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Author Topic: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?  (Read 861 times)

PerditaPickle

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Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« on: January 03, 2021, 07:27:36 am »
Been meaning to start this thread for a while, but just now getting around to it.

Over the past month or so I've seen quite a few mentions of Christmas here and there on the forum & on the chat.  It seems as though a few of you, like me, celebrate Christmas as well as Yule, or the winter solstice (or Saturnalia, or whatever).  And it got me wondering, does anyone feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?  Because Christmas can be celebrated openly, whereas it might not be possible for all of us to celebrate Yule or the December solstice openly?

I actually don't feel any real resentment myself, which I think is due to the high level of nostalgia which is attached to Christmas from my childhood.  But this year (as mentioned elseforum) I had a Yule tree in my living room instead of a Christmas tree -- and I had a mild moment of concern when I thought family were about to ask me to show the tree during a Zoom video chat!  (I'd described it to my Mum verbally on the phone, though without going into the significance of it, but I feel sure my brother would have had something to say about it and potentially would have mentally leapt to 'cults').  I realised I didn't really wish to have that conversation just then, and it could have provoked a level of resentment.  (Though as it was, I was just relieved that they didn't go ahead and ask me to show off my 2020 tree.)

So I wondered whether anyone else feels any resentment (if comfortable sharing), or perhaps you just wish it were possible to be more open about your December festival(s)?  Or, are you completely open about your celebrations?  Please feel free to share whatever you're comfortable with.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2021, 12:42:36 pm »


So I wondered whether anyone else feels any resentment (if comfortable sharing), or perhaps you just wish it were possible to be more open about your December festival(s)?  Or, are you completely open about your celebrations?  Please feel free to share whatever you're comfortable with.

I'm kind of like you, there is a lot of nostalgia for me with Christmas, it was always one of my favorite holidays of the year...because it was a whole process.  We had to get the tree, decorate everything, put up nativities, do the advent readings, pick gifts for people.  My family wasn't overly religious, they just liked Christmas.

My husband (and our now grown and off on his own son) are both atheist, but we did Christmas, or Santamas as I sometimes think about it.  We don't do a tree because of cats, but I put up garlands, we do stockings and presents, we typically have a nice meal, snacky foods, and do something together as a family (watch a movie, play a game, something).  So Christmas still lives in my house.

But I also do Yule with my Pagan friends.  And I do find myself sometimes stumbling over whether to call something Christmas or Yule.  For me, it's a matter of habit.  I am pretty well open about everything, and the people I really care about don't care that I might celebrate Yule instead of (or in addition to) Christmas.  I don't really get confrontational with people in public (I live in the bible belt), or online (I am Facebook friends with several devout Christians, and many family members who are very loud Christians lol).  No one has ever come at me personally, so I just kind of ignore any "share if you agree Jesus is the reason for the season!!!!" posts.

I don't tend to get resentful.  If anything I would say I get wistful.  In my ideal world, people of all faiths should be able to celebrate and practice the way they want, and the discourse between them should be one of interest, not of replacement.  It makes me sad, rather than bitter, that people can't let other people (including me) be happy doing what we are doing.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2021, 12:59:28 pm »
And it got me wondering, does anyone feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?  Because Christmas can be celebrated openly, whereas it might not be possible for all of us to celebrate Yule or the December solstice openly?

When I resent Christmas, it has less to do with jealousy than with frustration at its cultural primacy.

I grew up Jewish in an interfaith family, so I did actually celebrate Christmas for a few years when I was very young before we decided to focus exclusively on Hanukkah, and that was fine and fun. I get why people love it.

But these days I've been working retail for three Christmas seasons now, and that does a lot more than my pagan leanings to make me resent the holiday. It's easy to see how the commercialization of the day drives harm when your entire mental health takes a nosedive in December because of the stress.

Even during a pandemic, my workplace put out Christmas decor and merchandise the second week of October, and by the second week of December the lines were nonstop. It was absurdly stressful and frankly unnecessary--most of what people were buying was nonsense little stocking stuffers like chocolates/candy and gag gifts, not lovingly-selected individual gifts tailored to family members' and friends' likes.

My irritation with Christmas has less to do with my Judaism and/or paganism and more to do with seeing the way the positive meanings of the holiday have been cheapened and muddled by capitalist commodification of the holiday.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2021, 01:20:28 pm »
My irritation with Christmas has less to do with my Judaism and/or paganism and more to do with seeing the way the positive meanings of the holiday have been cheapened and muddled by capitalist commodification of the holiday.

