One Christmas morning, when I was 8 or 9 years old, I woke up excited as usual, but this year I was also a bit worried.
I realized I had never been to anyone else’s home on Christmas morning –- that I had always celebrated with just my parents, my older brother, and younger sister. It occurred to me that maybe we were doing everything wrong.
“What does everyone else do on Christmas morning?” I asked my mother.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I have no idea.”
That answer made me even more uneasy, as I assumed there was some guide book, written by Santa himself, which everyone else followed.
“But what if we aren’t doing it right?”
“What does that matter?” replied my father.
“It matters,” I couldn’t believe I had to explain this to the adults, “because we could be forgetting important things we’re supposed to do.”
They both laughed.
“Honey,” said my mom, “we can do whatever we want to do on Christmas.”
Are you saying our entire culture is contrived by us — not dictated by some higher force? We simply agree to follow an accepted set of norms and rituals, but in fact they aren’t set in stone? That nothing would happen if we dressed in Halloween costumes on Christmas, or celebrated Christmas a month later, or even skipped Christmas all together?!
That morning, I found out the answer was yes, yes, and yes.
At first, I was shaken by this mind-boggling, earth-shattering realization, but eventually it became liberating. I came to understand that the trappings didn’t matter at all. And that measuring ourselves against what others do (or get) wasn’t the point.
The point of Christmas, whether it’s steeped in religion or not, is the deeper meaning behind the holiday… which all boils down to one thing: love.
Obviously, Santa knew that all along.
So go ahead and celebrate like nobody’s watching! Because, the wonderful truth is, nobody’s watching 🙂