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No More Christmas

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This time of year is traditionally known as the holidays, and my experience is that we should spend it with our families.  Our culture is descended from traditional nuclear families, Judaeo-Christian religion and binary gender identities, and it’s time we took this day back from those who demand we practice their traditions.

I hate Christmas, but I don’t think there’s anything humbug or Scrooge-like about my hating Christmas the way I do.  I don’t think my heart needs to grow three sizes like the Grinch.

The reason I loathe Christmas so much is that I resent living in a society that assigns you a Christian identity by default, unless you explicitly state otherwise.   Jehovah's Witnesses, who don't celebrate Christmas, are afforded respect out of their own sense of Christian tradition. But non-Christians who don't fit the narrative of conformity are not given the benefit of the doubt.  They are often coerced into recognizing and often celebrating a religious holiday that has no secular equivalent, that they are not given the option of not recognizing.

The “war on Christmas” conspiracy theory is ironic and frightening being that Christianity began in a state of persecution. But today, all efforts to reflect the plurality of religious belief in our public institutions, including atheism and non-belief, is opposed by Christians who resent being told that they can’t impose their religion on others.

In my experience in my family, Christmas has a "copy-of-Mein-Kampf-in-every-home-in-Nazi-Germany" quality to it.  You're expected to put up at least a begrudging recognition of Christmas, in your own personal space, even if you have no love for Christmas at all.  This is invasive.  I don’t identify with the European-American visuals, decorations, music, and Christmas-themed entertainment of Christmas, and I am distressed that our culture has passively integrated retail promotion into daily celebration of something I legitimately don’t want in my life.

Recognition of Christmas is a ubiquitous expectation of everyone, regardless of whether or not you fit the narrative of being a Christian.  In my childhood it felt very suffocating.  Many people are still trapped in a religious bubble where they have no choice but to pretend they are happy being immersed in Christmas when they don’t want to be.

Most of what I dislike about Christmas is not bitter, resentful atheism.  I have said before I am atheist, but I feel that is changing.  My new, tentative theism has nothing to do with Christianity, and I am still pro-abortion, pro-freedom of gender identity and sexual orientation, pro-decriminalization of marijuana and sex work, and pro-recognizing sex work as real work.  Christians have no right to claim me as one of their own.  They have no right to say their beliefs are validated because I have possibly changed my mind.

When I finally had a choice as an adult living on my own, I realized nothing about Christmas appealed to me, regardless of what I wanted to believe.  Here are some examples.

My living space is beautifully decorated all year round.  I do not believe Christmas decorations are particularly pretty.  They would diminish what I surround myself with and I am proud of.  If I want to have a special look to my place for a special occasion, I would not put up a tree or anything particularly associated with Christmas.

I like some parts of some Christmas music like Handel's Messiah, but I expect a lot of beautiful music to come from religious sentiment.  I do not like a single post-industrial Christmas carol, which are almost all about retail promotion.  I consider post-industrial Christmas music to be aesthetically and artistically inferior to non-Christmas music.

I'm a post-20th-century believer in labour laws that respect individuals rather than a privileged class.  There is something wrong with Christmas being a universal holiday on it's own.  It is too specific towards one special group of Christians.  I'd rather see a December statutory holiday that, for example, is the first Monday after December 21.  Christians should not have the right to impose the arbitrarily-set birthdate of Jesus on others.  But currently, this is the privilege they have.  I think it's time we took it away.


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