This, pretty much.  To my way of thinking, it's just a basic human need to have some kind of joyful celebration in mid-winter to shake off the inevitable seasonal depression, and it makes little difference what the name is, though of course it's sad and frustrating when people want to push whatever deity they attach to the celebration at the expense of others.  But it's also handled appallingly badly by modern secular culture as well, turning into something unhealthily competitive and obsessively conformist that too often drains instead of healing.

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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2021, 02:44:16 pm »
So I wondered whether anyone else feels any resentment (if comfortable sharing), or perhaps you just wish it were possible to be more open about your December festival(s)?  Or, are you completely open about your celebrations?  Please feel free to share whatever you're comfortable with.

I don't feel any resentment but then I don't really have any seasonal rituals I specifically do, religious wise ( If it makes any sense, for me, it's the state of mind I do what I do in ).

My family was never big on religion but celebrated it as a time to enjoy as a family, so I like to do the same with my loved ones.
I have to admit that I tend to avoid Christmas movies that are overly zealous in a Christian way and I find sorting presents for my uncles ( who always send the same items every year - 1 aftershave I don't use, 1 top I don't wear etc ) to be a depressing task as the personal items I've given have gone down like lead balloons but I feel awful if I just give something standardised. At the same time I love cooking for my gf and her children and sharing gifts with them, and I enjoy watching Christmas movies with similar sentiments of coming together.

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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2021, 04:52:30 pm »
Been meaning to start this thread for a while, but just now getting around to it.

Over the past month or so I've seen quite a few mentions of Christmas here and there on the forum & on the chat.  It seems as though a few of you, like me, celebrate Christmas as well as Yule, or the winter solstice (or Saturnalia, or whatever).  And it got me wondering, does anyone feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?  Because Christmas can be celebrated openly, whereas it might not be possible for all of us to celebrate Yule or the December solstice openly?

I actually don't feel any real resentment myself, which I think is due to the high level of nostalgia which is attached to Christmas from my childhood.  But this year (as mentioned elseforum) I had a Yule tree in my living room instead of a Christmas tree -- and I had a mild moment of concern when I thought family were about to ask me to show the tree during a Zoom video chat!  (I'd described it to my Mum verbally on the phone, though without going into the significance of it, but I feel sure my brother would have had something to say about it and potentially would have mentally leapt to 'cults').  I realised I didn't really wish to have that conversation just then, and it could have provoked a level of resentment.  (Though as it was, I was just relieved that they didn't go ahead and ask me to show off my 2020 tree.)

So I wondered whether anyone else feels any resentment (if comfortable sharing), or perhaps you just wish it were possible to be more open about your December festival(s)?  Or, are you completely open about your celebrations?  Please feel free to share whatever you're comfortable with.

 Whatever resentment I feel towards Christmas, it is pretty Low-key. I am bothered by the coopting of religious symbology, and dates from groups that they wanted to dominate and colonialize (and I hold this opinion of all colonializing nations). But this doesn't outwardly affect anything outside of my opinions. I am open with what celebrations and Rituals I do, inasmuch as I am asked about it. I celebrate with a ritual on the Winter Solstice proper (and a lighting of a Yule Log), and then exchange gifts with my Wife on Christmas. We have talked about ways to  combine these two festivals, but we have yet to agree on the best way to go about it.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2021, 04:55:18 pm »
My irritation with Christmas has less to do with my Judaism and/or paganism and more to do with seeing the way the positive meanings of the holiday have been cheapened and muddled by capitalist commodification of the holiday.

This has always been my main irritation during this season as well, and tend to be rather Bah Humbug throughout. Consumerism runs rampant, and people lose their sense of decency as they push their ways around the stores.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2021, 05:49:24 pm »
Over the past month or so I've seen quite a few mentions of Christmas here and there on the forum & on the chat.  It seems as though a few of you, like me, celebrate Christmas as well as Yule, or the winter solstice (or Saturnalia, or whatever).  And it got me wondering, does anyone feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?  Because Christmas can be celebrated openly, whereas it might not be possible for all of us to celebrate Yule or the December solstice openly?

I've been frustrated by mainstream celebration of Christmas since I was Episcopalian (i.e. since well before I was 13, and my family went back to Catholicism, and I converted).

I'm a big believer in "Advent season should mean something, damnit" and the modern assumptions about Christmas make that nearly impossible.

(For those not familiar, the idea that you spend time preparing for this amazing wonderful thing. And then you spend time celebrating it. You do not draw out the celebrating into the 6 weeks before the thing you're celebrating starts being celebrated. You enjoy your advent carols! There are more than just "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel", even! You reflect on things! You figure out what you're looking forward to.)

These days, I take the week of solstice off work. I'm open about the fact I'm taking it off to do an up all night for solstice, but I'm not obvious about it being Pagan (I'm pretty sure one of my co-workers thinks I'm a secular humanist. I don't normally take other Pagan days off, though it depends where Samhain falls.)

