Riding into work this morning I found myself both looking forward to starting my vacation tomorrow and thoughtful about my lack of enthusiasm for the holiday season. I will return to work on Christmas Eve and it is not bothering me that I wasn’t able to get that week off. It’s not bothering me that I haven’t really celebrated Christmas or any other holiday that falls in this same month for years. And so my thoughts were not that I should be bothered but about why I wasn’t.
Like most western children I grew up in the spectacle of Santa Clause and Christmas. I am not sure at what point I started recognizing the selfishness and materialism that smothers the season or when that recognition completely displaced any attachment I might have enjoyed. I do recall that by the time of my mid twenties I had come to the conclusion that most of my Christian upbringing was based upon stories that opposed and conflicted with each other – stories that were conveniently twisted to suit whatever situation might be at hand. That other traditions also had their own celebrations near the time of the winter solstice simply hastened my loss of faith in that tradition.
It wasn’t until later that I began having misgivings about the mass rush to purchase things we didn’t need and the waste created in both the creation and marketing of products along with the items that would be replaced and deemed trash after the holiday. Even more recently, I find myself uncomfortable with the multiple gatherings to eat too much with little to no regard about the lives lost to put unnecessary food on the table.
So it is that I will miss another company dinner next week and will work while others are off between Christmas and New Years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Living alone has many benefits that are easily forgotten from time to time. Sure, there the occasional ‘lonely’ days that are coming less often these days but when it comes to making ethical choices and living with my conscience, there is nobody to blame for those choices but myself.