If you’ve been paying close attention to my writing on here, you probably know that I’m 1.) a Jew, 2.) an atheist, and 3.) distrustful of commercialism in general. (Can someone be a Jewish atheist? That’s a complicated question, but yes.) So it might come as a surprise that I’m really, super duper into celebrating Christmas. I like the lights, the trees, the wreaths, the Pagan undertones and the goofy fucking sweaters. I also like the freedom that it gives me, both creatively and timewise.
Allow me to explain. You see, my people celebrate a thing called “Hanukkah,” which has become something of a poor man’s Christmas due to its relative unimportance in the Jewish calendar and proximity to said commercial extravaganza. I try to get the familial Hanukkah stuff done before actual Christmas week starts, because that buys me the greatest gift of all: free time.
If a non-Christian person plays her cards right, she has at least several days off from work when she can do literally anything she wants. This year I’m taking a musical road trip to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve! (#boastpost) But before I do that, I’m going to celebrate Christmas, dammit, because Christmas is fun. My boyfriend will never stop making fun of me for this, but I love the trappings of Christmas. There’s just something magical about putting a bunch of little lights on a tree, especially when it’s an end of the world tree. What’s an end of the world tree? I’m so glad you asked.
You see, when you don’t care about the True Meaning Of Christmas, you can use this winter holiday as a blank canvas to invent whatever fucked up version of it you like. (Granted, secular goyim can do this, too, so sorry for the misleading title.) This year alone, I have participated in the creation of an End of the World Tree with a Mayan calendar on top of it (my roommate Debbie’s idea); festooned my face with glow-in-the-dark paint and booty bounced to noisy versions of carols by a band whose name does not sound like words while tripping on mushroom chocolates; and just last night, attended my buddies’ first annual Christmas Prom in an ’80s prom dress and clashing Christmas sweater (pictured), where I slow danced to ’90s R&B and ate seasonal spider cookies. I still thank Cthulu each day that I’ve found friends who appreciate the finer things in life as much as I do.
And this weekend, my mom, who nurtured my love of Weird Christmas from a young age, is coming to do Christmas-y things with me, too! In past years, we have gotten Chinese food, watched Baraka, made popcorn garlands for the birds, and eaten Christmas salad, a dish which I will tell you more about on Friday. But we created these traditions and we can destroy them, so who knows what we’ll actually end up doing this time?
I may not have the most relaxing time between now and New Year’s, and I may not do much that is more than tangentially related to the actual Christian holiday. I may not be productive, watch what I eat, or even put on pants. But I’m going to spend some quality time with friends, family, and Quetzalcoatl while doing many of the things that make me happy to be alive. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Photo: Debbie Allen