Despite the myth that there is a “war on Christmas” Christmas seems to be alive and well all around me. in the stores I hear Christmas carols playing over the speakers, manger scenes are around every corner of town, and no matter what I watch on television I am sure to see a Christmas tree and be reminded of the coming season. But what can you do when you do not celebrate Christmas?
Being a pagan during Christmas time often has it’s drawbacks. I never know exactly how to respond when strangers wish me a merry Christmas, or worse when they bring up Jesus. I stutter and stumble through a quick thank you all the while worrying that I am going to offend someone by not responding in the “correct” way. I am torn between putting up a tree and stockings for fun or accepting them as the Christmas traditions they have become. And what day should I open gifts? Especially as a parent I feel nervous this time of year. Trying to raise my children in both our traditions and in the society we live in can be a daunting task. Trying to straddle the line between conformity and faith is stressful work.
What I have figured out so far is that you have to be true to yourself, no matter what. It can be difficult to go against the grain, but if your heart is leading you a certain way you should follow. Go ahead and open gifts on Winter Solstice, put up a tree and cover it with golden suns and spirals, and wish people a merry Yule in response. Don’t worry, most people won’t understand that you do not mean Christmas anyway. If you have children like myself who crave a little normalcy you can always compromise. Save half the gifts for Christmas morning or visit family and open gifts there on Christmas.
Making an effort to fit Pagan beliefs into a Christian world can be tiring, especially during Christmas time. But if you follow your heart and go with what feels right for you you can have a very merry winter season.
Written by Summerm