I have joined up to a free online course called Holidays in Hand by Jessica Sprague. I am hoping to combine this with JYC and a bit of Ali Edwards Dec daily thrown in. I am hoping this new course will add a bit more depth and meaning to my xmas album as I dont want my album to be the same as last years one.
Our first assignment for this course is to look at our values and goals for the holiday season, so here goes.
I was not brought up in a religous household. I suppose my family consider themselves christian but we never attended church or talked about God. Christmas in my childhood was about being with family, giving and recieving gifts, but there was never a religous tone to it. Thats not to say we only celebrated xmas for commercial reasons, we did understand the message behind xmas.
Eight years ago I became a Pagan, which changed my whole outlook on life and I believe has made me a better person in terms of understanding, listening and being non judgemental. Although I do not celebrate xmas as a christian, I respect the meaning and goodwill behind the celebration. Pagans celebrate Yule at xmas time, which is a celebration of the returning sun God. We contemplate our hopes and aspirations for the coming year and consider how our natural gifts and talents can be used for the better. We hang out lights, decorate a tree, bring in evergreens, burn a yule log and give gifts to those we love and to charities (yes, most christian traditions of xmas stem from pagan activities).
Yule is a festival rich in tradition and ritual. In the early days of christianity people were reluctant to give up their pagan path and mid winter celebrations, so it was decided that the birth of Christ should be celebrated at the same time. This enabled the rituals of the tree and evergreens, songs and decorations to be continued with added Christian meanings and made the transition from pagan to christian worship easier.
As a family we celebrate xmas day, when you have children its hard not to, but we have a pagan tone to it rather than christian. We celebrate the day as a time to be together with the ones you love, a day of sharing and coming together and gifts given and recieved as tokens of love to each other, not really any different to a christian christmas.
I have ensured that my kids know and understand the christian and pagan meanings of the day, so that they are free to chose their own path in life.
Christmas is now a very commercial holiday, adverts for gifts and xmas luxuries starting as early as the end of october! I have hopefully taught my children to understand that xmas is not about the biggest and most expensive gifts, its about being together as a family, being thankful for what you have and knowing you are loved.
So, although a pagan, xmas is celebrated in our house much the same as any christian household, with love, family and friends, sharing and being together.
My goals for this christmas are:
1. Celebrate all our family traditions and ask the kids to come up with a tradition of their own.
2.Not to feel pressured that the kids dont have enough gifts, i do this every year when I know that they will be happy with anything they recieve.
3.Ensure that my family knows how special they are to me and how glad I am that we can celebrate together.
4. Be more organised, dont leave everything to the last minute
5. Take the children around to all the light displays
6. Chose a charity to donate to in my sisters name. We decide last year that instead of gifts to each other we would each make a donation in the others name to a charity of our choice.
7. Not to buy so much food, nobody eats it all and it makes me sick to throw it away when I know how many people in this world have nothing.
So those are my values and my goals for this years christmas. I hope I can achieve them all, I have not set them too high otherwise I know I will fail!