A number of people have asked me recently why I don’t do Christmas. I usually say ‘because I’m not a Christian’ and leave it at that. For the most part it’s true and certainly the major constituent of my reason for not doing Christmas.
Thing is, I don’t get why it’s such a big thing. When I was a kid, it was an important part of the year, but then I didn’t really know any better but as I grew up, I became more and more uncomfortable with it.
It’s partly because of the increasing commercialism and the unrealistic expectations people have about it; partly because I will never understand why people get themselves into appalling debt for the sake of one day where expectation is so great that it will inevitably be a disappointment; partly because you’re made to feel like a freak if you don’t do this massive celebration and getting drunk thing; partly because the effect of all this supposed goodwill is to increase suicide rates, increase calls to support services like The Samaritans but mostly because I don’t believe in the whole birth of Jesus thing. I did for a while and had some lovely meaningful Christmases with friends but I don’t anymore.
My personal morality makes it impossible for me to celebrate Christmas simply because of the Christian connection. I’m aware of it’s meaning to Christians and would feel completely hypocritical celebrating something so meaningful without having the belief.
Similarly, I don’t do Easter, Valentines Day, etc., because of the Christian meaning and having no specific spiritual beliefs anymore, I feel uncomfortable celebrating Saturnalia, Solstice, etc. From a pragmatic point of view, solstice does at least have some meaning outside of spirituality. If I celebrated anything, it’s probably be that, but being so unconnected to the seasons and the cycles, celebrating that seems a bit weird. If I were connected to the land in some way, it would have a point, but my connection to the seasons these days means the occasional visit to a farmers market and watching birds migrate.
Also I don’t see the point of one day where you are expected to be nice to everyone and give presents. I prefer to give presents to people I like when I see something they’d appreciate, or when they need cheering up. I don’t like having to fake appreciation of presents given by someone you only see once a year and doesn’t know you from a hole in the ground.
“It’s a time for family” you cry. Well, yeah, but we’re not a close family. I love my Mum and Dad but for a variety of reasons, we don’t see each other often. Maybe once every five or six years. Other than my parent’s, I’ve not seen any of my other family since I was 13 – I’ve recently been in touch with some of them for the first time in 30 years via Facebook/Friends reunited, so yeah, not close. Family is where you find it.
Now if you do Xmas, and aren’t a Christian, I”m not accusing you of being a hypocrite. Your reasons for doing it or not are completely valid too. But that’s your choice. I don’t want pity. I don’t want people feeling sad for me because I don’t do it. I just don’t do it. It’s not a big deal to me. Obviously it is for other people. I like that people enjoy it, although I hate the panic and bad moods it elicits. But I don’t do it, thanks.
I do like a lot of the foods associated with Christmas, though.