The Meaning of Christmas

11In my post last week about the gift of giving, I alluded to what I felt was the meaning of Christmas.  My meaning, at least.

It can be easy to get lost in the growing consumerist nature of the holidays and forget about what makes it such a great time of the year.  As an agnostic individual, I don’t enjoy Christmas for the religious aspects of its past, although I do acknowledge that it’s the main reason we celebrate it in the first place.  I can understand why Christians would take offence to the way in which the story of Jesus is largely glossed over by many people, but in my opinion the holiday has evolved to represent so much more than a person’s faith.

When I started my first year at university, I was away from home for the first time during all of the Christmas preparations.  When I came back just under a week before the big day, I realised how appreciative I was to be back there in time for the holidays.  I’ve always loved Christmas and that’s never changed, but in recent years I started caring less about the presents (although those are admittedly great) and more about spending time together with my family.

It’s something that we do fairly often throughout the year, but it seems to be at Christmas that we realise how special we are to have our loved ones around us.  I can’t bear the thought of ever having to spend the holidays by myself, because to be alone at Christmas is the antithesis of what I think this time of year is all about.  Sure, on the surface it’s all garish decorations and lots of food, but beneath it all those moments spent sat together opening presents or playing games are the best parts of the holidays.

Last year was the first time in my life that my family wasn’t all together for the whole of Christmas day.  It’s a part of life that I know I need to accept as I grow up, after all one day I will have other people in my life that I will need to compromise and make commitments with, but it was a major change that hit hard after so many years.  Telling the people you care about that you love them is not something that any of us do enough, myself included, but to me those feelings come across without needing to be said when you spend Christmas together.

Not everyone will agree with me on this.  Like I said at the start, this is my meaning of Christmas, and we all interpret the holidays in our own way.  As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.

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