This is my second Christmas since leaving the cult I was raised in (which didn't celebrate Christmas). Before that, my last Christmas was around age 4. I have pictures of me as a toddler with Santa and heaps of Christmas gifts. Seemed like a good time to me.
Last year, it was still a strange thing to know that I could celebrate Christmas. I still wasn't sure whether I even believed in the bible or Christ or God or anything for that matter. So, the extent of my celebration was to send out a few cards, exchange a few gifts and let the day pass like any other.
This year I'm still not sure what I believe and feel okay with that. I'm more sure of what I don't believe in, particularly God, so celebrating Christmas this year is purely secular. I really wanted a little tree to put in our apartment but wasn't quite ready to make the monetary commitment, unsure of whether I'd still be into Christmas next year. I decided to put up lights and buy a few candles. I love all things sparkly and shiny. I wanted to be mesmerized like I was as a child. I remember when visiting my non-cult friends at Christmas, which was a rarity since my mother kept us clear of the “worldly neighbours” at the best of times and even more so at Christmas, how I loved to just stare at their Christmas tree. The lights and the colors, the sensory overwhelm, it was wonderful. I tried not to look too pleased lest I bring reproach on my faith but I couldn’t help it. I was a kid and it was nice to be a kid in those rare moments.
Christmas this year has really been about letting that little girl come to visit me. Allowing her to be with her childish excitement and wonder. Giving her permission to just be who she is without the guilt and the expectation. It's been fun. I bought some little snowmen and snowflake decals for my window and they make me smile each time I walk by. I bought a poinsettia just to round out the festive ambiance. And I purchased a new Christmas CD and I've been playing it constantly, much to my boyfriends dismay.
I also bought the “Charlie Brown Christmas” DVD last week. I remember watching it as a child, every time it played on TV. I even recall sneaking peaks at it after we entered the cult. That scene where they’re all dancing on stage and Snoopy does his little jig is priceless. Oh Snoopy…you're the coolest! I bought the CD last year and it’s still my favorite.
I also started a Christmas menagerie. I began with a very cute little plush gingerbread man, nothing too chintzy. Then came, of course, a tall penguin, complete with earmuffs and scarf. I stopped at two for this year, but Boxing Week starts tomorrow so I may just add to the zoo before this holiday season ends.
It's abysmally green this year. No snow in sight. We had a light dusting about two weeks ago and that was it. It feels more like Spring here than the middle of Winter. Stupid global warming screwing up my dreams of a white Christmas!
So, I leave you this day with holiday hugs and the hope that you can reconnect with that little child within you that sees wonder everywhere and gets caught up in the magic of a twinkling light. May that child have peace.