As a Pagan, Xmas (Christmas) is an iffy time. We have Solstice a few days earlier. But everyone else turns out for Xmas. What is a Pagan to do? Do we pretend like Xmas doesn't exist? Do we go along with the holiday as well as celebrate Solstice? And if you are raising children, do you follow the traditions and give them an Xmas or raise them without it?
I was raised as a Christian, Methodist to be exact. Most of my family is still Christian, Evangelical unfortunately, so we all get together on Xmas eve to exchange gifts, hang out, and some of them go to church afterward. If I were to give up the Xmas traditions, it would be hard because of my family. Granted, I could think of it as a belated Solstice gifting (which I kind of do), but it would be confusing for my young one to say that we don't celebrate Xmas but yet celebrate Xmas.
So we do a little of both. We have a bit of a ritual for Solstice, and I'm going to let him open a present for Solstice. Tonight we may wake up at horrible hours and watch the full moon eclipse! We have a tree with stars and suns and homemade ornaments. We have stockings and snowflakes. We have Santa who comes on Xmas morning.
But we have no Christ in a manger. We have the Sun God returning and bringing the light with him.
Santa is a pretty secular character anymore, and he is welcome in my home.
I feel that in getting excited for Xmas and the presents and the family, I am not just celebrating any one holiday. I am celebrating them all. It is a season for joy, for family, for hope for the coming year. It is a holiday that keeps us from going crazy as the night grows longer and longer. After all, the winter solstice is the reason for the season. ;)
What do you celebrate this time of year? Do you think Pagans should participate in Xmas traditions? Is Santa okay for Pagan families?