to generation, elaborated on each time the tale was told. There are few written records from when Jesus supposedly lived, mostly folklore and fables and fairy tales, all of which were finally put to paper over a hundred years after he supposedly died. The tale of Jesus is inconsistent and smacks of one big practical joke.
So ... why should I celebrate the birthday, when it really isn’t his birthday, of someone who probably never existed, and if he did exist, wouldn’t even want us to celebrate his birthday in this manner?
On the other hand, a nice glass of eggnog would be a welcome treat about now.
Have a Happy New Year, everyone!