By Allyssia Alleyne
I have an unabashed love of Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, and the decked-out trees. I love buying gifts and the artery-clogging holiday dinners. I love Christmas music (everything from “Little Saint Nick” to “Silent Night”), Christmas specials, and the excitement that surrounds this time of year. I love that it brings my family together and gives them a chance to appreciate and love each other. Oh, and I’ve never grown tired of that story about the birth of Jesus and the wise men and the salvation of mankind.
I am not, however, religious. In fact, I don’t even consider myself a Christian.
By Denise Balkissoon
Last year about this time, I went to visit a friend with a new baby. It was a visit that has scarred me for life. First, I called the baby by the wrong name. Then, I said what I was getting my partner for Christmas in that voice that means “and what are you getting your partner for Christmas?” My friend told me what she got him for Hanukkah because, like, they’re Jewish. After years—nay, decades—of resisting Christmas assimilation, I had fallen prey to its insidious tentacles. I was mortified.
I wish I wasn’t so tortured by Christmas, but I am. My family has always played fast and loose with the holiday. Meet Raggedy Anne, who I got when I was four. My dad’s job had taken my family to Saudi Arabia, which is not a place known for sales of Christmas wrapping paper; I found Anne behind the curtains in the living room. Back in Canada, most of my 20 aunts and 19 uncles (crazy, right?) gave out presents, but I had 50 or so first cousins (totally crazy, right?) who also needed something to unwrap. My haul was big, but fairly budget.