My wife is putting up the christmas tree right now. This is in violation of rule #223 of our relationship, “No christmas decoration will be introduced into the house until after my birthday so as not to take away from said birthday.” (November 26th people, send cash) But I’m happy, I’m looking forward to christmas this year, one of my best friends, who also happens to be my brother-in-law, is coming up from Florida to celebrate it with us. Plus we bought everyone really nice stuff.
Christmas last year was a weird time for me, I was introduced to skepticism in November of 2006 and was really confused about what were the right things to do or say around the holidays as a skeptic. Do I celebrate it? Do I wish people a merry christmas? Do I use “christmas” or “xmas”? Do I put up a tree? Decorations? Do I stand in the “have your picture taken with Santa” line at the mall explaining why Santa Claus is not possible to every child?
So needless to say christmas last year was akward, I wanted to be a good little skeptic, but it seemed to clash with the joy that I (and most of us) feel around this time of year. Merry Christmas was replaced with Happy Holidays, I didn’t help with decorating (something I go WAY overboard with every year), and I dropped some major hints to my niece and nephew about the reality of Santa.
I explained to my sister, a devout catholic, why Jesus was probably not born on December 25th, and how it is likely that the date was chosen by Pope Julius I in around 350 AD to make it easier for pagan Romans to convert to Christianity.
I went around saying Happy Holidays to everyone and told my wife she should do the same. I told her that the word Christmas is derived from the Old English “Christes Masse”, which means Christ’s mass. And that, as non-religious people, we shouldn’t be using terms like that.
I also asked my niece and nephew how they thought it was possible that one man could deliver gifts to the millions of children all around the world in a one day period. They kind of got me with magic and timezones. Awesome answers. But… well that’s when I got the look from my sister and I stopped.
So as you can see, christmas last year was kind of different. It’s almost like skepticism sucked the joy out of it for me and those around me. That’s how I felt for a while. It just wasn’t the same. But I’m to blame, not skepticism. These are all things I already knew, I just let it get out of hand and became a fundamentalist skeptic. If that term is even possible.
I’d like to think that I grew as a skeptic this year. I realized that I don’t have to let it put a damper the holidays for me or anyone around me. I’ve never let it before last year, so why now? I’ll enjoy what christmas brings, being together with family and friends, the kid’s faces when they see the gifts we bought them, my novelty christmas stocking that I could fit myself in.
So I’m going upstairs now to put the star on top of the tree and finish up phase one of my holiday decorations. I know it’s kind of early for a christmas post, but I’m feeling the holiday cheer. Might be the egg nog. I’ll leave you all with words I haven’t said in a while. Merry christmas everyone.