Let me tell you exactly how much I hate christmas

Warning: This is a rant about how much I hate christmas (hint: a whole fucking lot). If you really like christmas, or if you don’t like profanity, you should maybe avert your eyes.

Grumpy Cat meme that says, "Dashing through the no."

I hate christmas. Why? Well, because people insist on pushing their religion on me and saying things like, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “don’t take Jesus out of christmas by abbreviating it to xmas” and “YOU MEAN MERRY CHRISTMAS” when I say “Happy Holidays” because there is more than one holiday in December, and then think that somehow, despite this holiday being pervasive as fuck from September to January, there is an actual WAR on christmas*.

I’m sorry, no. Actually, I’m not sorry. Just no.

Jesus is NOT the reason for the season. Axial tilt is the reason for the season, and when you get right down to it, christmas is just Yule with a nativity scene thrown in. Everything from the date, to the tree, to the Yule log, to the lights is all pagan in origin. The only reason Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth on December 25 is because the Roman Catholic Church couldn’t totally wipe out pagan beliefs, so they just slapped Christian practices on the old pagan traditions. You still want to celebrate baby Jesus on December 25th? COOL. I support your excitement over baby Jesus.

But I don’t celebrate baby Jesus. I’m Wiccan. I celebrate Yule, which focuses on the returning of the light after the darkest day of the year. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the coming year. So again, Jesus is not the reason for my season or my celebration. Please stop trying to annoyingly convert me with cliche rhymes. It will not work.

Let’s also take a moment to talk about capitalism. People loooove to say how we should remember the true meaning of christmas is Jesus’s birth (remember, he was not born in December) and all that, while also gleefully flinging money at every store they go into to shower people they don’t even like with expensive but ultimately meaningless gifts. It’s just a bit too hypocritical for my tastes. You can say, “That’s not me! I only buy reasonably priced gifts for people I like!” and that’s cool, but you’re in the minority. And even Christians perpetuate the whole weird and kind of creepy Santa Claus thing, which probably didn’t start as capitalist but has been completely co-opted by corporations (example: pictures with Santa in every mall ever). Like, I’m sorry, but I do not want an old fat white man breaking into my house and leaving shit from goddess knows where under my Star Wars Yule tree.

Keep Calm and Bah Humbug

Then there’s the “music.” The “music” consisting of the same five songs, covered by every pop artist ever, recycled over and over and blasted at top volume for months. It’s fucking torture, and at least one clinical psychologist backs me up on this. Now you know why everyone’s so cranky in December. We all have to listen to that fucking awful “music” all the goddamned time. And half of it is explicitly religious. Which again, is probably great if you follow that particular religion, but if you don’t, it can all feel like a big FUCK YOU.

Okay. Now for the so-called “war on christmas.” No one (except me, maybe) is waging a fucking war on fucking christmas. You are a self-centered, self-righteous asshole if you think that. Because GUESS WHAT? There are other holidays in December! There’s Hannukah! And Kwanzaa! and Yule! And Saturnalia! And New Year’s Day is like, the day right after December! Also, see my point above about explicitly religious christmas music playing in every goddamned store from November to January. If explicitly religious christmas music is that pervasive, there is no war on christmas, only a war on my sanity. Just because people maybe want you to respect their holiday doesn’t mean they want to stop you from celebrating yours! I, christmas hater extraordinaire, don’t even want to stop you from celebrating your holiday! I just want you to leave me out of it. So please, do us all a favor and get the fuck over yourself. Enjoy christmas and stop trying to make everyone else enjoy it if they don’t want to!

And finally… “xmas.” Guess what the “x” stands for. Guess! It’s the first letter of Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet! And there’s a long tradition of abbreviating Christ’s name. So actually, you aren’t taking Christ out of christmas if you abbreviate, you’re just being lazy. Also, so what if someone wants to abbreviate? Does it affect you in any way? No? Didn’t think so. It’s fine if you prefer not to abbreviate, and it’s fine if you want to. Stop trying to make everyone do things your way. I mean, really. Who died and made you king of the universe?

