Happy Holidays everyone! I love this time of year. For a huge number of people, this is a time for celebrating with light and warmth, friends and family, good food and music. Of course, as a pagan, I am looking forward to Yule on the 21st, with its particular magic. It is a very special festival to me, being one of the first I celebrated as a pagan, at the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury. The day always feels tingly with magic.
But I also dearly love Christmas. To paraphrase Tim Minchin, I don’t believe in an old religion that glorifies the persecution and murder of a man who was trying to spread a message of peace, nor do I particularly like the way a religious holiday has been stolen and turned into a consumerist nightmare, but I do like the songs. The music, the lights, and my homemade Christmas cake (already baked in October, and maturing with the assistance of rum and brandy as I write) all make for a heady concoction that I wouldn’t give up for the world.
I also enjoy the tradition at my kids’ school, which every year holds a Winter Lights Festival that tells the story of various light festivals from around the world, with each year group focussing on a particular religion or region and creating a performance showcasing their festival.
And that is why I tend to say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas or Blessed Yule. Everyone has their own celebration at this time of year, or choose to have none, but I am not in a position to assume that I know which holiday or holidays the person I am speaking to is celebrating, and I certainly wouldn’t want to impose my own beliefs on someone else. Happy Holidays encompasses everything I want to say; I wish you joy and peace.