I don't hate Christmas.
Christmas as a holiday is fine. Even for me, a non-Christian. It is okay to celebrate the fictional birthday of a holy person. It is also okay to celebrate the pagan holiday, the winter solstice, and bring evergreens indoors, burn the yule log, kiss under the mistletoe. It is a great time to visit with family and friends. To feast and give gifts.
I regret, though, that some people believe, somehow, once a year, everything bad can be made good again with a card or a present. A phone call or email. That a gesture on one day can atone for neglect or absence or ill will on the other 364.
I don't like the huge inflatable Santas, Grinches, and such like that sprout every night like nocturnal mushrooms. I don't like the white icicle lights that hang from every other house's gutters. The nets of white lights that cover shrubbery don't thrill me overmuch. Our rural energy cooperative gives prizes for the best outdoor Christmas display. Excuse me? Aren't we supposed to be conserving energy? Climate change and all that?
I don't like the crazy spending. To buy something just to buy something. I don't like that almost every toy, ornament, appliance and garment purchased by Americans this year is made in China.
I like me a home made holiday.
I like that at least once in a year we are admonished to remember those less fortunate - the hungry, the friendless, the homeless. I do wish that it weren't just once in a year. The hungry, the friendless, the homeless are among us all year 'round. I believe the essence of the holiday should be practiced all through the year, if it is going to be practiced at all.
Pray for peace. Practice good will toward all. Love my neighbor. Practice gentle loving kindness. Take care of one another. Forgive trespasses and debts.
These are the things, the acts, that I try to do every day - even though every day I fail.
The thing, though, is to try.