I love Christmas. It is amazing in a million ways. In my 4 decades on the planet Christmas has been awesome. It was a time of the year most likely for getting to see all my favorite people that I did not normally get to see. People make a huge effort to be generous and the best versions of themselves around Christmas. The whole country celebrates it and it is exciting. It has its own genre of movies and music. It is a BIG deal.
One of my absolute favorite things about the Christmas season is the time is celebrated globally. Not with the Santa and folklore of Christmas but with a variety of different customs and imagery. Traditions unique in many ways, but also a remarkable amount of similarities. For the northern hemisphere it is the end of winter, and time to get ready for the yearly cycle to repeat. I guess any transition could be celebrated, especially if that transition of season has more significance to a particular people. The shortest day of the year is a pretty universal starting point in many cultures annual cycle. How great is it that so many cultures celebrate this one particular point of the year so intensely? I think it is one of my favorite things about being an Earthling.
Honestly I am even a fan of expanding the range of ways that we celebrate the season. Nothing wrong with upping the game. One of my favorite things about my family is if we do something we have not done before and we like it, we will immediately declare it a tradition. Vocally. The moment someone voices the recognition of enjoyment it is a done deal and will be a Christmas tradition until we find a suitable improvement. Games, dishes, movies, songs. Everything is fair game. I see this the more I indulge curiosity into other peoples celebrations.
The wondrous variety around the world but consistency where it counts. Celebrations of family. Celebrations of life and the things we admire most like generosity, community, and new beginnings. Oh yeah! I didn’t forget about ya New Years! Fireworks and countdowns and then lets do it again. A worthy celebration to launch into a new year of possibility.
There are more than 25 different variations of end of year celebrations that I found with a single internet search. Representing many cultures and religions and even just some general beliefs. I recently learned of one called HumanLight. A Humanist holiday listing its focus of celebration as:
I see no problem here. It even lists its date as “on or around Dec 23rd” just to be as little a pain in the ass as possible. I am of the belief that the reasoning behind a celebration of the previously listed principles is less important than the act of celebrating. I do not care why. I care that! That as many people as possible are trying to make kindness and empathy louder. Celebrating family, community, and everything that is the best of us.
I even love the fact that culture is merging certain holidays. What do you do when people from two different cultures marry? One example is Chrismukkah. Feast your eyes here. https://www.etsy.com/market/chrismukkah. My life is brighter knowing that a YamaClaus is a thing.
I am actually pretty excited to think of a time where they all just keep blending together. Where the essence of each is maintained but the entire world does some global version of an exchange student program but we all just share our traditions with one another and use it as a time to come together on the scale that really matters. All of us!
I will always say Merry Christmas when celebrating Christmas but I leaned before Kindergarten that everything is better when its shared. That is why the more I think about it, the more I find myself using Happy Holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!!