I sometimes struggle with the trappings of a Season.
And for me there is no Season more fraught with trappings than Christmas. It's easy to point to the commercialization of it and roll my jaded eyes and I do just that from time to time.
Easy but lazy.
So the question then becomes what makes this season meaningful for me? The short answer is being with family and friends but the long answer is more complicated.
Like many children of immigrants, the traditions in my home were different than those of my natural born friends. We opened Christmas presents on Christmas eve instead of Christmas morning. We ate stollen and drank gluhwein. We held hands in front of our tannenbaum and sang Stille Nacht (to our perpetual horror). And we hated it all, other than the opening of presents eight hours earlier than our friends.
For a long time after I left home I had an informal boycott of Christmas. I delighted in ordering Chinese food on Christmas eve and binge watching VHS movies. At first, I wanted to ignore it. Then I wanted to subvert it. Ultimately I ended up making it my own by creating my own traditions that were authentic and true to me. My eventual acceptance of the Season only came when I had a family of my own and my priorities shifted from the me to we.
And that is what the season has become for me, a celebration of we. It may have been a convoluted path to come to a place that I was never really far from but it was a path I needed to walk.
May you all be surrounded by those you love and may you all find peace amid the trappings.