Religious holidays are tricky these days. Gone are the days (at least everywhere I’ve lived, sadly not everywhere) when a country had a fixed religion and you could be put to death for admitting to not following it. In San Francisco there are people of all faiths and none and it’s become taboo across most of the US to wish someone a happy Christmas for fear of offending someone of a different religion.
My own celebration of Christmas is purely traditional but those traditions are so deeply rooted and wonderful so there is little chance of change. Personally I would love to celebrate the solstice instead, it’s something I feel a much stronger connection to. After all, for someone who loves the sunshine as much as I do, it seems very logical to celebrate the turning point in the yearly cycle, which heralds the lengthening of days and the return of summer. I see no reason why all the best Christmas traditions – decorating the house, eating a traditional meal, and exchanging gifts – couldn’t easily be applied to the solstice instead. However going against the grain in society is difficult, particularly when the incentive isn’t strong. I have to take into account the traditions of my family and friends and the country in which I live. 4 days may not seem like much but the 25th is a holiday and the 21st is not and I have to admit it feels a little weird to be deliberately different for no strong reason. It’s not like everyone I know is deeply religious and genuinely celebrating the birth of Christ, they’re mostly in the same boat as me. But it also feels a little weird to celebrate a holiday that’s based around a belief I don’t share.
Either way, for this year I’m still firmly entrenched in the traditions of my childhood so I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces of Christmas in my home, aside from the cooking which you’ve already seen much of! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow.