Christmas is an idea, in my opinion, similar to religion itself. And, much like religion, there are people who love it, people who hate it and people who are completely indifferent to it. My boyfriend is one of the Christmas haters (I love him.. but he’s still a hater). I’m the complete opposite, though, and he asked me why the other day. (Well, kind of. He said, “Tell me why you love Christmas so much.” Same difference.) In my head, it went a little bit like this:
But I’ve been thinking about it lately, because I couldn’t really give him a solid answer before. My response was, more or less, “I dunno. I just love it, I guess.” Eloquent, right? Well, the more I thought about it, the more I started to form a real answer.
So, Christmas may have started as a church-y holiday, but we all know that it really isn’t anymore. Yes, people still go to church and celebrate Jesus and all that jazz; however, the majority of people are much more concerned about what gifts they’ll get (or not get) to care about the meaning behind the holiday.
By the way, for those of you who just tuned it, I’m an atheist. (Not the angry, adamant kind – don’t worry.) That being said, I don’t love Christmas because of what it signifies to those in the Christian faith. I’m not saying that at all. But I also don’t see Christmas as simply another commercial holiday to celebrate.
Christmas is, like I said, an idea. It signifies the idea that homes should be warm and full of love (and smell like cinnamon, like, all the time), that people should do good unto others, that the world should make sense for even a little while. Christmas is hope and happiness and love and faith, religious or otherwise.
I can imagine my boyfriend (and all you other grinchy people) reading this and going, “That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on one stupid holiday, isn’t it?”
The simple answer? Yep. It is.
But it’s still the truth. Grinchies always want to know why the rest of us worship this holiday so much and, although I can’t speak for all other Christmas lovers, I can speak for myself. And that’s why I had to write this post (although I must extend this to the season itself, because Christmas Day doesn’t hold any specific significance in the grand scheme of things).
I love Christmas because it brings out the good in people. Everyone who tries to hide from all of the bad parts of society – homelessness and poverty, for example – suddenly allow themselves to open up to the world and extend a helping hand. Does this mean that it’s right to ignore those parts of society the other 11 months of the year? No. But is a start – one month of understanding – better than nothing? Absolutely. Plus, people are just generally kinder. I worked as a cashier in retail for a while and, around Christmastime, the majority of people were much cheerier. They’d always throw in a little, “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” before walking away. And who doesn’t like that?
I love Christmas because it brings people together. My favorite memories of the holidays growing up are not of ripping open gifts or stuffing my face with food (although my dad does make really good fudge). The memories that I turn over and over again in my mind during Christmas are of being with family – sitting in an over-crowded living room surrounded by grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and third-cousins-once-removed, snuggling up with a warm drink and watching those old Christmas cartoons, taking a day and decorating the tree as a family. Did I appreciate the Harry Potter wands and stockings full of candy? I’m sure I did. But what stuck with me was the love that filled our house every year around Christmas.
I love Christmas because of all the potential it holds. Plain and simple, Christmas has always been a magical time of the year for me. I can give you all the rational reasons I can think of but, at the end of the day, I really can’t explain why this holiday affects me the way it does. For example, I bought a silly fake Christmas tree (we aren’t allowed to have real ones in our apartment complex… lame) and, after I set it up, I plugged it in to make sure it worked. The multi-colored lights popped on and sparkled down at me and I was overwhelmed with the same rush of emotion that hits me every single year at Christmastime. I may have cried a little. Don’t judge me.
Okay, you should probably judge me a little bit. But my point is this: for reasons I can only try to explain, Christmas is a season that will forever hold magic and hope for me. It’s the one solitary season that holds more potential for love and goodness than any other. So all you grinches can continue being grinchy, but try to find some tiny scrap of magic in your holiday this year.
I promise it’ll be worth it.