What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

I spent some time yesterday afternoon perusing through the Christmas cards from family. It brought a smile to my face. People updating us on our lives, adorable pictures of cousins decked out in holiday gear, lovely family portraits and Christmas decorations adorning their homes. I make note of the relatives I need to visit. I sigh over how quickly have grown. I smile at the grandmas cuddling their grandchildren. This truly is such a lovely season. I'm not one for traditions, but the the holiday traditions ignite the warmth in my heart. They make me feel warm, fuzzy and happy.

As I sit on the couch, I look at the empty spot in the corner and lament the absence of our Christmas tree this year. I was too lazy to put it up this year. More honestly, it was a silent protest from within. My sister and I put up the tree every year. Since she moved in with her fiancĂ©e, she is no longer there to do it with me. So I simply did not have the motivation to do it. Next year, I promise myself, I will surely setup the tree. Our Christmas tree makes me happy. I like the process of wrestling with the boxes and finally hoisting up the tree. I like spending time, lips pursed, brows furrowed in concentration, carefully hanging ornaments most aesthetically. I like running the tinsel up the stairs and tantalizing my cats with bits of it. I like sitting on the couch sipping on hot cocoa and aimlessly gazing at our tree, a serene smile on our face. I like slipping Christmas presents under the tree for my family. The traditions regress me to a child and I believe in Santa Claus again. 

We may not have a tree up this year, but we do have our Christmas lights. Our most garishly colored, obsessively uncoordinated lights. I think we have one of every color and kind. Somehow this haphazard mess of multicolored mismatched lights works on our house. It looks stunningly distinct in the dark. We put up our lights for Diwali actually, but keep them all the way through winter. It is one of my dad's obsessions. Normally he would have the reindeer, Santa and other Christmas decorations up as well. I think with my sister moving out, even he has lost some of his holiday enthusiasm. But for what my father didn't do, our neighbors made up. They have this enormous inflatable Santa on their porch and their windows are full of Christmas clings.

The funny thing is we aren't Christians. We are Hindus. Christmas traditions aren't the traditions we were born or raised with. The trees, the decorations, the greetings, the gifts, the holiday goodies are all adopted traditions. Traditions that we somehow embraced and made ours through the passage of time. A decade or more ago, we wouldn't adopt the traditions of other cultures or religions. There used to be a hard line between us and them. But over time we have assimilated into our transplanted world. Making their traditions a part of our lives.

Some people say we should not celebrate religious holidays that are not our own. But I disagree. We celebrate Christmas, just like it was any other holiday. I don't know if you can call it Christmas. Call it what you will, but we celebrate it. Some people are offended that people don't understand the significance of the birth of Christ or the meaning of Christmas. But I disagree. Amidst the chaotic commercialized holiday season defined by wanton consumerism -  our warm fuzzy holiday feelings, our time together as a family, the bonding with loved ones near and far, the feeling of gratitude and joy restore the meaning to the holidays. Our celebration is not a secularization or bastardization of the holiday, but an embracing of the true spirit of gratitude, generosity, love and family.

Back home we would celebrate the likes of Diwali, Holi, Ganeshotsav. Far away from home here, we are cut off from what we know. Christmas is our alternative. I shouldn't say alternative, just something in a different time in a different way that captures a similar essence. This is how the world comes together by finding common ground and sharing cultures and traditions with each other.

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