when i was growing up, christmas was the time of year when my whole family was in one place. well most of it, anyway. we normally spent it with my dad's parents. my mom's mother usually spent it with us by telephone. now, the family gathering is smaller and more sporadic. all my grandparents are dead, and i live all the way across the country from my immediate family. if i am in a relationship, i spend the day with my partner. otherwise with friends or alone. i speak to my family on the phone.
i don't get depressed at christmas, but it is a time when i am most often reminded of my differences with other people and of the things i am missing in my life this is the time of year when i feel the most out of place, a non christian in a "christian" country, and even more out of place as a non believer in a country of believers. this is when religion is in your face. this is when people say "god bless you" to me more often than any other, and i still have no good response for that. this is when the distance from my family is felt the most. this is when the absence of a love in my life is most palpable.
a lot of people have a problem with the commercialization of christmas. i don't. how can something i don't believe in be profaned? for me christmas is a time when we give to those around us, and when they give to us. sometimes that gift is just a few words of kindness, sometimes it is a token gift, sometimes it is extravagent. it is a time when we make an extra effort to behave the way we should behave year round towards other people. it's also a time when we go out and spend money on stuff for family and friends. there's nothing wrong with that.
i hope that everyone on my list and in my life takes something positive and lasting from this season, be they beiliever or non believer, christian, muslim, jew, buddhist, or hindu.
peace on earth