It might seem strange that a nonbeliever like myself would love Christmas, but I do, and have for some time. It’s not because there’s some fondness in my childhood for it, though there are some good memories tucked away back there (and more than a few bad ones to balance them out). I always thought working retail would have spoiled it for me too, yet for some reason, that just made me love that cheesy, material side of it a bit more.
I don’t care at all for the mythology that leads up to Christmas, but I’m glad that others do. Because I enjoy it and history, I’ve read up on that a lot. There’s a lot of interesting things in the history around the whole of the holiday, from the religious elements to the name itself (which didn’t originate until the middle ages), to all of the other elements that make up the holiday as well, like gift giving, Santa, trees, decorating, etc.
There’s some really interesting history around the holiday, actually. Stories like the Christmas Truce, to learning about the abbreviation Xmas being more faithful to the core story than all the people who flip out about it think (for those wondering, X, or Chi is Greek, was the abbreviation used for Christ… Xmas has existed as an abbreviation for Christmas almost as long as the word has been around). I suppose that makes me a soldier in the imaginary war on Christmas, so there is that. Though, to be fair, I’ve usually said Happy Holidays because it covers Christmas and New Years… that it covers other holidays is a happy byproduct.
I’ve had the privilege to celebrate Christmas with my wife for a huge portion of my life, and share it with my in-laws for years as well. I’ve had years of introducing my daughter to a variety of traditions, seeing her enjoy decorating the tree and singing Jingle Bells at the top of her lungs at random times. We’ve created our own little traditions, like listening to records as we decorate and certain things that always show up in the stockings. I like to give gifts, too, mostly because it’s something I enjoy, not because I’m expecting something in return. I even listen to a whole wide variety of Christmas carols, from the traditional to the religious to the modern (the PTX one above is one of my favorites)… because this time of year is about enjoying the life you have with the ones you love.
And that’s Christmas to Me. So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and/or Kwanza, or whatever other holiday that’s important to you.