Serious question, and one I'm sure gets asked every year...how do you guys deal with the social conventions that surround Christmas? 95% of the people, I know, celebrate Christmas and the other 5% celebrate things like Yule; Solstice; Hannukah; etc. What if you just don't care about all of the hype and commotion that leads up to this day? I'd love to hear some of your thoughts and insights on this.
I do Christmas just because I love all the festivities! And I take solace in knowing that Christmas is merely a holiday stolen by the Christians from the Pagans. The tree, the lighting of lights, the gifting, even the praying, which in pagan times was hopes that the sun would return again. I don't go to church, I internally vomit when I read, "Jesus is the reason for the season," and I'm willing to smile at others' little comments about their religion. If that makes them happy, who am I to interfere with their fantasies?
I mostly ignore the whole show to varying degrees, depending on my mood in a given year. Looking way beyond the usual carols and such, there is, admittedly, some fine holiday related Renaissance music that I love - but I can listen to that any time of year !
I abhor going into the riotous stores after Thanksgiving - for any purpose. Not much of a shopper anyway. And I've convinced my Sister and her gang up north, to cease with presents.
I do however sometimes send out secular cards, mostly because I miss letters, and handwriting, and it's fun to hear from folks. And there are some homes in the neighborhood, that go ape-shit with lights , so doing a drive-by is sometimes amusing. Other than that - "baa, humbug !"
Americans are actually celebrating Pagan Saturnalia/Generic solstice festival rebranded as Christian through a tortuous series of events throughout history. I just enjoy the time off work and don’t take it all too seriously.
This podcast goes into a lot of detail about it And is pretty entertaining
I wish people a Merry Yule or Solstice, depending on my mood. I decorate my apartment with mini Yule trees and drink eggnog. I buy one gift for the gift exchange at work. I really like a very calm, peaceful holiday.
It all originated as celebrations of the return of the sun in the northern hemisphere anyway.
I celebrate it. the decor and spirit of it don't bother me. i mainly enjoy it for the christmas dinners and the cooler weather. honestly, we'd be celebrating something else in the winter if it wasn't already christmas. i think people need something to look forward to at the end of the year.
I tend to agree along the lines of most here that I personally quietly enjoy the time with friends and family, eating drinking and being merry. Sure.
But all the social conventions and crazed hub-bub around it - that is taxing. I don't do cards (and expect none), but have lost an acquaintance over it. She felt snubbed when she didn't receive a card from me, though we saw each other regularly throughout the year. Differing priorities, I suppose.
Maniacal shopping, competing schedules and events, feeling gross the next day after too much eggnog, the lights, the sights, the noise. I really don't have the patience for all that.
And being in NYC, the tourists. Floods of them, like army ants, getting in the way while the rest of us try to get somewhere...
So, I deal with the conventions as best I can and feel relieved right after New Years.
Climbing into the tree and knocking ornaments off it is a load of fun, though.
Avoidance.. Now that I’m no longer responsible for raising children, or participating in such stuff with in-laws, it’s become ‘me time.’ No seasonal cards, decorations or party attendance … but a strategic focus on natural occurrences in natural settings ..and getting myself into some of that.
My now young adults will check in on the Winter Solstice (the reason for the season), as that’s what we’d focus on back in the day, but society appears oblivious.. It’s nothing more than ‘so many shopping days,’ to most. And though I’ve attended events on the Solstice, most settings and participants are drenched in C-mess regalia with conversations centered around ‘where are you going for C-mess?’
Back home, it’s prettymuch radio-silence to avoid the hype. But, I’ve gotten good! Yup, Nature pulls me through! Family knows to leave me alone. I’ll get gardens tilled, oil changed, trees pruned, leaves raked, taxes started, letters written, music blasted, beer drunk, ice cream disappeared, movies watched, streets walked and people avoided
...then it happens.. Happy New Year - and back to fuckin normal! I’m thrilled, everyone’s depressed, the days are ‘getting longer’ and Spring’s on it’s way … another trip around the Sun
Same way I deal with Halloween even though I'm not wiccan. Just enjoy the pageantry and food and stay away from the churches. I give gifts to my family and friends, decorate my household, and have a few Christmas songs I like. It's just a holiday like any other, and each individual is free to choose what meaning they personally attribute to it, or what features they participate in.
My daughter and her kids live a couple of hundred miles away. I send her money in early December for their Christmas. Then I try and get through it. When my kids were little and living here, I went all out. Since my son's death in '01, my heart went out on the whole thing.
I wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head. That being said I attempt to take a photograph of the solstice sunset over Lake Erie some years that works and sometimes it doesn't, we still put up lights we still put up a tree it brightens up the house, is there any Christian stuff there? no, I think not, we eat we party we have fun. And then on New year's I change all the batteries in the smoke alarms and remotes that way they're ready for another year of excitement. Everyday is what you decide to make of it. PARTY ON GARTH.
Personally, I enjoy xmas... it’s never been a religious celebration to/for me. I have great memories from my childhood... my children, family, friends... of course I hear the baby Jesus stories... yeah, yeah, yeah, I just smile, say cheers, have another cocktail. I still decorate a tree (fake) and all the other junk, good excuse for a gathering of friends, less decoration in recent years... thinking about it, I do much the same every day, just don’t do all the silly decorations.
I haven't thought of Christmas as a religious holiday for a long time. But it is still a problem for me, It reminds me of my parents, who are gone, of my late wife and my good friends, The incessant calls from signs, stores and television to be happy, happy happy, while buying all sorts of crap I can't afford bothers and depresses me.
And then there are the Christmas Carols.
I am fortunate this year to have somebody to spend it with. This helps a ,lot.