I kinda wanted to talk about Christmas because that’s what I wrote my final essay on in English, and I still have more to say.

I have a hard time celebrating Christmas in the Christian mindset.  In the first place, my feelings on Christianity are fairly mixed.  I never really bought into any of the biblical stories and while Jesus seems like he might have been a cool dude, there are a lot of really loud people who claim he (by he I mean Jesus or God or whatever) wants some of my friends to burn in hell forever.  Not for what they do or how they treat other people, but the very essence of who they are.  So, like I said, mixed feelings.

But Christmas has never really been a Christian holiday for me.  I wasn’t raised to be terribly religious, and this may be part of it.  Religion never took in me even when I tried, and that may be part of it.  But the whole Christmas story- while neat, and full of pathos- couldn’t match the miracle that Christmas always encompassed for me.  Seeing people you don’t normally get to see, spending time with people you love.  We always used to drive up to my Grandmother’s house in Oklahoma (we lived in Texas) for Christmas.

There were stockings and cousins, Zwieback rolls and that green jello stuff everyone loves, chocolate chip cookies with and without nuts.  With nuts was for everyone else, without nuts were for me and the cousin closest in age to me.  (I like pecans, but not in my damn cookies, thank you.)  Brownies my uncle made, turkey and ham and mashed potatoes.

Presents, a hand made dress from my grandmother.  My favorite Christmas present ever was a book shelf from my Grandpa, it’s still one of my most prized possessions.  And the usual Barbies, my uncle (who made brownies) always got us book gift cards.  Being a young book worm, that was always cool.

Christmas is about spending time with people I love.  I try to see everyone on the day, which is kind of a pain but worth it.  I try to make things for my friends- crochet them by hand.  For me, time is the most precious thing you can spend on someone.  Money sort of comes and goes (when you have it, it can flow like water. When you don’t most people understand.)  But the time spent means it’s time you took to think of them, the time they know they occupied their mind.  It’s generally homey and probably a little cheesy, but sometimes I think it’s also best (besides, who doesn’t want a star-shaped afghan? that’s what I thought).

I love my family, I should see my aging Grandma more often.  (My beloved Grandpa of the Awesome Bookshelf is 14 years dead and that is trippy, my friend.)  I should see my aunts and my parents and everyone more often, and Christmas is one of the two or three days a year I see the Uncle of the Book Card Gifts (and Brownies).

Your mileage may vary.  I know a lot of people have family trouble, a lot of people rely on the Christian meaning, and so forth.  For me, though, it’s a holiday to remind me that I love these people, and they love me.  That we spend time thinking about one another and that it’s always good to see one another.

Am I generalizing?  Being optimistic?  Hell yeah.  But I try not to let anything drag me down on Christmas.  There’s all the rest of the year for that malarkey.