Folks, whether we celebrate Christmas or not we/our children should be informed about it. Need resources to help? Simply head to a local library and you should find a few good books. Luisah Teish’s “Jump Up” is an excellent one! You may want to pick up a few children’s ones too. It’s easy to find good reads about the European roots of Xmas including the Santa story. Don’t stop there though. Connect it all to our ancient story. Stay away from demonizing the holiday and its celebrants. Instead concentrate on the facts. For those of us who don’t celebrate it, don’t preach. It’s enough to be honest about our reasons. Keep in mind that many children will have questions so be prepared to talk things through with them.
– In response to “Merry Christmas” consider saying “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.” It’s a gentle way of reminding people that there are all sorts of celebrations happening around this time.
– Try not to get caught up in the Xmas rush. Slow down, retreat & catch up on sleep if you can.
– Avoid heading into stores as much as possible.
– Consider participating in some community service projects. There are so many to choose from around this time of year. Lend a hand where you can. Just make it clear that you won’t be wearing a Santa hat.
– Don’t reprimand children for expressing an interest in/being drawn to aspects of Xmas. Be sensitive and talk about it. Take the opportunity to remind them of your own traditions/holidays. Reiterate that different people celebrate different things the world over.
– Connect with other folks who do not celebrate mainstream Christmas. Share tips on how to navigate the holiday.
– If you choose to exchange gifts with your relatives try your best to support black businesses/vendors.
– Be respectful when stating your reasons for not celebrating Xmas. Keep it brief. No preaching.
– If you don’t plan to attend your extended family’s gathering please inform the host a.s.a.p. The earlier they know the smoother it’ll probably go over. Be as peaceful as you can about it. Don’t entertain any guilt tripping that friends/relatives may drop on you.
– If you decide to attend your extended family’s gathering that’s fine. After all it’s one of the few times many families get together. Sad, true. Simply have a game plan for the Santa/consumerism & carol singing vibes. No need for preaching. Be proactive! You may find that it’s best to keep your visit short ie. 1-2 hours long.
– Accept gifts in love. Give unwanted ones to charity.
– For those who tell you that you’re depriving your children (because you don’t celebrate Xmas) simply tell them that your family has a unique set of holidays that you celebrate. Xmas just isn’t one of them. Don’t feel pressed to elaborate. Some people just want to argue. Plain & simple. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into a fight.
– If you don’t celebrate Christmas yet you feel a draw to it consider participating in Ka-Rast Mass celebrations (Dec.25) with Qubtic folks. Or does Lidet call you? If so connect with some Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox/Coptic/Rasta folks about it. Enjoy! Mark Jan.6 & 7 on your calendars.