This has the bonus that I can hide out and avoid the world for the week when the pre-Christmas materialist culture stuff is at its worst.
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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2021, 05:37:26 am »
My irritation with Christmas has less to do with my Judaism and/or paganism and more to do with seeing the way the positive meanings of the holiday have been cheapened and muddled by capitalist commodification of the holiday.
I'll echo this, too. My problem with Christmas is more of the plastic, commercialized part of its secular celebration. I like the aspects of the secular celebration of Christmas that are genuine, that are about family, togetherness, sharing, and kindness towards strangers. As well as mostly aesthetic things that may or may not have polytheistic roots depending on what cultural tradition we're looking at.
Oddly, despite being raised atheist and a convert to devotional polytheistic Paganism, I can appreciate the Christian religious aspects of it while not participating in them. There is something genuine and authentic about them, particularly the music. I prefer traditional Christmas hymns to commercial Christmas pop songs, for that reason.

I've definitely taken a greater appreciation for the holiday over the past 5 or so years, with the uptick in broader awareness and interest in the older folkloric aspects of Christmas.

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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 05:59:43 am »
I'll echo this, too. My problem with Christmas is more of the plastic, commercialized part of its secular celebration. I like the aspects of the secular celebration of Christmas that are genuine, that are about family, togetherness, sharing, and kindness towards strangers. As well as mostly aesthetic things that may or may not have polytheistic roots depending on what cultural tradition we're looking at.
Oddly, despite being raised atheist and a convert to devotional polytheistic Paganism, I can appreciate the Christian religious aspects of it while not participating in them. There is something genuine and authentic about them, particularly the music. I prefer traditional Christmas hymns to commercial Christmas pop songs, for that reason.

I've definitely taken a greater appreciation for the holiday over the past 5 or so years, with the uptick in broader awareness and interest in the older folkloric aspects of Christmas.
I have no ill will toward the holiday itself, but I dislike the ''fake, commercialized'' notion of it, as well as how its forced on everyone in public.  even the general ''happy holidays'' is just glossing over trying to ram christmas down everyones throats.  I mean you dont see the same sorts saying ''happy holidays'' for Pagan holidays, which would logically be the case if the saying was truly meant to be an all encompasing non religion-specific greeting.  the idea of family and togetherness is good in theory, but as with most christian holidays it is a ''pleasantry'' glossing over the general ''holier than thou'' crusading my way or the highway additude of the religion in general.  I'm not saying all christians are bad people.  some are genuinely well intentioned, but the religion itself does not scale well with enlightened views like understanding and acceptance of those different from you.

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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 05:45:23 pm »
even the general ''happy holidays'' is just glossing over trying to ram christmas down everyones throats.  I mean you dont see the same sorts saying ''happy holidays'' for Pagan holidays, which would logically be the case if the saying was truly meant to be an all encompasing non religion-specific greeting.

Since 'happy holidays' is specific to the late-December period, it's not relevant to pagan holidays - or Christian ones, or ones that are neither pagan nor Christian - that occur at any other time of the year.

That late-December time is a time in which many people are celebrating holidays - not just Christian Christmas, but Jewish Hanukah, African-American/Afro-Diasporic Kwanzaa, Yule for many (but not all) pagan religions, people who celebrate Christmas non-religiously, and wholly-secular New Year. 'Happy holidays' is intended to recognize that it's a holiday time for those many.

If Christmas was the only holiday of that time of year, your criticism would make sense. Since it's not, it reads to me as being very dismissive of all other December holidays, particularly of widely-known ones like Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

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Re: Do you feel any level of resentment toward Christmas?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2021, 08:42:52 pm »
Since 'happy holidays' is specific to the late-December period, it's not relevant to pagan holidays - or Christian ones, or ones that are neither pagan nor Christian - that occur at any other time of the year.

That late-December time is a time in which many people are celebrating holidays - not just Christian Christmas, but Jewish Hanukah, African-American/Afro-Diasporic Kwanzaa, Yule for many (but not all) pagan religions, people who celebrate Christmas non-religiously, and wholly-secular New Year. 'Happy holidays' is intended to recognize that it's a holiday time for those many.

If Christmas was the only holiday of that time of year, your criticism would make sense. Since it's not, it reads to me as being very dismissive of all other December holidays, particularly of widely-known ones like Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

Sunflower
You're right.  In hindsight I probably could have phrased that better.  What I actually meant was that the term is generally intended to refer to bob-pagan holidays. Although not entirely.  Yule would fall under the term also, although I suspect that was by coincidence rather than design  I could be wrong on that.

 

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