"Why is Christmas such a big thing to you – doesn't it bother you what a disgustingly commercialized spending spree it has become?"
"Why is Christmas such a big thing to you – you're not religious!"
My answer to the first question is pretty simple: I'm so soaked up on the positive things about Christmas that all the consumerism hype kind of passes over my head. Yes, maybe it's a bit early for all the shops and malls to be playing Christmas carols and putting up tinsels in mid-November, but is it such a big deal to fret and complain about? And frankly, I think that people who complain about all the stress and the crowds when they go Christmas shopping mostly bring it on themselves. How about planning things a little in advance and looking at the positive side of things? Can't people look at all the beautiful Christmas lights and feel the joy in their hearts when they're getting gifts for their family and friends?
As for the question about religion, I find it a little ironic. After all, Christmas has been around longer than Christianity, though with slightly different customs and another name. Weren't most Christian holidays (think about Easter and All Hallows' Eve for example) purposefully placed in the calendar to coincide with already existing pagan celebrations? Even today, our Christmas traditions are actually a mixture of Christian elements and those of Winter solstice celebrations. So while I admit I don't celebrate Christmas for the Christian reasons, there's still a lot about the season to be appreciated!
Here follows a list of What Christmas Means To Me:
- Light. As I've mentioned before somewhere in this blog, the days get pretty dark up here when autumn rolls on. Today, the sun rose at quarter past nine and set at quarter past three, and by the time we reach winter solstice, we'll have a whopping amount of about five hours of daylight. So it's really great to have a celebration with candles and Christmas lights – for me, Christmas time has always been like a great big torch in the dark winter season!
- Joy. In addition to bringing actual light, I think Christmas is a time to light up your heart. Forgetting about petty arguments and staying positive.
- Caring and sharing. For some people, the whole gift-giving tradition now only serves to feed the consuming frenzy, but for me it has always been a beautiful representation of how we can get joy out of giving something for others, whether it be something material or not.
- Peace. Christmas should provide a break from everyday obligations and stress. Get some time for yourself and the people who are important to you.
- Beauty. Admittedly, there have been years when the Christmas weather was not like out of those snowy greeting cards, but generally I think everything looks incredibly beautiful at this time of the year. I like sunshine and green trees and all that, but what really moves my heart is a beautiful, easy snowfall. Actually, I think really violent blizzards are nice to look at as well, I just want to be safe indoors when they happen. Not on a bus stop waiting for a bus that is half an hour late. Anyway, landscapes covered in snow never fail to catch my eye, they look stunning both in the dark of night and when the sun shines on them and makes them sparkle.
What do you celebrate about Christmas? (or Yule, or Winter solstice, or Hanukkah, whatever you want to call it.) Give it a thought while listening to this uplifting Christmas tune by my favourite man Stevie Wonder, and leave me a comment!