Thursday, December 18, 2014

Don't They Know It's Christmas?

There are millions of people in this world who don't celebrate Christmas: Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews, to name but a few. (OK, I know that many adherents of those faiths might observe Christmas, but it isn't officially one of their religious festivals). But here in Crapchester the prevailing view is that there must be something wrong with them, that by simply not participating in another culture's festivals they are somehow dissing the whole institution of Christmas. At least, that's the impression I've been getting of late. For some reason, many people around here find it hard to accept that others might, for their own reasons, decide either to not celebrate Christmas, or just observe it in their own way. Personally, I don't observe Christmas as a religious festival. I'm an atheist, after all. To me, it is simply a traditional midwinter celebration which afford a convenient time to take a break from work. As such, I'm not much interested in many of the secular aspects of Christmas: cards, decorations or Christmas parties. But apparently that isn't right. My annual avoidance of the office Christmas party usually goes unremarked. But every so often it seems to upset someone and they try to get me to participate in some way.

This year was a case in point. The fact that whilst it was going on elsewhere I was at my desk working seemed to be problematic for some individuals. Perhaps they interpreted it as some kind of passive aggressive 'comment' on proceedings. In reality it was simply a case of me having work to do - I have this crazy idea that the quicker I can get my desk work out of the way, the sooner I can get back on the streets, do the main part of my work, finish and get back home. Besides, I wasn't alone, a friend and colleague who happens to be a Jehovah's Witness and doesn't celebrate Christmas was also working, (every year she gets people trying to cajole her into participating in the annual office Christmas rituals, despite her position being well known). I honestly don't know why some people find it so hard to accept that I'm simply not interested in and have no desire to engage with this particular seasonal ritual. The fact is that I simply don't enjoy such events - I find them stressful and pointless. However, I really have no problem with other people attending office parties, but personally, I'm not interested. I only get annoyed when people persistently ignore my non-interest and try to involve me in it - why is it so hard for them to grasp that some of us simply observe the festive season in a different way? It isn't illegal, you know.

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