Solstice


Before I was married, my mother used to host a party on Christmas Eve. She didn’t do it very long but I enjoyed it and when I got married, I continued the tradition. When the kids got to school age, we changed the date so it was a Saturday before Christmas. For many years, it has been the highlight of the holiday. I have baked for a month prior to the party. Cookies and breads galore.  A few main dishes, side dishes, chocolate fountain. For many years, we had a pool table (the ex got rid of it two months before he filed for divorce- I gave in to make him happy) We have  dart board, air hockey table. When the kids were younger, we let them have one friend spend the night every year. One young man has only missed a couple of these parties since he was about five. He is twenty now. We have had as few as ten people come and as many as sixty come and go. We have had clear skies and almost blizzards but it has happened every year. Every so often, during my bad years, I would threaten to cancel the party due to stress but was always glad that I didn’t. The event was always one of my favorite nights of the year. After the divorce, I almost stopped but the kids still really wanted it to happen. Some of the best ones have been the past few years. We pulled out the karaoke machine, board games, and just enjoyed the time BUT it has been more and more difficult for all the kids to be here. The middle one has been late or missed due to work for years. She won’t be able to be here at all tomorrow. My son has to work  and miss the first few hours. The eldest is driving down tomorrow and has no idea when she will be here. I have been working so much as have the kids so hardly anything is ready for tomorrow night.

I made a decision today. This is the last one. I basically cancelled it today. I told a few people to still come. Tomorrow I will clean house and make cookies. We only have a few old time guests coming, including that young man. Next year, my kids and I will not be hosting this party. Our lives are so different now. They have jobs, boyfriends or girlfriends. I am trying to date. I love our party but no longer want to make this a have to event every year. We may choose to do something smaller from time to time but no longer will we have a date set in stone for a year. No longer will  I spend a ton of money and time on this party. The kids will be free to go hang with friends during the holiday time when they are in town and their friends are home, too.I will have the freedom to go with a boyfriend (if I have one) to other events.

It has been a good long run. I have hosted this party 25 times in 27 years. There are many things that I will miss but it sometimes is good to change traditions. I wonder how I will feel next December when I do not have a party to plan and prepare for. Only time will tell but I imagine that I will be more free with money and time and that will be good.

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I wrote this a few years ago and actually got attacked by some former “family” members about it. I thought I would share again.

I don’t get it. I see so many people aka Christians getting upset with the phrase “Happy Holidays” . Do they not realize that not everyone in this world or country are Christian. In this country alone, we have so many people with so many beliefs and our Constitution allows us to have our own beliefs, be it Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or, oh no, ATHEIST! Everyone had their own holidays and beliefs. One person not believing in Christmas being the birthday of Jesus should not diminish Christmas for those that do.

In December alone, there are four holidays for 4 different groups of people. Hanukkah started last night for the Jewish people. This is a very important holiday for them but you do not see them expecting everyone to say Happy Hanukkah. I even know a few Jewish people who incorporate a bit of Christmas into their lives due to being married to Christians and they want their children to learn about both. I see nothing wrong with that.

As everyone knows, the most common celebrated holiday in America in December is Christmas. There is no need to explain what it is as even if you have no interest, you find out from the music that is everywhere, the nativity scenes, the cards, etc. Christmas is a wonderful holiday, don’t get me wrong and I love the holiday, even though I so not believe it is what people celebrate. I love so much about the season but am not Christian. What I don’t get is why so many people think it is only their holiday. If you look at the history of December Holidays you find that many Christmas traditions come from Pagan celebrations.

That brings us to the celebration that comes on Dec 21st this year- Winter Solstice- aka Yule. This is celebrated by the “pagans” of the world. Some people use the term Wiccan. So many people completely misunderstand that term and think of black magic. Wiccan’s celebrate the earth and basically mother nature, to put it in terms for all to understand. They do not do voodoo and other things to harm people. I have a few friends that are wiccan and others that call themselves Pagan. I wish people weren’t so scared of the unknown.

The last holiday that I know of in December is an African one called Kwanzaa. I admit, I know little to nothing about this holiday. When I first started hearing about it in the US, I was confused as I was well into adulthood but with our cultural diversity in our country, we need to accept the holidays of everyone that lives here. Very few Americans are not descended from someone who came to this country.

As for me, I am a former (recovering) Catholic that still loves Christmas. I love the lights, music, tree, gifts, Santa, everything about it but the religious stuff. I do not believe in it. I believe that Jesus was a good man and we can all learn some great lessons from him but we can also learn from Buddha. They both spoke of love and giving and treating others with respect. Peace was also big for both of them. As one of my heroes, Gandhi, said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Being Christian does not give you the right to judge the rest of us that are not.

So next time, someone says Happy Holidays, take it in the way they probably meant it and have a happy holiday season. They may not know what your beliefs are or maybe, they aren’t Christian but are acknowledging your beliefs.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice (the days are getting longer again),and most of all HAPPY HOLIDAYS!