We all know this, don’t we?
Many years ago when my lack of faith began to have a name, understood but never spoken, I began rejecting many of the mindless rituals that continued year after year.
The cookie exchange that kept everyone up late the night before, only to be greeted with the moans of their recipients in mourning of the impending damage to their waistline? Gone.
The secret-Santa exchanges where everyone essentially exchanges a $20 gift card? Gone.
Telling your significant other what you want, only to be irritated while waiting to see if they purchased it for you when you could have just bought it for yourself? Gone.
The work potlucks where everyone forgets and brings cookies and chips? Gone.
The awkward shopping for boring older relatives to find that perfect thoughtless gift? Gone. Seriously, tell them you’re not exchanging gifts, they’ll secretly be relieved.
Taking your family to volunteer at the soup kitchen to show them how fortunate they are while simultaneously putting the homeless on unwitting display? Gone.
Most significant of all? Church, gone.
When you remove the rigid ritual, you are free to celebrate (or not) in any way you wish. This year I bought a wacky sweater, demanded that recipients opened gifts at whatever interval I pleased rather than waiting for Christmas morning. I spent more on a gift for a toy drive than I did for the children in my life (they don’t know!). I took a day off work to read (Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality and Letters to a Young Contrarian). I cooked with my friends foods that we all like, drank too much, and ate pizza for Christmas Eve dinner.
And it all felt so, so good. I can’t wait to do it al again left year. Or not, we’ll see how I feel.