Christmas – Pagan or Christian?

Christmas Tree & Gifts

Christmas is a time for celebrations, time with family and gifts!

Now that the festivities have somewhat passed…Hope all of you had a lovely Christmas and Santa brought round all that you have wished for, and even more! With that aside, what does Christmas really means to us?

Christmas is the most popular holiday of the year, having millions travel to see their family, spend quite a bit on gifts, smile, give and share memories together with gifts, decorate our homes and trees, and, last but not least, have a famous Christmas Dinner. Let’s not forget it is a heavily marketed period where we get assaulted with adverts and promotions at every corner!

People love this period for various of reasons such as family, the joy of giving and receiving, but also for religious reasons. All are valid reasons, in my opinion to celebrate. Yet, when one reason is being pushed forward way too much it becomes annoying and even more if it is done so without any background knowledge. I am pointing out to all the Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts with “Christmas is for celebrating the birth of Jesus, hence CHRISTmas” or similar.

Yes, that is true, but it is not why it is called Christmas! And Christmas is not a religious celebration at roots! We merely overlapped the events! You are merely making a fool of yourself publicly because you could not do a quick, 5-minute-search to see the origins of Christmas.

So here is a little lessons in history:

The origins of Christmas go waaaay back before the actual birth of baby Jesus, where many ancient cultures celebrated changing in seasons, or even more specifically, the smallest day of the year, in the northern Hemisphere. That day was coincidentally the 25th of December. It was a day/time/period where, like today, everything shut down for a number of reasons: crops couldn’t grow, the days were cold, most people spent the time indoors.

For example, in the famous Roman empire, the government of that time would shut down for a period of two weeks or so, and, would celebrate the holiday of Saturnalia. When Christianity began, they imported the festivities of Saturnalia with hopes to overlap and attract the masses of pagans as well, which is probably why today we make this common mistake.

Christmas Pagan Origins - Saturnalia Festival

Christmas Pagan Origins – Saturnalia Festival

Of course there is more to it, but I did not have quite the time for a full lesson. And let’s not even mention Santa… However, I am sure Google is more than happy to help with that!

I do not mind the random reminders that we also celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it is part of my culture, but please, do your homework if you do feel the need to shove Jesus up others throats. Also, not to forget, it is a time where family should be cherished and always spent time with.

Happy Holidays!

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Festive Times – Stress

Christmas shoppers looking for last minute bargains

Christmas shoppers looking for last minute bargains

It is December. While we lack snow here in the UK, or at least where I live, we do not lack the Christmas spirit that haunts us all. And with it comes a lot of stress and gifts, shopping lists and relatives.

While not all of them are bad, some are horrible. Stressing is horrible, especially if you have a somewhat fear of dealing with the unexpected. Myself included. I stress even if I am five minutes earlier than my set time, not the ‘deadline’ time and because of that I realize I have a problem. Let alone shop, ship, hop on social events, make plans, make time for my special other and all of it in the span of a weekend. During the weeks I do make plans and all, but from experience, things change. And I cannot cope with change as easily as some others could, at least not in my personal life. Business and career are different. In my private life, I am too nice, too kind and pretty much give in as soon as my mother, regardless of what I had planned or anything at all, tells me “we” have to do something. Some might questions with the classic “but she didn’t even ask if you had plans!? She shouldn’t expect you to be willingly so easily!” Well, yes. But at the end of the day, we all have families and we all deal with them differently. She gives all for me, so in turn, even if I protest and complain, will bend to her will. It is the least I can do as her only child. And all of this is a stress.

I am a perfectionist, and I cannot help it unless I really need to and this is another stress. I have to pay attention to small details, and even more attention if I really enjoy doing what ever I am doing. But like all people, I miss sometimes, and that is when people notice and it gets pointed out, becoming a stress and mental torture of ” I should’ve paid more attention”, until I go to sleep. And even seven years later, before bed, I get embarrassed and stressed about something aloof I did not read out of being too tired to pay attention. We all have those moments where we are still haunted by something done in 2003 or earlier. We are humans and it is normal.

