PHEW!!!! I have a love/ hate relationship with the holiday season. After i left christianity, the point of celebrating jesus' birth was a bit lost. When, years later, i came to embrace jesus as a great teacher, one of whose ideals were something i embraced myself- love, compassion, joy- i still had a road block to embracing the holiday fully- because Jesus was born in the SPRING!!!! lol
My pagan (and I use that word in the expansive sense) leanings draw me to celebrate Solstice- and so our immediate family (Wes, Kathrynn and I) embrace that as a center point of our holiday festivities. We talk a lot about Solstice around our house, and have a Solstice celebration every year. :)
It gets sticky when we join other family members..... some of whom celebrate christmas out of habit/tradition (ie, not out of religious conviction), and some of whom celebrate christmas as a religious event. Because i love jesus as a teacher, I can connect to the love of christmas by christians. I try to mentally over look that his birthday was not in the Winter. *Grin* And i focus on the child hood traditions that I loved, and still love!- santa, stockings, lots of yummy food, family together time. Those are the things that we love the most about "christmas." I try to down play the gifts, because in our immediate family we don't "save" up gifts for one or two days a year. We treat ourselves to what we want, as we can afford it- that brings the most joy into our lives. We do exchange a few gifts for Solstice, and Santa does bring some nice treats on christmas morning. And we do a modest family gift exchange christmas eve....... Its a balancing act that i am trying to figure out still.....
But HERE is where it gets REALLY tricky.....
Kathrynns' birthday is...... wait for it...... on DECEMBER 25TH!!!!!!!
If it was just our immediate family, i'd forgot most of "christmas" altogether- it would be a mostly secular holiday (with this odd side note of paying tribute to a person that was not really born in the winter but people *pretend* he was for the sake of ......... whoops sorry, i'm heading off track here....). We'd continue to have a Solstice celebration.... we'd continue to have stockings on the morning of December 25th. But that would pretty much be it. Because, for Wes, Kathrynn, and myself, December 25th is a day to celebrate KATHRYNN!!!! It is HER *real* birthday. :)
After Kathrynn's birth, my mom was so wonderful- she really tried to work with my efforts to keep the 25th "Kathrynn's day". She altered her life long tradition of "no presents until christmas morning". So now we have adopted that into our tradition- and we open any remaining christmas gifts from the family on christmas eve. :)
So for me, the holidays have really evolved over the years....... and i'm still settling with how to create our (wes, kathrynn and myself) family traditions, with the traditions of both sides of the extended families. We love to see our extended families, so we don't want to just keep it the three of us. And yet we have our traditions that are important for us. And other family members have theirs......
Again, its a balancing act.
This year we'll be having our usual Solstice celebration..... I'm so excited to share this celebration with our small family, and also with our friends who also celebrate the wonderment and joy of Solstice. And then we'll visit Wes' family, where we'll open christmas presents on christmas eve, have stockings on christmas day, and have a wonderful birthday celebration for Kathrynn on December 25th.
And when we get back home, we'll have a birthday party with kathrynn's friends...... and then another birthday party with my family........ PHEW!!!! I'm starting to really LOVE the holidays....... Sort of ... ;)
Thanks to Ren at http://familyrun.ning.com/ for encouraging me to blog about the holidays!! :)