Soon it will be Christmas, so I am going to probably sign off for a few days to get ready for the big day and the visitors that it will bring. This will be the first year in a LONG time that I will not be attending any kind of religious service to mark the holiday. There was that one year that the Latino-who-shall-not-be-named and I went to Puerto Rico for winter break. We went in to A LOT of churches as we toured the island, but we didn’t really attend any formal holiday services. In talking with him about the traditions of his Spanish background, the holiday was more about partying and eating than gifts and church services so we spent most of the time on the island in the bars and discos and sneaking in to casinos to nibble of their lavish buffets. It was also the first Christmas that I had to deal with sunburn. Not fun.
So this year, instead of rushing to get dinner out of the way and worrying about crabby kids at the church, we’ll hang out at home, enjoy our company, and perhaps have a bit of bottled holiday cheer to ring in the holiday. I can’t say that I miss any of the religious aspects of the holiday, as the crèche that belonged to my paternal grandmother still graces our mantle, and I still listen to my classical Christmas songs on my IPod. They will always have a special place in my heart, but their meaning, not so much anymore.
We went to a local cabaret for their annual holiday show with my folks last weekend. It was a great night out and the music they provided was both religious and secular. I found myself howling with delight over their secular choices and fiddling with my drink during the more serious religious ones, even though I knew all the words. Their rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Christmas was a true howler. Even my Dad laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the song.
So now the big battle is what do we do with the kids? Eli has known nothing more than a few months in the nursery at our former church. Religious education, especially at that age was pretty non-existent. But with Anna, the fuse has been lit, and I don’t know what to do. Some of my clearest memories as a kid were the nights spent at my home church on Christmas Eve, however, they are right alongside the really bad memories of not fitting in and hearing that I was a sinner and not worthy of God’s love, so the bad may outweigh the good in this battle. We’ll provide Anna and Eli with much to remember each holiday, it just won’t involve a church, and I think Ho Ho is okay with that.