And then shopping… If you are like moi, and suffer of social anxiety shopping can be quite dreadful. Combined with the fear of staying in a shopping center for hours if you are with someone, that makes it even more stressful. I dislike shopping and would avoid it at all costs if I must. And so I did from the age of 13 until two years ago when I left the birds nest to learn to be an adult.Now I have to do my own shopping for food, clothes, gifts and so on. It wasn’t too bad but I avoided the festive times at all costs as I do get panic attacks for no reason.

This year was different, I had to go into town, half asleep and half hungover, and buy the last presents for my mother, to ship them back home. All fine and dandy until reaching Primark and a sea of women throwing clothes left and right, prams strolling all over the place and no where to breathe! It was all suffocating and disturbing for me. It did not help that my phone’s 3G died and even when it was alive, my mother took AGES to reply. Instead of taking 5 minutes to grab what she wanted, it took 45 minutes. Thankfully my partner was there to help me from breaking down. This was probably the worst experience I had so far this year. Next to the 45 minutes trip in a Sansbury’s because mother was too busy with something, I have no clue what, to tell me which sweets she wanted. But all aside, it was shipped successfully, and brought a lot of jolly too!

Now all this stress is quite classic for December, at least for me. But I’ve learned to cope somewhat with it and follow these simple bits:

  • Ask for help, use the mighty internet and do your shopping online – probably the best option as far as it goes.
  • Plan ahead the shopping gifts so you know what you are looking for. Make a list of sweets. It sounds awkward but it helps.
  • Stalk pinterest boards, they give ideas for those that have no clue of what they should get their special other.
  • And always set a budget for the things above.

Hope you have a wonderful December, Merry Christmas and a Jolly, Happy New Year!

Life Choices – Bad Isn’t So Bad

Remember that time when your mother was nagging you about choosing to go out with your friends rather than take those extra two hours to study for your maths test? Or that time where you should’ve picked the black dress over the pink one?

Well… we all make those bad choices at one point. And we cannot help it. We are humans after all. But that is not the point. How many times have you actually made a bad choice and later on decided it wasn’t so bad? Well I have…more than a dozen times.

It all starts with a good idea and then, after many thoughts before falling asleep at night, you just face palm yourself and think “what the hell was I thinking!”. And later on, when you are older, laugh about it with your friends over a pint of beer. But that is the beautiful scenario! What if instead of that you end up making a choice which you will regret for the next couple years? And worse, will take just as much to recover from it? Yes, you might all think that it will get better. It always does, but during those grim times what do you do? And if you suffer from spontaneous depression, how do you cope with it?

The solution, whether it may seem too simple or selfish, it really helped me cope. I found out that I, may, have chosen a wrong field of study for my higher education. Still in the process of deciding, but that is a topic for another time. And I really hated myself for it for quite a while. Even while doing my second year of uni. But then, I had a night where I reflected on all the good bits aside from the miserable feeling I got while doing my assignments. And it hit me!

I met really awesome people among the loads that avoided me like the plague, laughed at me for no good reason, even mocked my name, but hey lets ignore those. I’ve met two REALLY good friends, A. and K., and then my partner, who makes me feel amazing and he is there no matter what! And that really matters to me when I spend 90% of my time online or doing really introverty activities.

Long story short, I was a foreigner to a really odd and new culture that supported heavy, irresponsible drinking and loud, obnoxious, extrovert crowds and I could barely make any friends and these awesome people not only became my friends, but part of my life and taught me how their world works!

Now, a year later, I feel much more confident, I do not think this degree was such a waste of time since I do not struggle to pass, came to knew quite a few people, made friends and found an awesome boyfriend 🙂

So, are those bad choices really that bad? Sometimes, but if you think and evaluate, they might not be that bad after all of that struggle and tears!