It's that time of year again. The time of year it's hard to be a decent person without offending someone by simply imparting a genuine well-meaning wish of merriment to them.
That's right boys and girls, it's the end of December, otherwise known as "Wish-me-Merry-Christmas-or-else-you-just-told-me-to-go-fuck-a-two-headed-goat" season.
It's complicated for me. I'm not Christian, Mac's not Christian and Nixon doesn't even know what a church is. I'm trying to impart some basic pagan ideals on Nixon, but not so much that it's influencing who he is. I'm also trying to include other religions when we talk about the holidays of the season.
It started with our tree. I can't ever have a "real" tree in my house. Why? Because it's a tarted up corpse of a tree. The minute it's cut, it's already dying. I can't, in good conscience, pay for a tree corpse to put up in my living room and water to keep the illusion of a live tree going.
Nixon went with me to get all our winter decorations from our storage unit, including our black christmas tree! I bought it last year and I love it! It's fake as can be, it's pre-lit and I wouldn't have it any other way. I mean I know my tree is fake, I'm not pretending it's not, so why not embrace it and go really fake?!?!
Nixon asked why our tree is in a box.
me: Nixon, when you cut down a tree is it alive or dead?
Nixon: It's dead!
me: Would you want a dead tree in the living room, with ornaments and lights on it?
Nixon: No, trees should be in the ground.
me: That's why our tree is in a box. Because it's fake and I don't feel bad about decorating it. If we had a real tree in the house, it wouldn't be alive and it'd be thrown out after the New Year. Once a tree is cut, it can't be replanted. It's very sad to me.
Nixon: I like our box tree!
I've also started telling him a little bit about the Pagan beliefs of Yule. Yule is the celebration of the return of the sun after the longest night of the year (Winter Solstice). The tree is symbolic of life, and lights help brighten the dark winter nights. There's more, but I'm keeping it simple since this is the first year I've really started explaining it to Nixon.
I told him most importantly, this time of year is to be grateful for our friends and family. We should appreciate what we have in our lives and be generous and kind to others less fortunate than ourselves. He took that last part to heart when he and Mac went shopping for my christmas gift. We have talked about Toys for Tots more than once with Nixon, so he understands the toys are for kids who might otherwise not have gifts under their trees. As he and Mac were checking out, the cashier asked if they'd like to donate to Toys for Tots. Nixon quickly said "YES!" and even chose the toy that would be donated and put it in the box! When they came to meet me, Nixon was bursting with the news of helping a little boy/girl get a gift for christmas! My heart swelled with pride that he was so happy with his donation!
I worry sometimes, that he doesn't appreciate what he has. He always wants another toy, even if he just got something 10 minutes ago. It seems like he's always taking and not giving, but his generosity at the store and for Toys for Tots proved to me that he does understand on some level at least that it's not always about him, and he does think of others.
We do most of our talks in the car these days. It's when I have his undivided attention, unless it's snowing outside, and it's when we talk about almost everything in a serious manner.
He asked why some houses were lit-up and some weren't. I told him not everyone put lights outside and then I added, not everyone celebrates the same way. Some people celebrate other holidays and that's okay.
It's hard keeping it on a 5-year-old level without missing the meaning entirely. Nixon's been really great this year and has been asking a lot of questions. He also helped me decorate the tree! And picked where we'd hang our stockings this year.
.....And he sat with Santa, of course!