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Emo Squid
sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Thu 8th Nov '07 11:34AM
624 Posts
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Member Since
23rd Feb '07
Ok, dubious title for a thread about Christmas (herein referred to as 'it'), but it makes sense in my head. I used to love it, I happily wished away the last two months of each consecutive childhood year in anticipation of it and I even celebrated the true meaning of it for a while. As I've got older, I've come to hate it. Why?
I'm an open-minded sort (I think) and find religion to be one of the most fascinating aspects of human existance; I love my family & friends more than anything else in the world and I really enjoy buying/making/finding gifts for people. I'm even a really big fan of winter - I actually prefer it to summer! So where does it all fall down for me? Not that religion, family, gifts and snow are the only things I associate with it you understand, we must not forget mince pies, satsumas and excessive gluttony.

I'd really like to opt out of it but feel like I can't. I'm not Hindu, so I don't celebrate Diwali or Holi; I'm not Muslim, so I don't celebrate Eid (most of the time); I'm not Jewish, but I do celebrate Hanukkah a bit because I have Jewish friends and they celebrate it for what it is and I'm, err, down with that. So, maybe it's not 'it' I hate, but what it has become in this country. Maybe it would be different if I had some close friends who are practicing christians.
If turned around to my family (patrilinearly RC and matrilinearly CofE) and said 'I'm staying at home this year and in future because I'm not celebrating it anymore', I'd have all manner of Dickensian lambasting to contend with before inevitable, yet reluctant acceptance.
In reality, it's not likely to happen for reasons I've already stated. However, it is the obligation factor that really grinds my gears (thank you Peter Griffin). It's just not fair. There are many people who genuinely do not want to participate in the festivities what so ever, whatever their reasons, I believe we should accept that. It's not miserable or humbug or even - as I once heard - heathen.

Last year, my brother and I spent it with my dad a change - the first time in nearly 20 years. There were children in the house and I kind of rejoyced by proxy in their excitement. The 4 hour, chocolate fuelled Monopoly session on it-eve was supurb and for the first time in long time I went to bed with butterflies and got up at 6am with everybody else. Perhaps this is a very contrived way of nature telling me to have children.

I'm really interested to find out what you fellow TDDOrgers think about 'it'.

Diziet
optical moose
Thu 8th Nov '07 11:37AM
2522 Posts
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20th Jul '05
if you had kids you'd love it.

thats all i can say really.

Clara
Even red onions have a silver lining
Thu 8th Nov '07 12:41PM
838 Posts
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27th Sep '04
Hmmm, not sure how much I can contribute here as I am a practising Catholic and the highlight of my Christmas is midnight mass and carols. It's the best feeling I have all year and I really look forward to it.
 

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Thu 8th Nov '07 1:43PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I'm a died in the wool Atheist from an Atheist family I don't have any children and my family aren't remotely close to each other, but I still quite enjoy Christmas.

I do adhere to the strict rule of ignoring anything to do with Christmas before December (This excepted) and of opting out of anything I don't feel like. I also enjoy it more because I usually spend it with the missus family who are a bit more Christmas oriented than mine.

As regards religious stuff. There has been a big festival at this time of year since before there has been Christianity and my belief is that Christmas owes its existence primarily to the fact that it's winter and so it is a bit cold and depressing and it gets dark early and the flowers aren't out and so you might as well have have a big party, catch up with people you haven't seen for a while and make sure your family know you love them.
My evidence is that winter has: Halloween, Guy Fawkes, Christmas and New Years and summer doesn't because summer is great even without special days.

Saying all that I'm a big believer that if you want to opt out that should be your prerogative. I'm always surprised by how many people spend money and time they don't have towards a day aren't looking forward to and end up on the verge of a nervous breakdown for no good reason.
I can see how it happens though because the commercial world seem to have latched onto a twisted version of Dickens to make you feel like you are somehow a bad and uncharitable person if you don't end December with maxed out store cards and the bailiffs knocking at your door.
    

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Thu 8th Nov '07 1:50PM
505 Posts
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5th Jan '07


Clara was bold enough to comment:
the highlight of my Christmas is midnight mass and carols. It's the best feeling I have all year and I really look forward to it.



Me too! All I'd add is that going through a traditional advent season of preparation adds to this, partly in terms of delayed satisfaction but partly on a deeper level for me at least. (Advent is traditionally a complementary opposite to Christmas, like Lent with Easter. This is an ecclesiastical way of saying don't start the party too early )



Emo Squid was bold enough to comment:
However, it is the obligation factor that really grinds my gears



I also agree with that. I think the omnipresent and obligatory aspect of Christmas festivities (that happens during Advent mostly ... ) is something that grinds the gears of anyone with any sort of belief system to be honest. It's something that's always said, and not wishing to be bleak but probably failing, but it can also make the whole period a difficult (or indeed fucking awful) time for anyone who is on their own, bereaved or otherwise struggling with life. I sometimes wonder if the big JC wouldn't be opting out of his Offical Birthday too and seeing to the loners and outcasts to be honest.

Anyway, overall I love Christmas but in a snooty traditionalist sort of way

EDIT: cross posted with General
 

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Thu 8th Nov '07 2:04PM
4597 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I think that the magic definitely dies down as you get older, speaking from a non-religious point of view. To me it becomes more about being the one time of the year when everyone in the family can pretty much guarantee getting a chunk of time off work and we choose to spend it together. Nothing particularly magical or that would keep me up on Crimbo eve just nice quiet family time.
In my experience it's only ever really compromised by the stresses of expectations that are often piled upon it. My mum (and Demian and Malcolm's) seems to get more and more stressed by the responsibility of having us all there for a few days, making the big Crimbo dinner etc and no matter how much we try to help it's very easy for that stress to rub off on us.
I figure the best way to do the festive season is just to enjoy it for what it is - a great time to get together with family, show some affection and eat some good food. Stresses, responsibilities and expectations should be left at the door
    

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Sat 10th Nov '07 2:26PM
2708 Posts
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25th Aug '04
I think the main problem with it is the obligation of it all. You're supposed to have this wonderful happy time, and it's supposed to be amazing and often it's not.

I have pretty much the same response to New Year's Eve...

Anyway, if there are children there then it becomes something fun again, simply because they enjoy it. As you say their enthusiasm rubs off on you. Otherwise, well I think there can be this obligation to do fun activities that everyone can join in on. Which of course means that you HAVE to join in.

I wouldn't worry about it too much. A few years ago I realised that what I really enjoyed about it was having a chance to stop and relax with family. I think my mum realised this about the same time as well, because she stopped getting so stressed about the big family meal - last year we went to a restaurant cause it was easier!

So concentrate on the things you enjoy doing, ignore the things you don't and let everyone else do the same. It's the easiest and most enjoyable thing to do!
   

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