Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Moment on Christmas from the Lost Laboratory

Hiho, the Mad Scientist here.

Let's talk about Christmas.

Let's talk about Christmas as a pagan in America. I know you've heard a lot about this, but I'm fairly certain you haven't heard my thoughts, or anything like it for that matter.

Here we go.

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday. For those of you joining this program already in progress, Pagans celebrate yule. I'm not supposed to celebrate Christmas. I am an avid member of the "War on Christmas", or so I'm told as I haul out the three giant tubs of decorations. But I love the holiday with all my little black heart.

My family is ridiculously drama-filled. There were entire years Paw didn't talk to the rest of the family. Without splaying my family drama all over the internet, let's say the rest of the year was...stressful. But my mom did one thing for me I will never blame her for. We had umpteen million boxes of Christmas stuff. We decorated like we were COMMITTED to the idea that Santa was going to see us from the North Pole. Dad got her a revolving Christmas Tree stand because she hated the idea that some of the ornaments would face the wall, and she'd sit there decorating while it spun with it's 10000 lights and just find a branch. I have no idea how she did it. I have one 20 gallon box and my tree already looks full. She had three.

But it wasn't the decorations. It was the stories. We had ornaments and decorations from 4
generations of our family, and I heard the stories every year of where each one was from, or who bought it, or some story about the family member who it was bought for. She'd put on the record player (yes, with the spinning and the needle) and listen to old Christmas albums and have Dad make a fire. He was the one who always insisted on the Spiced Cider in the crock pot. Christmas was a time for me when the rest of the year fell away. The whole family would come together, and the presents would pile halfway up the tree, and nobody had a bad word to say to
anyone else. Nanny would spend half the day tasting the dressing to make sure it had enough sage, and Paw made the best fudge while the cousins sat in a corner and gossipped with each other. Nanny would sit in her favorite chair, wearing a brilliant silk mumu (because on my Nanny, it looked like a queenly robe), and her legs all twisted up under her so she could hold court. My mom would always refuse to open her presents until last because once they were opened she felt like it was over, and she'd always laugh and bat at her brother when he gave her heck for it. It was a safe sanctuary, teaching me what the concept of a "sacred time and place" were.

Now, as an adult and a pagan, I get reminded every year how Christmas isn't my holiday. How I'm supposed to remember how consumerist it is. How Christians hijacked my holiday and how depressed it makes everyone. How stressed this holiday makes people, and how I should simplify and not bother. And I've finally had enough.

Tradition can be defined as "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs,information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." Christmas is my tradition. It meant a sacred time and place where the family came together and shared a roaring fire, and gifts, and love. I may no longer celebrate the birth of Christ, but since it didn't happen in December anyway, it doesn't really matter. It's a cornucopia of my traditions all bundled together - the tree, the yule log, St. Nick. This is OUR HOLIDAY, pagans. So they gave it a different name. We appropriate things all the time in society. And I want to share that idea of something sacred, and loving, and perfect with my family now that I have one. Taking time out of the year to say, "Okay. That sucked. But we're all still here, and we love each other, and we're going to be okay."

Stop the "War on Christmas". Take it back. It was ours, and we need to stop running from reclaiming it. Have Yule. Have Christmas. Have it for our reasons. Take it back.

Just some Christmas thoughts.

I'll be in tow!

Gabriel Belthir
First Mate and Mad Scientist

p.s. On the subject of Christmas decorations, let's start a movement for the embrace of artificial Christmas trees, people. It's representative decorating, because let's be honest. It's not the pagan way to celebrate a holiday by watching a plant slowly dying in your living room. Seems a little contrary, no? So save a tree. Buy an artificial one.

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