Walking home yesterday, with my friend David (who parks at our house), we passed a house with no Christmas lights. I explained that they were Jewish, and so they didn't have to do Christmas.
That got me thinking. Maybe I'm going about this all wrong. Rather than being anti-Christmas, which I am, I should be pro-something else that precludes Christmas. "Gosh dear, I would love to help string up the lights, but I observe holiday "x" instead." Sounds good, no? So the question becomes, which holiday. Here are some possibilities:
Hanukkah. Positives: Some of the food rituals sound cool. Negatives: the holiday itself is 8 days long. I'm looking for holiday-lite.
Winter Solstice: Positives: Celebrating the days starting to get longer. That would be cool. Also there are lots of culture variations in what is done, so I could pick and choose. Only one night, usually, so I wouldn't have a whole season. Negatives: pagan-connotations, also celebrations sometimes involve running around outside, and it's kind of cold this time of year.
Festival of Reason. (David's suggestion) It's from the French Revolution era, and from Wikipedia: "The Cult of Reason was celebrated in a carnival atmosphere of parades, ransacking of churches, ceremonious iconoclasm, in which religious and royal images were defaced, and ceremonies substituted the martyrs of the Revolution for the martyrs of the Church." Pluses: I have far too little ceremonious iconoclasm in my life, and I like the rowdy aspect of this holiday. I wonder if I could incorporate a food fight? Negatives: My pastor Ben probably wouldn't go for me trashing the church once a year. Also, the holiday is in November, so it might not get me out of Christmas stuff.
Festivus. For those who don't know here's a description: "The holiday is celebrated each year on December 23, but many people celebrate it at other times, often to avoid the Christmas rush. The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him/her over the past year. Also, after the Festivus meal, the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, the holiday only ending if the head of the household is actually pinned it." I love the playful nature of it, plus the flexible dates of it. Negatives: not sure I could convince anyone I was serious about it. (It was popularized in the Seinfeld show).
So, what do you think? Any suggestions on which would be best? Other possibilities?