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ho ho uh oh

This year's Christmas was a good year. I must be a much more vocal bitch than I realize because everyone got it right and gave me just the right amount of things I need and then the rest in hardware store gift cards (yes! bathroom renovation here I come!)

I'm getting so off Christmas in the traditional sense and it is making me SO much more cheerful over the holidays. It is all becoming about seeing friends and family since we all get a little time off at the same time. I love it.

But as far as my giving gifts, I gave Trader Joe's gift cards to folks. The perfect balance of practical and a treat. They could use it to buy groceries or something special. But they don't need to dust it and they don't need to find a place for it in their house and because I knew the exact amount of my holiday expenditure I was able to give more than I would with random gifts and I could save up so I don't have bills to catch up on now.

I like to make and give things throughout the year. I don't like saving it up for just one day of the year. I like folks to know I am thinking about them all the time (this is especially important to convey since I suck at getting birthday cards out and I never call people). I hate waiting until Christmas because the gesture just gets drowned out in all the white noise.

How much nicer is it to be surprised with a little thing for no reason? That is lovely.

Also, and I have some friends who may be shocked and horrified by this, I'm not feeling the religious aspect of Christmas anymore. In fact, my house was decorated but I decorated with a lot of greens and candles and pretty sparkly glass. I just have a hard time with the "people forget what Christmas is about" because Christmas is more related to pagan celebrations that a lot of folks would like to admit.

"The specific date of celebration for Jesus' birth is...generally believed to have been influenced by the dates of pre-Christian festivals...rather than having been based on historical data or reference." - Wikipedia

Winter festivals celebrated the fact that less agricultural work needed to be done in the winter and December 25 was the birthday celebration for gods such as Mithras and a huge Roman festival called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. In fact, Christmas was banned by Puritan rulers (causing pro-Christmas riots), Boston outlawed it from 1659-1681 and after the American Revolution, Christmas fell out of favor because it was seen as an English custom.

father christmas

So Christmas, as we know it today, is fairly modern and doesn't actually mark the day Christ was born. It is used to celebrate his birth, but the church really had to find a Christian holiday during winter or those danged pagans would continue to have a holiday of their own and they couldn't have that!

I'm not trying to make this an anti-Christian thing, just looking at the history and finding my comfort with the holiday. I prefer to spend this time focused on my relationships and lighting up the dark winter days and nights.

Oh, and peppermint ice cream. It is all worth it just for the peppermint ice cream.


Hear! Hear!

I was raised in a church that did not recognize Christmas, or any other religious holiday, pretty much for the reasons you give. But my parents did observe the secular part, thankfully.