I have an okay family. My relatives are from North Carolina. They’re rather traditional. However, they don’t shame me or attack me for my beliefs. I admit that it makes the relationship awkward. Having autism prevents me from connecting with them. I’m willing to say, though, I have this impulse (call it the devil) to say things to get some shock value out of them. And I have this aunt who likes to tease in a rather obnoxious way. But I know they still care for me. My nuclear family is okay as well. However, I’m one of the lucky ones when it comes to families. I just have cultural barriers to deal with. Some people, including people in my therapy group, deal with actually toxic, abusive, and manipulative family members.
I’ve never been into the idea of family. Family for some means love and safety. To me, it’s been at best something I tolerate most of the time but sometimes has its advantages, and at worst something that drives you crazy and at times gets in the way of your freedom to explore. I’m a person who values that freedom. With friends, you can take them or leave them, but with family, you’re basically stuck. Not to mention, older generations tend to have a hard time accepting things that are new or different. So many of us have dealt with family members who do not understand us or the choices we make. Once again, I lucked out in this aspect, but others don’t.
Not to mention, “Family friendly” usually means boring, bad jokes, sappy, and sacrificing value just to prevent offending those easily offend-able soccer moms or dads. And for some reason, “family friendly” also means “Highly consumerism.” The holidays that are supposedly about “family” are often about objects, objects, objects. Has anyone seen Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas? The movie’s commentary about the holidays was spot on in my opinion. I’ve often found "Jesus’s (supposed) birthday often involves greed and discontent. I find more jolliness and good will on Halloween, “the devil’s birthday.”
I generally see Halooween/Samhain as the real spiritual holiday. However, its not the dead I celebrate. I actually celebrate the gates between the two worlds opening. I celebrate this phenomenon as a time when the every day norm is momentarily broken. I feel death’s gentle presence in the air. It’s gloomy but excites me and I see that same excitement in others. Most of all, I dream of what I could find beyond those gates? Halloween is a time of hedonistic enjoyment along side spiritual communion. Christmas, though? The family celebrates it. I just go along. I always find some way to make fun of it. My main subject is how the practice of the Christmas tree has a biblical origin in Canaan as to worship their fertility god, Ba’al. In other words, its a phallus. I could be wrong, though. I know there are European Pagan practices too. Though, to be completely honest, I don’t myself celebrate Christmas or Yule. Or at least not with the same fervor as Halloween.
Christianity is very simple. There’s Jesus (and his angels) and then Satan (and his demons). Jesus rewards the faithful. Satan punishes sinners. That’s it. (And I’m not a fan of this system.) It only makes sense that Santa Clause/St. Nick would have a sleugh of holiday monsters traveling with him. The duality between Santa and his monsters, like Krampus, is basically a version of Christ and Satan for kids. Santa rewards good little boys and girls, and Krampus kidnapps bad kids and eats’em. It is important to remember Christianity was a very brutal religion, and still is in some ways. However, the reason why we only see Santa but not Krampus in the US is because Krampus 1. Doesn’t fit into the family friendly image of Christianity, and 2. Isn’t profitable due to being this Satan monster. At least until that horror movie.
I know that Christmas is very Pagan, but to be honest, I don’t care. It’s a very show-offy holiday and you’re expected to hang around relatives that make you feel uncomfortable. I just prefer the spooky cheer of Halloween. So when someone says to me “Merry Christmas”, I just say back “Merry Krampus.”
And fuck, I think I’m gonna be visited by three ghosts this Christmas eve.