Christmas is a strange time of year. For me, it is like sedimentary rock (bear with me, this is going somewhere), each year creating another layer of memories and experiences that each add to the sum of the whole. As a child, it was just the presents and nothing else, as a teenager it was both the presents and the parties (and the hope of a kiss under the mistletoe) and now that I am in my forties, it’s about relaxation, good food and time with family and friends. And eggnog; let’s never forget the eggnog. Being an unashamed atheist, it isn’t really about the religious aspects, although I happily confess that I used to love attending church for the midnight carol service on Christmas Eve. For me, it’s more about the celebration of the season, complete with Santa Claus and some truly terrible seasonal movies and television.
I don’t even mind the rampant commercialism of the season, even if experiencing Christmas tunes in stores and Christmas adverts on television at the end of October is a trifle grating. The over indulgence, both in terms of food and presents, fits in well with the pagan celebration of the winter solstice that the Christian celebration replaced (usurped?); a time when our ancestors decided to throw caution to the wind and feast to celebrate the very welcome lengthening of the days. And that’s why Christmas is such an unusual celebration. It isn’t just about the Christian festival, it is about multiple celebrations from multiple cultures and religions throughout history, all layered on top of each other, much like sedimentary rock (told you I was going somewhere with that). It isn’t just about our own personal experiences, it about our human cultural heritage.
But at the same time, Christmas is such a personal experience for everyone. Although we all share the same general experiences at Christmastime, everyone has a different tale to tell, and there are different players on each person’s stage. Each one of us has our own personal, magical view of Christmas, built from each part of our lives. That’s what makes it so special and why I love it.
So, this being my first blog I won’t ramble on too long – I will finish now and simply say, however you celebrate Christmas, have a great holiday and don’t forget to read my brand new Christmas ghost story!