I’m not a religious person. I’m not sure if I believe in some ethereal being and I certainly don’t associate with any saviors. I like the stories, and I’m a Catholic school girl through and through, but I’d be lying if I told you I believed in any particular religion much less identified with one. I gave up Eucharist years ago. Just stopped going up to the alter and sat beside my dad as the rest of my family paraded by. I still whisper prayers cum wishes into the universe but I haven’t been to church on my own, um, ever. My list of reasons will be saved for another day, but the point is that despite my disbelief in Christianity, or my active indifference for religion of any kind, I absolutely positively refuse to give up Christmas.
I love everything about it, no mater how materialistic and sickening and budget-wrenching it is. And I’m not talking about December 25th – although I do have a deep and passionate love-affair with that day – I’m talking about the entire dragged out season. From the day after Thanksgiving, when we tromp into the woods to bicker about a tree until a New Years when finally all the wrapping paper has been burnt, the piles of presents tucked away, and the tree is on the curb. They are the four best weeks of the year, and if I’d have it my way we’d repeat them all year-long.
I love the obnoxious carols. I listen to them as soon as socially acceptable. I sing them with such vigor and regularity that they are inevitably stuck in the head of my Jewish beau and I catch him humming about Jesus and kings and cradles. And I love buying the gifts, however much my wallet suffers – the creativity and the challenge and the obligatory distraction just in time for the peak of academic intensity. I love wishing for a snowy white day, I love the endless rounds of family brunches, and neighborly toasts, and bottomless feasts. The smell of wreathes and trees and garland is enough is invigorating, the ornaments are my annual trip back in time.
It truly is the most magical time of the year, no matter how sick and distorted it has grown. No matter how stressful the weeks prior, no matter how magnificent or disappointing the year has been, waking up on Christmas morning is sweet time and time again. The presents piled high under the tree, the smell of applesauce muffins, and the forgiving waistband of fleece pajamas. I’ll even put up with the obligatory pictures and the rotating spotlight just to stretch the morning a little longer. The anticipation is never for naught, the season is awesome and the day always fabulous, and I am pretty sure everyone – no matter your god or your religion or your history – just join us. We’re on to something and we’d love to share. Lick a candy cane. Stick your face in the evergreen. Give something to someone else and jingle some bells while you’re at it. It’s too good to miss, this holiday. We’d be happy to have you.