Reason for the Season." I am grateful for the research that went into that piece and it is an incredibly well written offering on the topic. I'm not here to argue for or against it in anyway, I just wanted to say that I don't really care what someone celebrates this time of year, I am willing to wish that they have a good one in any case.
I believe that the winter holidays were created essentially to keep people from killing themselves when the world was dead around them. I have a couple of friends who suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder and I don't think it hurts to have something to celebrate. Sure, the self- or society-imposed stress when it comes to the holidays doesn't help the situation, but if we really look at it as a reason to be with friends and family and honor the changing of the seasons or the birth of the Son or the return of the Sun, it is simply a beautiful time of year.
My holiday officially begins on December 21st. My partner, Matt, and I celebrate the solstice. We started this tradition several years ago mostly for practical reasons. We travel during the holidays and we learned after the first year that it made no sense what so ever to haul our presents from Georgia to Michigan and the back again. The Solstice was a convenient time to celebrate for ourselves because it is usually before we leave for Detroit and also it is a day that is meaningful to me as a devotee of Persephone, the goddess of the changing seasons. Our home is already decorated with our tree and lights and other assorted holiday items. The entire spirit of the season is festive and pleasing to me. I always feel a sense of wonder this time of year.
After our Solstice celebration this year, we leave the next day to travel to Michigan to be with our families for Christmas. Both of our families still celebrate the christian holiday and frankly, I just don't want to miss out on being able to celebrate with them. For me it is not at all about the Christ the Savior(as my savior, after a fashion, is Persephone Soteira) but about going to Matt's cousin's house for dessert and white elephant gift exchange, or out to dinner with my best friend, or making a gingerbread house with my sister and the youngest member of the family. It is, simply, about celebrating life even while the earth herself sleeps waiting for spring.