I'm an atheist, and I love christmas.
It's not that weird, and it doesn't mean I'm just all about the commercialism, either. Although I undoubtedly love gifts, and even more than that, love buying presents, this is not what the holiday is about. Nor is christmas about Christ, because for me that is a name that really simply means nothing at all. On a side note, this is why I pretty consistently refer to the holiday as xmas or crimblim (a whimsical term that an uncle once wrote on a card to me, the full text of which read 'merry crimblim to all, and to all a good nimblim').
Now I do know lots of people who have religious traditions surrounding the season, such as going to midnight mass and whatever else it is that religious people do, and that's cool. I respect that. I respect also that a lot of people I know simply do these things because it is tradition. That's also cool.
All of this has got me to thinking recently about why I love the holiday so much. I'm a summer baby, so I love the sun and hate being cold, and I don't follow the religion around which the holiday is centred. And yet, every December I will blast my ears with the cheesiest music I can find, fill my home with cinnamon-scented candles, inform people incessantly about the exact countdown to the big day, and kit out my desk in tacky decorations. Why?
What does it mean to me?
It means my younger brother and me, waking at a stupid hour on christmas morning no matter how old we get, and the two of us hassling the older one to join us. It means trading presents in the living room with my brothers and my mum while listening to a cheesy christmas CD and picking out all the worst songs. It means getting all dressed up in a new outfit, and heading over to an aunt or uncle's house to commune with the whole family over mimosas and hors d'oeuvres. Obsessing over my rapidly growing cousins (I am one of the eldest, so I'm sure I am annoying them with my fascination.) Returning home to prepare food with my wonderful mother. Sitting down to eat an unconventional (mostly vegetarian) dinner with my closest family members. Drinking Bailey's and playing games until late at night. Spending the most relaxed day of the year together on the 26th, watching old movies and eating more delicious food.
My brothers, my mum, my nana, my aunts and uncles and cousins -- these are the people that define christmas for me.
Christmas has been consistently good since I was a child. It is the only date that I can point out on a calendar and say, without hesitation, "I have felt happy on this day every year." I have been happy, felt loved, felt at home, surrounded by family.
That is a wonderful feeling, and one that I hope to hold onto for as many years as I can.