I love asking people what their holiday traditions were growing up. I loved my own childhood holiday traditions, and I love how they've evolved and changed as my family has evolved and changed. I heard a story recently about a man who felt disappointed that he received so many cards labeled "Happy Holidays" because he felt that it robbed the season of the reason HE held most dear in his religious practices (and there's the articles all over the Internet expressing the same sentiment, in all ways and all directions).
Christmas is a bit of an interesting area for me, since I spent most years of my life celebrating it religiously, then a couple years feeling conflicted about that aspect, and this year feeling just....not...very religious about it. Because girl needs a break. I have a childhood friend who admitted that Christmas pains him deeply, since the religious vibes and nostalgia it digs up hurt him in the same way that his religion ultimately hurt him. I spoke with someone else who dreads the holidays because his parents recently divorced and it's one big reminder that nothing feels the same in that sacred part of his life. And my dear friend Camille, who spent last Christmas with her heart aching because of yet another failed round of infertility treatments (but spent this Christmas with her new baby please go see how cute!)
I'm sure there are yet other things I can't see in the people around me -- the people that feel pained by the season because of this or that memory or a person missing from their lives and so on.
And for that reason, I'm OK with any reason for the season.
Sure, Christmas itself was named religiously and has religious roots, but what doesn't evolve over time? I love when people are able to make it their own in a way that feels both safe and celebratory for them -- whether it's steeped in religion or just a cozy day off from work with friends and family. Or a reason to run away on vacation and avoid it. Or a reason to grit your teeth and get through it and breathe a sigh of relief in January, if that's all you can take from it right now. Personally I love Christmas music both religious and secular (enough so to start cranking that shiz in early October don't judge me Silent Night is incredibly soothing on a long work day). I love that my Jewish-raised coworker likes the music too. I love that my friend posted from India about a group of women who took time to throw a Christmas party (complete with Gandhi readings!) for her since she was far from home for the holiday. I love my friends who express no religion at all and yet soak up the beautiful day and beautiful memory-making moments with their loved ones.
My Christmas this year meant celebrations with family, and with friends who feel like family, buying and receiving some thoughtful gifts, a bit of travel, not working, not working, more of that, quiet days in my parents' house with crossword puzzles, Law & Order & naps, watching HGTV and Forrest Gump with my parents, seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the fam (SO GOOD OMG).....and so on.
I love all of it. And mostly I love that all people are free to love all of it, however they choose. I love that each individual's reason for celebration does nothing to diminish the joy of anyone else's celebration.
So may it leave you merry and bright -- whatever your reasons.
Photos of my own season! In whatever random order they uploaded because I try rull hard 'round hurr.
Straight from the Phoenix airport to my favorite al pastor taco....
Dyed my hair back to brown! Bye bye blonde.
Christmas morning....just me....only single kid at home this year!
When my nephew was so excited on Christmas morning that he went full Internet meme status...
I colored this in a coloring app on my phone. My mom also bought me a real coloring book. All good things.
View from somewhere in the air....
Took a trip to Texas! To visit some extended family and also spend time with a couple high school friends, one of which graduated with a master's degree. Congrats little bird!