Apparently today is Christmas, or so I have been informed by at least 30 people in last hour that this is true. That's all well and good, I rather like Christmas so that makes today fairly exciting. Not as exciting as it used to be as a child, of course, but there's still a fair amount of competition for emotional jubilance. And inevitably, a vast plethora of people are opining the joys and wonders of Christmas; brow-beating and hassling everyone they meet with the spectacular nature of the holiday, and regaling unwilling participants with their laundry list of asinine, over-priced, needless, thankless presents.
As a child, I must admit that my desire and longing for Christmas was purely selfish. I greatly desired to garner as many presents from Santa, mother and father, and anyone else who wanted to buy my love. And why not? The concept is fantastic when you're young -- if people love me, they will give me shit. And Santa, that mythical, magical creature of ambivolence and omniscience, well that fat bastard was a burglar but at least he was the good kind who left things for you instead of taking everything. Bigger was better as a child, as I needed to be kept occupied for the entire day lest I drive my parents bananas with my hyperactivity and endless questioning. Christmas was the shit as a child.
I think that's the way it is for most children, though. The idea of Christmas is directly related to this notion that love equals presents. This is completely weird, and it often strikes me as hilarious that this theme is strongest in the Bible belt. Oh, did I forget to mention, I grew up in the Bible belt? Well, now you know...(and knowledge is power!) No matter how well parents raise their children, regardless of religious preference, I have always found it particularly interesting that children of the Bible-thumping culture tend to be the most greedy. Isn't that one of the deadly sins, greed? I'm not sure where I was going with that thought, it just kinda popped up...weird.
Anyway, I like Christmas but I have always had some fundamental problems with the notion that a magic baby popped out and all these sheep herders came to give him a copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a brick of gold, and a grandpa named Murray. I can't say that I'm religious because despite my upbringing in a staunch Christian home, I have had this problem with being cursed with a free-thinking mind. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say I'm atheist or even agnositic, I just have a desire for relationship rather than dogmatic innoculation. And because of this, I have often questioned everything, especially as it relates to religious matters. For instance, why the big to-do over Christmas when the idea of a celebration for this Jesus fellow is based on ancient Paganism? I won't delve into the details because that would make this a far longer post than it already should be, but my research and that of others has shown that the "Christian" holiday of Christmas is an adaptive Pagan ritual designed to sucker Pagans into conversion.
Back to me -- the best thing about Christmas, to me, is that I get to really reconnect with my family. Granted we have always been close, but just getting to spend uninterrupted time with them over the holiday harkens back to the childhood days when we all lived together. I like that. And of course, I love my own personal tradition of watching "A Christmas Story" on TBS for 24 hours. I have an unnatural connection to "A Christmas Story", possibly because it came out the year I was born, or because Ralphie looks identical to myself as a child. I don't actually know the reason, but I've always been drawn to it and I love it. This has grown to be far too long. I suppose to sum up my Christmas feelings, I should refer you to one of my favorite songs by the wonderful Tim Minchin ---> White Wine in the Sun