Since going to Jordan at the beginning of the year my life has changed in dramatic and wonderful ways. Throughout the year I have happily wished my Muslim friends best wishes at the time of significant religious events like Ramadan and Eid Al-fitr and Eid Al-hada. I did it with ease and felt joy as they appreciated those wishes. I am not Muslim but I don’t have to be to acknowledge what is important to them.
I say this because it is the festive season now. I have never been a fan of Christmas. I wasn’t raised as a church going Christian. But until this year I have never been able to just let people enjoy this time of year, think I was like them and enjoyed it too.
I could say it was because Christmas is too commercialised and it is, but there are people who love the gift giving meaning of Christmas.
I could say that Christmas exists due to of the birth of Christ and because my family don’t celebrate this then there’s no need to participate.
I could say Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25 based on the stories in the Bible because it’s winter in the Northern hemisphere so it’s a lie and I don’t want to participate in the lie.
I could say December 25 was picked to convert Pagans to Christianity and so it’s just a tool of manipulation from centuries ago. And it probably was.
The thing is none of this matters because I love living in a pluralist and multicultural society. I like letting everyone be who they are, providing of course it causes no harm to anyone.
This year I decided to not say the words ‘I don’t like Christmas’ and to just let it be whatever it is for all those people who it has meaning for. Just because I’m a white Anglo-Saxon woman living in a first world western society it doesn’t mean my perception has to be projected on to anyone else. At the same time, just because others are in their expression of beliefs it doesn’t mean I’m the same as them. I decided to let everyone just be.
In doing so I peeled off the layers of my own negativity about Christmas to accept that I’m not that little girl anymore who was disappointed every year that Santa never brought her what she wanted. Since getting my first job at 15 I have purchased presents for myself so I would have something I wanted. I didn’t bother this year. That story is in my past. And an amazing thing happened. I actually got exactly what I asked for – a TV aerial.
I actually like to be alone on Christmas Day, for at least part of it. It’s a time of reflection and gratitude for me and that needs peace and quiet and aloneness. By the time family and friends arrived I was relaxed and open to enjoying the company of others.
This was a very different festive season for me and I enjoyed it. It was the first time I let in an acceptance of Christmas that was not coloured by my child’s disappointment. I look forward to more.
Merry Christmas everyone.