I really don't like Christmas. I first began to dislike it when my parents separated and it just didn't feel the same anymore. After that, my blossoming social conscious simply couldn't deal with the fact that some people were lonely on Christmas, many families had fights at Christmas lunch, children in Africa were starving while we gorged ourselves and presents seemed to be the major - and only - focus.
Let me say right at the outset that I'm not Christian but I have enormous respect for all religions. For that reason, the focus on Christmas presents and overeating and drinking really bothers me. Isn't Christmas meant to be for Christians worldwide to celebrate the birth of Jesus? It sits uneasily with me that it's become so commercialised. I'm not against the giving of gifts, I think it's a lovely idea; I'm against it being the only focus of Christmas.
I know people who say that they really like Christmas because they get to spend time with the people they love and cherish. I've slowly come around to that idea. Over the years our Christmas days have morphed and changed. After my parents' separation my mother, sister and I began to celebrate the day with a brunch my father and then a trip to the beach. Later, I met my husband and his family not only invited me to spend every Christmas with them but also included my mother and sister. These days, my sister and I make sure we have lunch together at one of our houses. The day begins with a brunch with dear friends. We all exchange gifts but the day is really about friendship and fellowship. It's always relaxing and a lot of fun. Yes, we do eat and drink too much while there are people starving overseas and lonely people and broken families, and that all sits uneasily with me. However, these days I tend to look at it in terms of counting my blessings and being grateful for the family, friendship and food, knowing that other people lack those blessings.
Maybe one day when all the children in the family are grown we can agree to give what we would have spent on gifts for each other to help people who lack those blessings. I think then I'll actually be able to say that I like Christmas. Until then, although I like the day itself, I don't like what surrounds it.