Last year I was still a bit shell-shocked when Christmas came around. I kind of just went through the motions, oh and I still thought Jesus and God were real too, that's kind of significant I suppose. However, throughout the year I lost one and then the other, found one again, lost them again. You know how it goes. Now I find myself 3 days out from Christmas wondering W(hy)TF I am still buying into the Christmas season when I don't even believe in Christ?!
A friend of mine told me a couple of nights ago that they don't celebrate Christmas and it kind of triggered me into thinking "oh yeah, that's right I probably ought to re-assess what I'm doing here". Particularly because apathy/paralysis have conspired to lead me to this point -3days out!!!- with no friggin' clue of what I am doing!
Well I came across this article today which reminded me that Christmas (a force unto itself/an entity not unlike say a corporation) actually borrowed many of it's feel good traditions from paganism. Now I'm no expert so please pick me up on my incorrectness. My understanding is that after a long cold winter, people would celebrate the Winter Solstice with food, wine, dancing, tree decorating etc etc. Now when I realised/remembered this I was so happy because I love the tree, the snow, the cute little robins and twigs, the cake, the wreath, the food, the music... oh how do I love the music!!! and I don't have to toss it out along with my belief in the Jesus story. LOT's of it can stay, yay!
Oh, and my kids still love the Jesus story and it is kinda sweet so I'll keep the cutesy versions and just add some more myths of my own as I find them.
Now last night (why oh why didn't I bring my camera?!) Toby and I took the kids into town to have dinner with my brother and his girlfriend and son, my other brother and my dad. It was RAD. We went to Miss Maud . It is a Swedish restaurant all homely and snug. It was decorated with pine garlands and fake snow. There was a giant gingerbread house in the middle of the smorgasboard!! and the band played lovely Christmassy tunes all night. Everyone had a great time. This will have to become a tradition I think!
Then a friend reminded me of the fact that we live in Australia and our Solstice is of the summer variety at this time of year. Our festivities involve the beach and cold beer and food. She also reminded me of this song. Love it!
...and finally some sage advice from my most pagan of friends was a renaming of the day itself.
Oh, how I love this new name! I certainly plan on using it in my newly atheist family. When religious types are around I may go easy on them for a while yet and just harp on about the solstice but giftmas is a keeper.
Oh and Bowie reminded me earlier today of how much fun it is to be able to write X-mas now with no fear of thunderbolts!!
So, I plan on spending some more energy looking into ways to merge a Winter/Summer Solstice celebration that will allow me to retain everything that I love about Christmas/Winter Solstice traditions whilst paying homage to my very hot homeland of Australia.