Meandering on the season

I've been away, first in November, because I was attempting to write a slapstick comedy novel. It didn't work out very well. While I tend to enjoy it-- think "Three Stooges"-- I can't write it. So I said, "Fuck it!' and figured I'd give NaNo a try next year. Then I got the brilliant idea to write a Shadowrun inspired novel. I wrote about this a bit the other day.

When I had more writing time, I have to admit I just haven't felt like it. It isn't that I have nothing to say, it more that I'm not sure I wanted to write it, aloud, as it were. Some times thoughts are better only in the mind, and not spoken or written aloud.

Then I thought why not, I mean, this is my blog, and I have, what three, four, readers?-- if you all haven't gotten bored and wandered off to other more green pastures of the interwebz... and I wouldn't blame you one bit.

See, it's Yuletide, Christmas time, the Holiday season.

I fucking hate this time of year. I hate it with a passion, always have, and I can't remember a time when I didn't loathe it. This is not popular, feeling this way, and so I tend not to tell anyone except those closest to me. I want to explore those feelings today... if for nothing else, than to get them out there where I can see them. If you love this whole Christmasy thing, you'll probably want to skip this blog. I'm cool with that, really.

First, I hate it because it's so fucking plastic.
Did you know, when I was working at Penney's in the early 2000's that xmas season started, officially on the 10th of October. The 10th. Of. October. Yeah, before Hallowe'en, right after "back to school" and Labor Day. So we'd put up the Holiday set-sell [that's the floor plans, things get changed around for the various sales and seasons] and suffer. Usually the week of Thanksgiving is when carols started, and so we got to hear the same twenty songs over, and over, and over while dusting off the ugly green and red decorations we'd been looking at for almost two months by that time.

Now, well, even the goddamned grocery stores have xmas and Hallowe'en displays up at the same time. For fuck's sake! I don't want Frosty and Santa giving me the evil eye while I'm shopping for candy for the goblins to get when they come to my door. I'd rather avoid the tacky, ugly as hell decorations, thanks. I don't decorate my house outside, and often, I don't even decorate it inside. We have a 3 feet tall fibre-optic tree, and this year my husband bought a Norflok pine. Neither one will get bulbs on them; no balls, no nothing, just the pretty light up one, and the lovely potted one. Period. No plasticy, tacky shit here, thanks.

This makes me a Scrooge, you know... but fuck it, I don't feel the need to prove my love for my family by draping my house, garage, front room, kitchen and cats in tinsel. That shit isn't recyclable!

 Second, rather than celebrating the actual historical reasons for this time of year: the fucking solstice, the return of the sun, the warming of the earth, the lengthening of days-- the fact that winter was ending!-- we celebrate the spending of money, and acquisition of shit.

This culminates in the ever more prevalent "gift giving guides". They are fucking everywhere! I've been saturated with "gift giving" adverts, and I don't even watch television! Every website talks about better ways to celebrate, what to give, to whom, how much to spend, and my personal favourite, how to opt out of buying things and giving hand-made instead.

Just like last year, and the year before.

Why in the hell are we having this conversation every year? Why can't we light out Yule Logs, have some cookies, and say fuck over spending? But nooooo, this time of year, is all about the gifts you give.

You know what, I'm broke. I've got kids, and a mortgage, and bills, and an ex that refuses to pay child support. I don't have the money to buy lots and lots of shit, and I'll be damned if some asshole advertiser is going to guilt me into more debt, so I can get the latest, greatest thing... because Christmas!

I am not alone! This year, like the past four or so, there are millions of people who are out of work, or "under employed"-- this means they're not making enough to live comfortably, and are struggling, even though they have a paycheque-- it's probably minimum wage. We are all struggling, we have things that are important, and buying shit-- Because Christmas-- isn't! But we're all meant to feel terribly guilty about that. The entire structure of the season is geared to giving, and if you don't, you're a Scrooge.

I can't be guilty for something over which I have no control-- you over-spend to your heart's content. I'll be here, getting by, feeding my children and keeping my lights on without department store credit cards that have an interest rate in the 20's.

Third, and this one's more an annoyance than anything: the so-called war on xmas has started again.

OK, I get it, you're christian and you want Jesus to be the centre of your holiday-- it's cool with me if you have a crèche. I don't give shit if it's on your fucking roof, covered in silver and gold paint, wrapped in halogen bulbs and lit up like an operating theatre. It's your crèche, right? Your house? Then we're fine, you and I.

You can have one at your church, too! And some of the ones I've seen in the past are pretty amazing, the lights and statues, they're fabulous! You can get together for your midnight masses, and your christmas carolling, you can even go around singing to people in their houses if you like... just make sure you can sing, before you assault us with your music, OK?

