Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

My Beef with ‘CHRISTmas’

I know Christmas is over, but this has been bugging me and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write about it, and since this is Thursday, and it’s been a while since I’ve done a Secular Thursday post, I figured it was a sign or something.  {/snark}

Let me begin by saying that I have no problem with Christmas. But ‘CHRISTmas’, and it’s devotees, bug the crap out of me. Why? Because Christmas, and therefore ‘CHRISTmas’, although ‘adopted’ by the Christian church, have basically nothing to do with the actual birth of Christ (assuming that your mythology allows for his existence and significance). One need only look to the symbols of modern Christmas celebrations to see that virtually all of them are taken from ancient celebrations of the Winter Solstice, Yule and the Roman Saturnalia. I am not interested in getting into a debate about that point; I only mention it to illustrate the ludicrousness of the saying ‘putting Christ back into Christmas’ when it might be more appropriate to take Christ out of it all-together.

I think that for a lot of people, Christmas has taken on a more secular tone. Even among professed Christians, few people actually go to church or have any religious observance of the holiday. Mostly, it’s a time of family and togetherness, of celebrating and appreciating the people in our lives that make it worth living; at least that’s true for the majority of our friends.

Among devout Christians, even, most of the ones I know are content to assign whatever religious significance Christmas has to them within the context of their lives, and aside from the odd post on Facebook, allow others the celebrate at their own level of religious significance. They seem to get the difference between ‘sharing their beliefs’ and ‘shoving them down your throat’.  Most even respect that some people are flat-out not Christian at all, and don’t take it as a personal attack when confronted with someone who celebrates (with just as much devotion) Hanukkah or Ashura or Kwanzaa or Festivus or Yule.  This is true especially in my diverse circle of friends, and I appreciate that my friends respect each other and value differing world-views as much as I do.

So, it is with this thought that I leave you today, hoping that your holiday season has been full of love and wonder, that your family has been safe and warm, and that your friends are open-minded and accepting. Happy Holidays!

Warmly,

~h

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8 responses

  1. AnnA

    Can I start of by saying that as I was reading, I started seeing your snow and my first reaction was WTF is wrong with this computer NOW? lol

    I definitely appreciate your point. Though I’m a Christian (a dirty, rotten one it would seem), Christmas has about as much religious significance for me as Festivus. I don’t blame it entirely on the crazy of my adolescent life and that we didn’t observe “the pagan, satan-worshiper holiday known as Christmas” for many years. I just can’t get past what you mentioned, the fact that it’s not a Christian holiday, but that the church embraced it so it could change it, much like it did so many other things.

    It’s almost empowering. While, again, as a Christian, I’m glad my cousins in Christ (siblings would just be way too close) are paying more attention to little baby Jesus, that’s not what it’s about for me. Family, togetherness, yada yada. Because I don’t “observe” it in the few hundred year old traditional sense, I’m free to embrace Christmas in all it’s commercialized glory. As long as it doesn’t interfere with one’s regularly scheduled faith, I don’t see a huge problem.

    I was terribly sick for most of December, so I didn’t get to go to the mall or partake in any other public customs, and I feel unfulfilled. Not that I worship money or goods or whatever. I just love me a sale, even if I have to trample someone’s grandmother to get that last Barbie doll.

    December 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

  2. WHY have you not been commenting on my blog for every post, woman?? I just adore your take on things.
    “As long as it doesn’t interfere with one’s regularly scheduled faith” and “even if I have to trample someone’s grandmother to get that last Barbie doll” are image-invoking statements the likes of which few are able to compete with. You make me laugh, my friend 🙂

    ~h

    December 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

  3. [snarky response] Thank you for acknowledging Festivus. So few people take this holiday seriously. Our family quietly partakes in the feats of strength and the airing of complaints every year but at the risk of others not respecting our choice of December celebrations, we don’t often talk about it. 😉

    December 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    • Agreed… Festivus as a serious holiday definitely does not get the recognition it deserves.
      😀
      ~h

      December 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm

  4. Yes! I’ve tried my best to bit my tounge this year, but The Spouse comes from one of those “Christ in Christmas” families, even though….well I won’t get into them because I’ll end up ranting. LOL. Anyways, nicely said. 🙂

    December 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  5. Jill Castellano

    Thanks for posting this. This is also a big issue for me. This year I got excited about Winter Solstice in order to make the holiday season have more meaning for us. I used to dread every December and it couldn’t be over fast enough. Unfortunately, in the rural town I moved to, those of us who are not Christian are few and far between (if any). I dont get much of a chance to talk about this unless I want to hear about the burning hellfire awaiting me so thanks again for sharing.-Jill

    December 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

  6. Amy R

    Hey there, H! I searched your blog for “Christmas” and came upon this post. I was looking for something about Santa and how you have handled that myth with your kids. I think we’ve discussed it in person, but it’s been a while and I’d like to hear again what you have to say.

    Z is 3.5 and subject to a widening sphere of influence, which leads to questions. (Darn intelligent, inquisitive small people.) I’ve been trying to foster a spirit of giving and sharing as the main purpose of the holiday for our family. The sticking point for us is finding a balance between the magic of the holiday – Santa, reindeer, surprises – and “Wait a minute, that funny-dressed guy we saw riding on top of a fire truck is going to be in our HOUSE?!” She flat out asked me if Santa was pretend. My answer was clumsy and unclear and probably unsatisfactory. I expect it to come up again.

    I check in on your blog regularly, and always appreciate your perspective!

    November 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    • What a fun age 3-5 is!! They learn so much in such a short amount of time.
      We’ve always told our kids the truth – that the myth of Santa is based on St. Nicholas, but the ‘magic’ stuff is just make-believe. We told the boys, ‘it’s fun to believe even though they’re not real’, which lets the magic in… we do that with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Great Pumpkin.. all of the mythical figures that add an element of fun and magic. I don’t want to take anything away from my kids, but I don’t want them growing up with a history of lies from their parents and disappointment upon learning the truth, either. Our compromise has always worked well, and now that they’re older, it’s still fun – we get asked what Santa {wink, wink, nudge,nudge} is bringing them, or reminded that the Tooth Fairy (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) needs to visit tonight.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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