So what, you say, you love christmas! That’s great! I’m glad there is something in this cold, cruel world that brings you joy. But just remember–not everyone is a Christian. Not everyone celebrates your holiday. So maybe try not being a dick about it?

*I have made christmas lowercase on purpose, because I hate it.

Six Years

kellydjkissToday, I have been married for six years.

This surprises people. We married young by today’s standards—I was only 23, and he, 24.

Since then we’ve switched jobs multiple times, lost our first German shepherd to kidney disease, adopted another shepherd, bought a house, gone on many, many hikes, gotten into our fair share of disagreements and fights, and spent almost every night cuddled together in bed.

Our partnership confuses people. It started with the “wedding,” which was really a Wiccan handfasting. We held it in my favorite park, and stood in the center of a circle of our closest friends and family while we said our vows and our designated priestess and priest tied our hands together with ribbon and we jumped over a broomstick (traditionally meant to bring fertility, but we modern Witches interpret “fertility” in a number of ways, not just the “get preggo and have lots of children” way).

We wrote our own ceremony, based on a version of the handfasting ritual in Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Witches Bible, and we used a self-uniting marriage license to make our partnership official in the government’s eyes.

My partner is not Wiccan, or even Pagan, but he recognizes the power of ritual, and that ritual is important to me. We didn’t want a big, fancy wedding with an expensive reception and top 100 pop hits. We didn’t want some person with power vested in him or her by some church or some state. We wanted something that had meaning to us. Something that expressed in action and words the commitment we had already made to each other, and the responsibility we accepted for each other, our furry “children,” and our partnership.

Fun was also a requirement at our handfasting.

Fun was also a requirement at our handfasting. These ladies know how to bring it.

We discussed hyphenating our last names, but ultimately decided we would leave our names intact, the way they’d always been. Of course, people assume that Thomas is my married name if they meet me first, and that my husband’s last name is my last name if they meet him first. We get mail addressed to us in all manner of last name combinations.

But what people call us and what people think of us doesn’t matter so much. It doesn’t change who we are or how we work together. The thing that matters is that we have found, in each other, true partners. We split the housework, each of us doing more or less depending on how the other feels. We work together to solve problems and come up with solutions. We reassure each other when fears and doubts surface. We love each other.

We chose Midsummer, the Summer Solstice, as the day of our handfasting because it is the longest day of the year. The sun shines at his brightest and strongest, and we hope for and work for a long, vibrant life together.

Six is a lucky number. It’s a strong, powerful number. And our sixth year together was wonderful and magical in its own way, even though we faced challenges and hardships—that’s life, right?

As we begin our seventh year as life partners, I am thankful for what we have had and what is still to come. Whatever happens, we will meet it head on, the way we always do: as partners.

Winter blessing Spring

The snow melts slowly over the candle flame, first compacting into slush and then pooling at the bottom of the mason jar. Sakura-scented incense smoke rises and curls above the altar as I hum a chant, my prayer to spring.

When the snow transforms completely to water, I begin the work of planting seeds for my garden—my first garden in my first house. A slight breeze finds its way to me through the open window, along with the sounds of children riding scooters up and down the street, calling out to each other, laughing.

I fill each egg carton cell with soil and carefully place each seed. Tomato, eggplant, celery, radish, turnip, beets, fennel, sugar snap peas, parsley, mint, dill, thyme, basil, lavender, sunflowers, coneflower.

Some of these—tomato, eggplant, peas, the herbs—I have grown before, and others are new to me. I have been reading book after book on gardening and growing food, but I learn best through experience, through working the soil loose with my hands and watching leaves and flowers unfurl.

For a final blessing I sprinkle each cell with a few drops of the melted snow–a promise for renewal, for growth. I place each egg carton in recycled plastic containers and set them on my windowsill. With dirty fingers and a happy heart, I snuff out the candle and offer thanks to the earth, to the sun, for the gift of seasons, of change, of new beginnings.