I was raised as a Seventh day Adventist and one of the first things I learned in church was that all things that seemed remotely fun was totally off limits to me, especially Christmas. I learned it was just another pagan Holiday that claims to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ when it really celebrates the sun god, which is just about as blasphemous as blasphemes go. None of that ever mattered to me though. All I ever saw was how spectacularly awesome my neighbors tacky inflatable decorations were. Christmas trees lit up living rooms and all those presents were just sitting underneath beautifully wrapped and waiting to be ripped open on Christmas morning.
I was never allowed to believe in Santa Clause, which I actually don’t regret. One less fictional character I wasn’t tricked into pinning all of my hopes on. Still, I wanted to believe in Santa, not because of what he did for a living, but rather, what he represented. A big, fat, happy guy who left his house once a year to drop off gifts and eat all the cookies he could stuff in between his rosey cheeks. That must be the life. An entrepreneur of sorts, spending his time clearly doing what he loves; but I digress.
For me, all I could see was deprivation in my parents’ chosen faith. Hypocrisy was alive and well and I was a little okay with it. It was the weak points that allowed for a little fun and sanity to slip in. The same organization that preached against the observance of the sacreligious pagan Holiday would allow the exchange of gifts within the church. They just didn’t say Merry Christmas. Talk about confusing, but I get it. It seems kind of cruel when I think about it, depriving a child of Christmas, whether you like its origins or not, but then I’m not a guardian of tradition. I’ve always had a habit of challenging what “is” and has “always been”. I drove the Sabbath school teacher nuts with my annoying, “we’ll that’s rediculous!” questions, that somehow always remained unanswered.
It doesn’t matter now. I have been free from its rigid rules and ideals now for years and with that freedom comes the ability to enjoy things like Christmas. Not because I celebrate what many consider to be mankind’s savior day of birth, but because it’s the one time mankind seems to slow down. That permits us think about others and at least for the most part, promotes civility and happiness to the fellow man…and wo-man. It is the one time of year most people “want” to be nice to each other.
I live in Miami, so there’s hardly a change in the weather, but I love my hot cocoa and enjoy snow through my favorite Christmas movies.
I love the idea that production at work runs at its lowest with workers doing their holiday shopping online during company time, and attending Holiday office parties become part of the job.
And I absolutely love the music…all of it, classic, blues, jazz standards, r&b, it doesn’t matter. I can listen to all of it, all day long. Something about the words and sentiments just sets my mood permanently to “comfy and cozy.” It is absolutely the hap-happiest season of all, and I find always too short.
Forgive me if I sound a little cliche, but spending time with family and those I’ve learned to tolerate is by far the best part of it all. My family is like watching one huge comedy sitcom, never a dull moment so I definitely look forward to it.
The gifts, I really don’t care about. No, really, I’m not lying. This is probably because in my history of receiving gifts from all kinds of well meaning souls, I have never walked away thinking…God, this was perfect! Or…this was just what I wanted!! I can tell you that I have been able to do that for someone else and every year, people pray that I pull them out of the secret Santa hat. I’d rather buy one awesome gift I know someone will absolutely love, than pass around $10 crap to a hundred different people, who really don’t need anything. This year in fact, I plan to give to several people I know can’t give back. I personally don’t need anything. I’m living a life of abundance and trying to free myself of taking in people as well as things that don’t serve to make me a better version of myself…so please, keep your fruit cake, the crazy sweaters and dollar store gifts to yourself.
Christmas is all I need.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa!