Coming from a deeply Catholic family, Christmas has been a big deal since I can remember. Even though I have never ever been particularly fond of religious traditions, I’ve always cherished it, the one day a year when the whole approximately 40-components-big family gets together with an spectacular amount of good food and good will. That has always been what Christmas meant: family, food, nice things said and done. I guess it sort of approached what Thanksgiving represents for the countries that celebrate it. My whole life, this is what I meant when I wished anyone a “Merry Christmas”.
This year, though, I found myself unable to wish that to anyone. I’m not sure what exactly triggered this complete change of mindset – although I can name more than a few personal experiences that changed the way I relate to my family and to my life – but this year I have been painfully aware of the religious implications of celebrating Christmas. And even though I participated in the family festivities, I still have not said “Merry Christmas” to anyone (besides my girlfriend, because she had to face her own particular family hell, and a friend whose birthday is today).
Christmas and every other family gathering have changed to mean tension between everybody else’s beliefs and my lack of them. And I’m finding it extremely hard to harmonize the part of me that wants to still be a part of this huge, crazy, awesome family and the part of me that doesn’t find the family too awesome anymore for what they believe in and how those beliefs hurt me most of the time. Religion ruined Christmas for me.
I guess what I’m trying to ask you is:
How does religion affect your holidays? How does family affect your holidays? What does December 25th mean to you, if it means anything at all?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.
(I’m suddenly very aware I’m ignoring other religions’ takes on December 25th, but keep in mind pretty much everyone I know is Catholic – and about 65% of the whole Brazilian population, too, so this is only a reflection of my own reality. I never used “Happy Holidays” until about last year.)