We haven't yet reached the stage where we have to refer to Happy Holidays rather than Happy Christmas but I suppose it won't be long before we have to conform...
Bearing in mind I gave up being a Christian many moons ago I don't mind in the very slightest saying 'Happy Christmas' to all and sundry...and I cook a Christmas dinner and send out Christmas cards and have a Christmas tree...and I choose the cards to suit peoples beliefs...those of my friends who are religious receive a traditional card of the Nativity for instance or an Angel...though I have to own up and say any religious friends are out there in the cyber world, but I know how they feel so their cards are appropriate...
I like the Nativity displays in every village and town...the carefully placed Plaster of Paris figures and the little wooden cradle...some are bedecked with pretty lights and some are plain and simple...others have Donkeys and the occasional cow. Depends on what the parish can afford I suppose.
But I also love looking at the miniature villages some shops have in their windows...tiny trains running round an endless track with little figures of people skating and shops lit up from the inside...I'll stand there like a little child with my nose pressed up to the window to see what else there is...
I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25th...but it doesn't matter much when you think...He needed a birthday and it fell close enough to the Winter Solstice so why not...
The country I live in and the place I call my home is Christian...and in much the same way I've adapted and grown to accept other aspects of living in a staunchly Roman Catholic country so I accept willingly the Christmas traditions...
Just because I decided that it wasn't the belief for me doesn't mean I can't respect and welcome the Irish way.
There is no need...as far as I can see...to make a huge production out of a few days in the middle of winter which has been referred to as Christmas for the last couple of thousand years...
Supposing I went to live in China...they don't celebrate the Christmas...many people in mainland China don't celebrate their birthdays either come to think...I wouldn't expect all the Chinese people in my area to fall over backwards trying awfully hard not to hurt my feelings because it was the 25th of December...
Even the Jehovah witnesses who used to call on a regular basis, laughed when I asked...without thinking...would you like to order a free range turkey for the Christmas? I went scarlet when I realised what I'd said...they thought it was funny and certainly didn't take offence...
If you should believe the moon is made of blue cheese or we are all descended from aliens or you're a fully paid up member of the Flat Earth Society...then that's grand altogether...doesn't bother me in the slightest as long as you don't boil babies in deserted graveyards...but if you feel so strongly about being descended from aliens or that the earth is flat...could you perhaps not expect the rest of us to follow suit. Couldn't we just leave Christmas be...could we still creep about in the pitch dark while falling into muddy puddles while we try to steal a decent tree from the forestry without worrying about whether or not to call it a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree...
Can I still call out Merry Christmas, to someone I know across the road without feeling I've offended anybody in so doing...
Please may small people wait anxiously to see if they are going to play the part of Mary in the school play and not be relegated to 'an onlooker'...and could they still stumble over their lines and wave to Mummy and push and shove each to get to the front of the stage...it is what we do you see. It is all part and parcel of living in Ireland or England...we might not believe in the same god...we might not believe in Christmas at all...but if you choose to make your home here then it is part of the deal.