Today is Christmas. That special time of year when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. I am a Christian but not Catholic. Being Armenian and born in a small village in the east of Lebanon where the majority of the people are Armenian Orthodox, we always celebrated Christmas there on the 6th of January, and the evening of the 5th was Christmas eve for us. Christmas was about going to church and not about getting presents, and our Santa arrived on New Year’s eve, on the 31st of December.
As a child growing up in that village I had no problem since all my friends celebrated Christmas on the same day. We had holidays from the 30th of December to the 8th of January. Years later when I got married and moved to Dubai that became a problem. Especially after I had my kids.
In Dubai, even though there were no Christmas decorations in the shops and on the streets back then, the shopping malls had beautiful Christmas trees and Santa was in business as usual. If you wanted your kids to have a picture with Santa you had to register your child and pay a certain fee, which we did in almost every mall for them!
To keep our tradition and our culture alive though, we celebrated Christmas on the 6th and Santa for my kids came on the 31st of December. My kids would write their letters to Santa and wait for him long after most of their friends had already received their presents. And since they went to an international school, on the 2nd of January it was back to school again. So my husband and I decided that Santa for our kids would come on the 24th, after family dinners, so that like most of their friends they would have time to enjoy their toys during the holidays. But we also made sure that there would always be something for them under the tree on New year’s eve too. And that became our own family tradition.
Whatever it is you celebrate, whenever it is customary for you to celebrate, make sure to do so with some prayer and some faith, because after all faith is believing in things when common sense tells us not to.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!