Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Do you celebrate Christmas as a Religious Holiday?"

We had our soccer team party last night. One of the mothers I've come to really like asked me "Do you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday?". She knows we're fairly secular so I wasn't sure what she was asking.

I said "well, we read the Christmas story each year and I guess the kids know the religious aspects, but we don't really stress it."

She's 7th day adventist and this year they've decided to completely divorce the religious aspect from what is, in all reality, a cultural holiday. She said she just couldn't make it square up anymore. The idea that we're throwing this huge holiday in celebration of a man who was so humble.

And then there's the aspect of "Jesus is the Reason for the Season, now get out of my way so I can get that last " with elbows being thrown.

I've become more and more scrooge like over the last few years. The more I hear about the "War on Christmas" (get a grip people, Happy Holidays has been a song and a movie for YEARS) the more weary I get of the whole thing. Spend, spend, spend.

And then there's the travel. We're expected to travel back to Oklahoma for xmas every year. It's too expensive to fly 4 people to Oklahoma and there's no airport within 1.5 hours of our families' houses, so we'd still need to drive once we got there. So we drive for 12 hours just for a celebration. Forced cheeriness. And I'm miserable the whole time I'm there - I'm cold and my allergies are killing me because everyone is using their fireplaces and woodburning stoves (it's the most affordable and reliable source of heat for people in rural and semi-rural areas).

Of course, traveling does have its benefits. We are forced, by necessity, to restrict the gifts we buy and so are our families. We can only haul so much. The car does allow us to transport more than we would in an airplane, but not much more. My mother tells me every year that I need to buy a minivan or an SUV. I remind her that gas prices are climbing and we couldn't afford the extra gas even if we wanted to waste the extra resources.

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