What even is this time of year?

What even is this time of year?

As I write this it is the 2nd day of Advent, aka 2nd December… one google later Wait, it’s not. Advent started on 27th November. It’s the 6th day of advent. So, Advent Calendars start on the 1st of December and countdown to Christmas. But Advent, the Christian season, starts 4 Sundays before Christmas. I’m owed advent calendar chocolate! My entire understanding of advent comes from chocolate filled advent calendars. Should I better educate myself with a whisky filled advent calendar?

What even is this time of year? It is seemingly the most important time, but why? Are we excitedly looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birthday? Given the recent UK census that showed Christianity to be declining and now a minority group, I wonder if more people celebrate the arrival of the Coke-Cola truck than Jesus. It would not surprise me at all. We are a strange species.

Are we celebrating Christmas simply because “this is the way”? If we’re not a Christian country any more, why are we celebrating Christmas? Why are we going into debt to satisfy the Christmas gods? Why are we eating overcooked dry meat that requires drowning in brown sludge just because it’s traditional? There’s a turkey shortage this year due to avian flu and I feel sorry for the turkeys that have been put in that position just because people have to have turkey at Christmas, just like Jesus did. “It’s not Christmas without turkey!” It’s technically not Christmas, as we don’t know when Jesus was born. Scholar’s best guess is somewhere between 6 and 4 BC. Jesus may have been before 6 years Before Christ. Throws research into the air “Nope. I’m done. Call Phil to finish this piece. The world is stupid.”

Is it not enough to simply share a nice meal, any nice meal, with friends and family? Laugh, cry, eat, judge each other for their “wacky” world views, and fall asleep during something no-one really wanted to watch anyway. Christmas!

I’m honestly surprised Christmas itself hasn’t slowly been rebranded over the years. We now celebrate the month of Black Friday Week. In December, the BT Black Friday advert is still running saying “This Black Friday…” Week ago mate. Jog on. Thanksgiving didn’t migrate from America to Britain. A time when we shouldn’t be thankful for colonialism but instead be thankful for being able to hang out with friends. Why isn’t that a thing? Big meal with your mates before everything gets complex in December? Or do we Brits do that every weekend in December anyway?

Could we rebrand Christmas now it’s no longer a Christian thing? Crispmas brought to you by Pringles. For years now, I’ve been trying to come to terms with this season. Last year I wrote about how I managed to stop my brain being outraged by people putting their lights up in November by seeing them as seasonal winter lights rather than Christmas lights. This year I was surprised to find myself naturally enjoying the winter lighting around town without even thinking about it being a Christmas thing. I had successfully reframed the outrage in my brain to joy. A step further is to reframe all this Christmas outrage I make for myself into something nice instead because I’m probably the only one getting this worked up about what Christmas even is. Most people are getting on with life.

Could Christmas be a celebration of winter? An advent calendar that goes up to 22nd December, the winter solstice, could be enjoyable? A time to celebrate the good aspects of the season. Early morning sunrises. Crisp winter wanders. The way my lap becomes a cat magnet and I can’t use my laptop for 3 months. Clear nights that make it possible to gaze at the stars. Decorating the house for winter, not Christmas, to add a bit of colour and joy to a darker time… which you then leave up all year round because we’re in the darkest timeline or forget about because ADHD. I’d prefer to celebrate being a part of nature, acknowledging its effect on us and our effect on it. The position of the planet in the solar system. The joys of the surrounding environment at this time of year. Those are real events that are worth taking the time to appreciate.

This is how Christmas traditions or Yule started in Europe. They had big feasts because it was better to slaughter the animals before the worst of winter. It was the time when beer was nicely fermented. They celebrated the solstice and the start of longer days. These celebrations made sense. But today we’re stuck celebrating a made up thing by some Pope back in the day as he wanted people to celebrate the birth of Jesus, that guy born 6 years Before Christ, more than they celebrated Roman gods.

This is what I get for being autistic, I guess. No pressies to unwrap. Just thoughts in my head. “Why this? No, but why this? Seriously, why? Why? WHY!?” It’s how my brain works. If something doesn’t make sense, I need to pull it apart and make sense of it. As Christmas is an all-consuming event that you can’t get away from, I have them every year. Two years ago, I evaluated Christmas traditions. A year later, and I considered ways to reframe Christmas traditions. This year, I think I’m ready to start saying I do not celebrate Christmas. I celebrate winter. Just as soon as I figure out what to call the Christmas Tree. Winter decoration holder? Sparkly seasonal cat chew toy? Treecy?

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