I had the best Christmas’s growing up.
My brothers and I always got every. single. thing. we asked for whether it was a toy, a new radio, a game system and games to go with it, shoes, jewelry, or accessories for our cars as we got older.
I remember decorating our house every Season- the boys handled the outside and the girls handled the inside. My father and brothers would hang lights all over our house and they would even wrap all of our 13 palm trees that lined our property too! Mom and I would wrap all of our big pictures on the walls to make them look like gifts. We would take out our Christmas ornaments that we had stored in the attic and strategically place them all over the house. We would get fresh cinnamon to make the house smell warm. We’d light the fireplace. We’d make hot cocoa and play Christmas music.
It was such a lovely time!
On Christmas Eve every year my brothers and I would all sleep in the same bedroom. My younger brother, Alex, and I would wear matching Christmas socks that we found at Target or Walmart. We were always allowed to open one gift of our choosing on Christmas Eve, but Mom always had the final say on whether or not we could open that one.
I would make cookies with Alex for Santa and we would arrange carrots for the reindeer before he fell asleep. Since he innocently still believed in Santa, I would help my parents prepare the space at nighttime so that Alex would think Santa came to deliver his gifts while he peacefully slept.
My father used to take his sneakers and press them in the soot from the fireplace then walk all throughout the living room. In the mornings, to Alex’s delight, he would fuss about how Santa was “so messy”. I would eat some of the cookies and leave some half eaten and also drink some of the milk.
I have amazing, joyous, and beautiful memories of growing up with Christmas, but I cannot and I will not allow my Daughter to grow up with something so deeply rooted in untruths.
Despite the element of surprise and fun these Christmas fables can bring and despite the modern innocence of simply being unaware of what we are doing to this world, to our society, and to our children, I cannot lie to my Daughter.
Lie to her about an overweight white man who binges on things I would never tell her she could thrive off of.
Lie to her about Santa being white as if there isn’t enough whitewashing she’ll have to deal with growing up. (And even if I chose to make Santa look like her, which one is right? Because she would still be overexposed to white Santa's everywhere from cartoons, to movies, to Christmas cards, to the Santa at the mall waiting to take pictures with her.)
Lie to her about the idea of Santa.
Lie to her about this Santa who is giving her presents based off of her being “Naughty” or “Nice” as if it wasn't Mommy and Daddy who worked their asses off to provide her with such delight.
No matter how blameless the whole Christmas holiday seems, at some point the cycle- what we call traditional, or traditions- must end.
It is our duty as Guardians to our children to introduce truth, goodness, and light into this world and we just cannot do that while living a lie all because it’s what we grew up doing.
The Christmas tree. The lights. The gifts. Santa Clause. Stockings. Turkey and ham. The overall gluttony of this holiday is all too much.
I still feel the spirit of Christmas is truly charming. The giving, receiving, and love is something I believe should exist year round, but I have also learned where these Christmas traditions began and I refuse to take part in a celebration of such complicated corrupt beliefs, further leading my Daughter down the wrong path.
The True History of Christmas
Christmas evolved from a week long ancient Roman celebration called Saturnalia, which celebrated the return of the sun and, therefore, the abundance that Spring would bring after a cold Winter season.
Saturnalia was marked by merriment and chaos. During this week the Romans would share gifts, have sex outside of their marriage (including sex with young boys), drink lots of alcohol, overeat, gamble, and even switch roles so that the Master became the Slave and the Slave became the Master. It was a time of organized chaos marked by customs we still carry on today.
We are led to believe that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th and that we are celebrating his birthday at Christmas, but in fact, the true date of his birth is unknown and even the bible makes no exact statement regarding it.
The early Christian church chose to mark December 25th as the birth date of Jesus simply so that it could comfortably, yet skillfully, assimilate those they called pagans into their religion by allowing them to continue on with their Saturnalia festivities.
The term “pagan” and “paganism” was dubbed by the Christian church to simply point out those who did not believe and follow as they did. Put plainly, if you didn’t follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, then you were a pagan.
As Christianity spread and began to dominate as the major religion, it was made much less frenetic to convince people to convert by allowing them to still do what they were already doing. The tree, the lights, the gifts, and the food took on a different, religious, narrative and people continued on with their celebrations.
The debate on Christianity is something I refuse to get into now, but it is a whole other multi-faceted sector which makes Christmas even less appealing to me for various reasons, including the truth that my ancestors were forced into this religion by their oppressors. In essence, I would be celebrating the birth of someone who I'm unsure existed just because my family before me told me he existed only because their slave masters told them he did and, by the whip, obliged them to accept it as their truth.
Again, I think the spirit of Christmas is light and joyful, but when taking a closer look it becomes clear that it is nonsensical to observe a day and season for which we have no real idea about.
I’m tired of being lied to. I’m tired of doing things just because they’ve always been done.
I intend to live with purpose and to teach my Daughter to live with purpose and I can only do that by leading by example.
This does not mean I will never in her life get her a Christmas gift or that I will not allow her to receive them from those who wish to gift her. She even got a few Christmas gifts this past year from a few people and some of the gifts are her new favorite toys! But, I do not have to begin a tradition with her in which she will grow expectations for and as she grows older I will be explaining to her all the things I have written here so she fully understands.
I grew up in a Christian household having exciting Christmas's, but I know better now and I have a deeper understanding of religion, history, and the world and it is my moral obligation to do better for my future and the future of my Seed. My husband summed it up best:
“You don’t think twice about celebrating Eid or any other religious holiday, do you?”
What he meant was, don’t sweat Christmas just because it used to be a big part of your life. There will be much more to commemorate and savor in this life without having to betray your consciousness.
This year on Christmas Day, we simply kicked back at home. We stayed in bed relaxing until the late morning when a friend came by. We listened to music and danced while we ate vegan chickpea banana pancakes. Then I made us a huge dinner of white quinoa, purple cabbage, fresh red beets, steamed pumpkin, and a big fresh salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, bean sprouts, tahini, and lots of hummus. We watched 'Prison Break' on Netflix and for dessert we ate warm spelt chocolate chip cookies. We enjoyed our time together as a family eating healthy plant based food and laughing and enjoying each others company just as we would any other night.
And guess what?
Not once did any one of us miss Christmas.
(My Husband and Daughter waking up late on Christmas Day)
(My hearty homemade plant based dinner plate as described above)
(Spelt chocolate chip cookies for dessert for my Husband and I on Christmas evening)
*P.S. I'm sorry I couldn't add any past Christmas photos for you all because I actually have so many to go along with everything I've shared with you here. Sadly, they are all still at my home in Florida and I am all the way in London so I cannot get them. Next time I'm home I will update this post with photo memories.