Good morning... afternoon... whatever...
I originally thought about posting this post in response to a question Amber from yellow flower.
She asked me if Britt & I have any Winter holiday traditions. At the time I told her we didn't, as we've only successfully not despised the Winter holidays since last Yule. ^-^
I was slightly mistaken, however. Last year, after I determined to enjoy every part of the year for what it added to the whole, Britt & I decided that we were going to make it a tradition at our place to do "Winter Cleaning" on the 25th of December. It's kind of our way of opposing the disgusting excess to which a good number of Americans indulge in for Christmas.
I was lucky to come from a family who always had very modest Christmas gift giving. My parents made the holidays about family & friends, giving to others (via time, volunteering, etc) more than receiving material gifts.
I remember one year, I think I was 8 or so, that my parents just didn't have any money for gifts. They were rather upset, as they thought my brother, sister & I would be upset, but in one of those "From the mouths of babes" moments, we informed my parents that we didn't care, because we had our family & that's what mattered. Looking back, I wish I could have taken a picture of their expressions. Priceless... shock mixed with pride. ^-^ They both probably teared up a bit... lolz...
No one else understood though. A few people found out somehow that my family "wasn't having Christmas" *facepalm* and got my siblings & I some gifts. It was truly sweet & kind of them, but I pitied them for not understanding that we still would have "had Christmas", even if we weren't opening gifts. I've never understood the importance to which people place on gift giving.
Britt's family was the opposite end of the spectrum. I didn't believe her when she told me, until the first Christmas we were together & I saw it with my own two eyes. Her extended family nearly bankrupt themselves buying shit for each other. It's the most insane vision of ridiculous excess I've ever seen. Very few things actually shock me, but this is one of them. Presents piled higher than I am tall (I'm almost five & a half feet...), taking up most of the living room space. Completely. Insane. But that's how her family prove to each other that they love each other. By trying to buy the most or the best gifts. And expecting to receive at least as much back. It hurts my brain. After seeing this, it was no wonder to me why Britt loathed the holidays.
Her hatred for the Winter holidays made me dislike them as well, because she was always so miserable. Add to that two or three Christmases ago when we went to pick her mother up from jail & ended up with her living with us for a few months (the worst time of my life, I shit you not), and here we have a recipe for some serious holiday hatred.
Now for the light at the top of the tree... ^-^
I've considered myself a Pagan for several years, and a Witch for almost as long. As such, I've moved away from the Christian holidays I was raised with & into the Pagan ones they were borrowed from. I still acknowledge Christmas in that I always call my family on the 24th & 25th & wish them a merry Christmas. We also go to Britt's parents' house for dinner on the 24th. Celebrating the family aspect of Christmas has always been important to me, and I see no reason to change it. ^-^
The thing Britt & I have changed, however, is that on Christmas day, we don't give gifts. We usually don't have any money anyways, lolz... We get/make each other little things all throughout the year. It doesn't make sense to either of us to buy a bunch of stuff for one day. Not that I'm against gift giving. I love to make & give gifts to people! But everything in moderation! ^-^
What we do on Christmas day is clean our house. We open the windows & let in the freezing cold air. We do a pre-Spring cleaning.
Our thought behind this new tradition is that we want to start the new year fresh. We don't want to take into the new year any old dust & cobwebs (no matter how much I love cobwebs...) of the literal or emotional kind. It's the day we start preparing for new things, new opportunities, new friends, new anything & everything.
We go through our clothes & make stop at Goodwill. We scrub & scour everything. It's exhausting, but both Britt & I felt so good, so wonderful & happy after doing this last year, we decided that it was worth making a tradition. We're finding a new way to combat her past darkness & shining light into all the dark corners. Nothing negative will get away from this cleaning, and we are better for it afterward!
This year I'm also going to add to the physical cleaning a spiritual side. I'm not quite sure exactly what, yet, but I think that I'll take some things from Serenity Athenina over at the Domestic Pagan from her awesome post about Winter magic for your home. Check it out! ^-^
Well then. That about sums it up as to why Britt & I no longer cringe once Halloween is over. If you're still hating the Winter holidays, I fully encourage you to revamp them in ways that fulfill YOU & make YOU happy! ^-^
Hoping all of you have most wonderful Winter holidays, no matter how you choose to celebrate them. This is the season celebrating the return of light. Warm your hearts with friends & family. Warm your hands with steaming mugs of eggnog or cocoa. Find your inner light & let it shine forth from you, illuminating all you see & do. Do things that have meaning to YOU & you will find peace & fulfillment. Blessed be!