The weirdest thing about me doing all this xmas stuff is that I’m not Christian! So why do I do it at all? Am I just too weak to resist the societal pressures? The capitalistic ideologies? Am I, by participating in this all this, being a hypocrit? I don’t think so! In fact, I would argue that if anything, I am being true to my Pagan beliefs by taking part! It all really started when I was just a child…
When I was about 8/9 years old, we went to my Grandma’s for xmas as she was very poorly and dying. That particular Christmas had a big impact on me. It changed the way I saw Xmas forever. Kids aren’t stupid and at some point we do work out that Santa isn’t “real”. We struggle for a year or two trying desperately to hold on to the belief. It is as if we know that by accepting and acknowledging the reality then we must lose a part of our innocence – we must grow up. We know that Xmas will never be the same once we cross that line and we fear that change. There is no going back from it either and we are aware that if we let on that we know the ‘truth’ then the number of pressies we get will drastically reduce. We drop hints and ask tentative probing questions in the hopes that our parents, family and friends will restore our faith. We go into a phase of denial and mentally twist everything to try and convince ourselves we are just being paranoid. Spending that particular Xmas with Grandma and at that particular age was a blessing. It not only shaped the way I came to think about Xmas, but also gave me a wonderful transition from believing to knowing without losing anything. Why?
Because my Grandma Vern always – without fail – had presents under her tree for everyone from Santa. For me, she kept the magic alive throughout her life, the spirit of the myth. Although she was a Christian, the message that came across to me was that it wasn’t solely about Jesus or Christianity … it was about re-creating a bit of innocent magic for those you love. To return to your childhood and those exciting times before the myth exploded. So, like her, for me it never will fade. For me, there will always be Santa purely for the magick he brings to our lives … how much more Pagan can I get?!?!
I am glad we spent that year with her otherwise I would never have known how special she made this festive holiday. I also learned that when she was younger, struggling to make ends meet and working in a factory (where she was exposed to asbestos which she subsequently got the cancer from) that she didn’t have time to get a tree until Christmas Eve. So she would go and get the scraggliest tree, the one no one else wanted then take it home and decorate it like royalty.
I wish I could have gotten to know her more. She died the following Spring – not bad since she was originally not expected to last through the night but managed to keep going for 9 months! But at least I have a lasting legacy from that small amount of time that will last throughout my life. Bless you Grandma Vern & may Santa bestow his magick on you once again this year – wherever you are!