The Christians vs. The Pagans

That’s it.  The Christians win.

Today is Solstice. The shortest day of the year. The rebirth of the sun. Today is the pagan holiday that paved the way to the overbearing holiday where so many pretend that little baby jesus was born at this time in a manger and a star appeared in the east and the wise men followed the star and gave spices as presents and so now we all get a big friggin tree and put it in our window and we wish everybody peace and love. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of year. This soul-freezing, inversion breathing, Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas time of the year…. The only good thing about December is today. Solstice. But the last few years Solstice has lost and Christmas has won.

One year ago this week Kim was waiting to pull into a parking spot at Costco and a big SUV came from the other direction and gunned it and swooped into the spot before she could turn in. I wanted Kim to play a game of Subaru chicken but she moseyed on like it didn’t even PISS her off. Luckily someone was pulling out just a few spots away and Kim got that spot. The incident irked me and I was well on my way to a bad mood. We hopped out of the car and Kim was doing her best to talk about how those ladies were jerks but I shouldn’t let it get to me. And then the cutest old couple walked over from a few across the road and told Kim that they saw what those ladies did and they just wanted Kim to know that they found it to be very rude and they were sorry that it happened. Kim smiled warmly at the couple and said that them coming over made her feel better. I, however, was still miffed. I was especially miffed when the women that cut us off were right in front of us selecting a cart and chatting to each other like they weren’t big jerks. Merry Christmas this. And Merry Christmas that. And did you hear what so and so said in Relief Society. And I walked up to get my cart and told the woman (much nicer than I felt) that I found her actions to be inappropriate. She retorted that she had been driving around for 10 minutes before she finally found that spot, and since she had looked for so long, she did what she had to do to get that spot. She then made the mistake of saying. “It was nothing personal. Merry Christmas.” To which I not proudly responded. “Yes. Merry Fucking Christmas you hypocrite!” You should have seen her eyes. Popping out of her head. Kim had the audacity to look embarrassed at being with me. These naïve, mean, Christian women embody EXACTLY what I cannot stand about Christmas.

The sugary sweetness of privilege drips all over this holiday. And each year I give into it a little bit. In the past when coworkers have given me presents I’ve explained that I’m not Christian and the responses I hear back range from. “Christmas is for everybody.” to “keep the gift. It’s what Jesus would want.” to “Happy Solstice then.” But now, coworkers give me gifts and I say “thank you.” Then mark on my to-do list that I have to go buy Christmas presents for my coworkers.  My ideals align with women who wrote this. But my actions anymore certainly do not reflect that.

Each year Christmas wins a little more. Each year Solstice loses even more. Having children in this climate only complicates my experience with Christmas even more.
I want the boys to love solstice and to get gifts on this day and to forget about Christmas. But they are already different and get called out in so many ways, it seems as if my “crusade” (pun intended) against Christmas just makes them even more different. So this year we have a tree with lights on the tree. They boys brought home a school picture with Santa. (Though to Casey’s credit he refused to sit on Santa’s lap. “Tuz I don’t know him and I don’t sit on stwangers laps.”) And I keep saying that it’s okay that we have a secular Christmas. But deep down I know it is not.

I know that I can resist it on my own, but I can’t seem to be able to put my boys through any more pain.  So we have become the atheists who have gotten swept up in the Christian hegemony of Christmas.  Maybe the boys will be old enough next year to take it all away?


3 Responses to “The Christians vs. The Pagans”

  1. Doug Says:

    i will send the relief society ladys by your half way home

  2. Carrie Says:

    Do what I do….leave the country at Christmas time…no presents, no trees, no b.s. Next year, Belize?

  3. Shereen Says:

    I know it’s practically summer, but I was just reading this and commiserating. For me, the mindset we try to have is that even Christmas is celebrating the solstice, whether it means to or not. The tree with lights is a pagan tradition, with the evergreen and the lights symbolizing life that doesn’t die in the midst of winter, and light in the longest night. Almost every Christmas tradition has its roots in solstice celebration. We spend energy every year talking about how we talk about Christmas because people around us call the holiday that these days, but that everybody around the world since forever celebrates at that time of year because it’s the longest night, and marks the turning point when the sun starts coming back to us. We also point out that Christianity is the youngest of the religious traditions to try and cash in on the solstice. So our daughter now talks about Christmas, but she independently connects it to the rhythms of the earth. And we look at it as a multi-day celebration, which traditional solstice celebrations were – like the pagan 12 days of Christmas, which weren’t about Christ at all. That way, we start on the 21st, and the 25th is just one of the celebrations in there. Not all with presents, mind you, but with specific types of food and activities. That way the earth-rooted holiday surrounds Christmas Day, and is the root and anchor for all celebration. As it should be. We do the same thing for Easter, since our daughter was curious about why rabbits bring eggs, and how it connects to Jesus. We just explain that the Christians tried to attach all their holidays to earth celebrations, so while we might celebrate the days because it helps us connect with family (most important part of our family celebrations), to remember that if it doesn’t make sense, that’s because it’s not the original, it’s a bad copy. The original makes sense. Eggs=fertility, rabbits=fertility, Easter=Goddess Eostre.

    Anyway, totally babbling now, but this is something we really struggled with, and this past year it really started falling into place.

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