You know what you can't do?

You can't use my taxes to make a crèche in the centre of town. You can't use my taxes to make a little shrine to your sun-king reborn, if I can't have a Menorah in there, if I can't have representations from every other religion, faith, philosophy and thinking group along side your creche. If you don't want Frosty and Santa across from your wise men, or an eight-spoked wheel, or whatever is out there, don't have your fucking crèche.

This isn't a war on your god. It's getting equal time for everyone who has a celebration in December. To the best of my knowledge December has at least ten religious holidays. Just religious ones and that doesn't count all the feast days, or fasting days. There are holidays for every single day of the month-- and some days have more than one... Breaking it down, we have several christian days, a Pagan day, Kwanzaa begins, Chanukah's eight days are in there, Buddhism has a day, Hindus have a four-five day festival, Persians celebrate the birth of Mithras with a modern twist, and I could go on. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good list of holidays, if you're interested, go here.

So, by asking for, demanding, and generally getting our place at the table, we Pagans, Wiccans, Heathens, Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Freethinkers everywhere aren't warring against your holiday, we're trying to include you in ours.

Forgive us for our open-mindedness, our open arms and hearts, for trying to include you in our holiday. I mean, shit! That'll teach us to be so kind and think of you, right?

But, if you listen to Fox Noise, that Drudge guy, right wing news outlets and other so-called christian broadcasting, newspapers and websites you'd think we declared "No Christmas For Anyone-- Evah!!!!" about twenty years ago, and are steadily chipping away at your ability to celebrate it. If we're really that nasty, you'd think we would have outlawed it by now, right? Or at least had it made not a fucking federal holiday!! I mean fuck me, if your high holidays are federal and banking holidays you can't tell me that Pagans and Atheists are being mean to you and trying to take your holiday away. If you really think that, you're fucked in the head.

You know who you should be mad at? Advertisers. Corporations. Those people telling you that the "reason for the season" is to buy lots and lots of stuff, rather than the celebration of your Jesus. Maybe take this xmas off of buying things? Maybe give that money to a homeless shelter, or your local domestic violence shelter?

But no, can't give money to those undesirables, have to spend it on the latest "i" product, and those ugly turkey-leg looking skinny jeans, and bukake sunglasses, and DVDs you'll watch once and e-books you'll never read. Otherwise, how will people know you looooove them, and you loooove Jesus?

Anyway, that's my last point, too, the commercialisation of this supposedly high holiday day.

I never liked the whole gift giving thing... it's mandatory, you see, and that takes all the joy out of it for me. On some one's birthday is different, at least the way I see it. Birthdays you're celebrating that person. Xmas you're giving because you're supposed to give. I'd rather you never gave me anything, and then some random day in June you found the perfect book/movie/CD/game/flower/chocolates/whatever and said, "Hey, this is perfect for Em, I'm totally picking this up for her". That would mean so much more to me, than some kitchy thing you got because it's xmas, and you're supposed to.

This holiday for me, is about the rebirth of the year. See, we're slingshotting around the sun are amazing speeds, hanging in the vastness of space, swimming in that deep darkness, and we haven't been flung off! Isn't that amazing?! The solstice is a day when the day and night are the same length, a by-product of our axis-tilt, and the reason we have seasons. And that is absolutely fucking fantastic! The sun's lengthening for the Northern Hemisphere means that autumn is coming for our friends in Australia, Africa and South America, but it means Spring is coming for us! It's exciting to me, to see and experience that primal counting of time, the turning of the wheel of the year, the continuation of our cycle...

I don't need gifts, or red and green, or big plastic balls, or tinsel to be in awe of my solar system and my little planet's trip around my star. I feel that way, every day. Every day I love my friends, I love my family and I am thrilled to death to be here, watching the days shorten, knowing they'll get longer soon. That awe I feel peering into the dark of the night at the stars, that doesn't go away just because it's xmas, nor does it start. It's always there, always the awe, knowing my star, Sol, is right there, dragging my earth through the Milky Way, as we dance through space and time.

I don't need to think "oh, some dude might have been born 2000 years ago, and so this might be the celebration of his birthday, so I have to love people." I'm not so shallow as that.

If you're celebrating the holiday, I'm not trying to discourage you. Enjoy the moments with your friends and family. Remember that your holiday isn't the only one; and that girl down the street, who says, "Happy Holidays!" is trying to wish you the best of whichever you celebrate, not stripping away your Christmas Joy. If your enjoyment of this season is so slack, so small, that a wish for happiness hurts you, please see your therapist.

Next time I'll talk about what this time of year does for my depression and anxiety. I just don't want to get into it right now.


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