I celebrate Christmas. I always have, since I was a little kid with my family. We wake up mid-morning, and my mom has always stayed up unbelievably late to rearrange the presents under the tree and put up last minute decorations to make it seem like the house was touched by some kind of Christmas magic. We open presents, have a special breakfast, and then either we go to visit family, or they come to visit us.
Not being Christian anymore, I have the internal quandary whether or not I should still celebrate Christmas. It is, after all, a holiday honoring the birth of a deity I no longer serve. But Christmas has kind of taken on a life of its own in my world. Christmas, to me, has become a celebration of my Akhu and my family.
I celebrate Christmas because my family does. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if I suddenly decided I was too good for the holiday. I would only be causing grief, as I corrected people about the holiday constantly and disappointed them by not participating in traditions. I celebrate because I enjoy giving gifts. It’s a drain on my wallet to be sure, but I love having an excuse to find something that will truly make someone smile. I celebrate for my ancestors. I feel my Akhu gathering during Christmas, just as my living family does. I will bring them offerings – the foods we’ve always had at Christmas, and of course the drinks after dinner. The traditions themselves are an offering – we remember the dead by carrying on the things they themselves enjoyed doing too.
I know there are other holidays that I could insist on celebrating; I could demand to be wished a happy Establishment of the Celestial Cow (which happens to fall today, incidentally), or a blessed solstice, or anything. I do celebrate those festivals, but ritually, with prayer. Gift giving and gathering of family is for Christmas. It always has been, and always will be. And when I am old enough to celebrate holidays with my own children, I will teach them about Christmas. I will tell them about it’s religious significance first – but then I’ll tell them how I’ve always celebrated it – as a feast for the family, both living and dead.
Merry Christmas, blessed solstice and a happy Moomas to you – whichever your celebrate and however you do.