For me, Christmas has nothing to do with religion. It never did, as far back as I can think. Christmas always was a holiday for the family and loved ones, a holiday for coming together. It was a holiday of being close and enjoying a break from the insanity of life.
Christmas means snow falling from the sky in an endless dance of joy. Nights with dark orange sky and fresh snow shining like diamonds. Smoke lifting into the sky like gray doric columns from tall brick chimneys. Mountains covered in white, only the dark green of firtrees breaking the heavy blanket of white. Cold, very cold, and children that ignored it on in snow ball fights.
Christmas means children singing carols from door to door for hot bread, and money and nuts. It means trees that smell of forests raisig tall with gloges and lights. Days of cooking and white tablecloths. Christmas means families getting together.
Or at least, this is what Christmas used to mean. Sitting with my brother undr the tree, next to a hot terrcotta stove, telling stories and sharing dreams. Cooking with my mother in the kitchen and gossiping with my sister. A glass of crisp red wine with my father. Presents opened late at night in the Christmas Eve.
It is nt the same anymore. Now Christmas means endless days of rain. Maybe not to the extent it used to. This year the entire summer is only dark, gray, killing rain.
It is now living out of memories and tears from missing my loved ones. A plactic green tree that I decorate wth my children at the begining of December. Cooking mostly on my own, dishes innapropiate to the heat of Australia. Presents opened while the sun is still up behind the clouds on Christmas Eve. The carols come off YouTube, and start with adds.
Only my children are here. I drink a glass of wine only with myself as company, dreaming of being there, far away, with crisp smell of snow and a family that is way too far away, on the other side of the planet...
Christmas now is only rain and bitter knowing that one more year has passed since I could be with my loved ones.