Christmas not just for Christians

Helen Fagan, Examiner Editor

Bing Crosby really wasn’t kidding when he said that this is the “most wonderful time of the year.” Living in Chicago, it’s hard to not get in the holiday spirit watching the snow fall and listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” on 93.9 MYFM.

If you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or anything in between, I encourage you to embrace all that the season has to offer. This experience doesn’t have to be in a religious sense—I, for one, don’t identify with the whole Baby Jesus/born in a manger story of Christmas.

Granted, there is a religious side to Christmas that is a very valid, and special one. But this is a side that only those of the Christian faith can truly identify with.

The reality is—Christmas is no longer simply a Christian holiday. There are so many more wonderful values and emotions that Christmas brings to light than those surrounding Jesus’s birthday.

Whatever you believe, (or don’t believe) there is something about Christmas that everybody can identify with and love.

I love the snow. I adore how the trees and roads look in a blanket of white. Driving in a snowstorm and sliding around all over the unplowed roads gives a little bit of unpredictability that I crave. When I’m driving around on a snowy afternoon, and “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas” plays on the radio, I can’t help but feel festive and content. Everything is a little bit more light, and a little bit more beautiful when there’s snow on the ground.

Plus, snow isn’t Catholic or Christian or Jewish. The weather is delightfully nonpartisan. Priests, monks, Hillary and Trump supporters alike can all experience its beauty without hesitation.

I realize it can be difficult to see the beauty of Christmas. As with any other holiday, companies have taken over, clouding the true spirit of the holiday with 50% off sales and cheesy Hallmark cards.

But in between the shopping and tchotchke, Christmas has also created beautiful melodies such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and the iconic (though it may be a little cheesy) Mariah Carey song, “All I Want For Christmas is You.” (I’m a fan of the extra-festive version).

Don’t let #Elfie sweaters and ruin your holiday season. I assure you, that if you look past the 30% off deals and neon light-up Rudolphs, there is something about this time of year that will really capture your heart.

The whole gift-giving thing really clouds over Christmas as well. Spending money and giving gifts, of course, brings loads of stress with it. In a new relationship, it brings the questions of; “How much money should I spend?” and “Are we exchanging gifts at all?”

Plus, it’s difficult to get away from the materialism surrounding the holiday. We are all, in some deep, dark part of ourselves, materialistic. The prospect of being showered with beautifully wrapped gifts is something that’s too tempting to ignore.

All these vices aside, everyone can find something in the true spirit of Christmas to celebrate. Christmas is really about family, tradition, and love.

No matter how you may feel about your family, Christmas brings people together. Sure, some people use the holiday to fly out to some tropical place. They say they’re “avoiding Christmas” or “it’s not like Christmas”, but in reality, on these vacations, even if you don’t have a Christmas tree, you’re still spending quality time with your family—the same thing those who are going to Christmas Eve mass are doing!

And no matter what insane things happened this year that you had the pleasure of reminiscing about in this issue of the Examiner, Christmas always remains the same. People will still make cookies and decorate Christmas trees regardless of who is President. Barring global warming, in Chicago it will always snow in the winter, even when our world is plagued by terror and violence.

In the midst of all chaos, Christmas is a constant. Because it brings stillness in a world of chaos, it brings peace. Even if you don’t decorate a Christmas tree or have ever believed in Santa Claus, anyone could benefit from the tranquility that Christmas brings.