The thing about Christmas is that it really makes miss living in Israel.
I don’t mean the not having it part of living in Israel.
Though yeah, I have to say it was lovely not being forcibly submerged in that unbelievably grating seasonal soundtrack, or to have to look blankly at people wanting to know what my “plans for celebrating” are.
But what I mean is that I always liked Christmas in Israel.
I lived in Israel for just over ten years and five of those years were spent in bars.
Okay. Ten of those years were spent in bars, but five were spent working in bars.
And that’s where you go when you’re in Tel Aviv and you want to celebrate Christmas.
So wherever I was working, over the course of the day, some sort of marvelously unlikely gathering would emerge.
German tourists. All the South Africans who worked at the hostel down the street. The Scottish husband of a friend of one of our regulars. A couple of Israelis who had lived in Australia for a few years and missed the atmosphere.
Some years we’d string up lights and stuff. Other times we’d forget it was even going to happen until one of the waitresses would look up and wonder out loud where all the sad-looking foreigners were coming from.
We’d play The Pogues and then everything would get lost, jumbled, as the rush began. New Year’s Eve, we’d tell them. It will be a party.
There are so many kinds of rituals.
Some intentional. Some inherited.
Some a combination of appreciating a habit that already exists.
Some demand a sense of humor.
And some are born to meet a need.
I am a fan of most of these. Rituals make me happy, in general.
The ones with meaning and power, obviously. The ones that touch my heart. But also the ones that are silly, gleeful, unexpected.
Finding my place.
In my chosen family (that would be me, my duck and my gentleman friend), we do not celebrate Christmas and have no plans to.
We do a bazillion things for the various Jewish holidays, of course. And we can kind of get into the concept of doing something for the Solstice (who doesn’t like light?) but there’s also something about it that’s too … something.
I briefly got all excited to discover that Yule is fabulously pagan.
But it still sounds too much like decorated trees and such.
Anyway. Imagine how excited I was yesterday to learn about Zombie Yule.
Here! In the comments! The commenter mice here are the best.
Permission to hide.
This was from Ms Z:
“We decided a few years ago to bow out of the holidays and invent our own. We call it Zombie Yule.
“It started out as a silly excuse to not celebrate the holidays (I loathe the holidays) and have four days to just lay around and watch zombie movies, eat decadent food, drink good beer, and not clean the house for company (the apocalypse just happens whenever, you can’t plan for it and nobody cares if your toilet is clean).
“However, as happens with these things, it just kind of grew and grew. This is the third annual Zombie Yule — a time to gather together with as many uninfected as possible and celebrate getting through another year without the zombie apocalypse (you know it is GOING to happen).
“We watch zombie movies, sing zombie songs, and play zombie games. You even have the right to board up your house and keep everyone out. It is an all purpose holiday. With shovels.”
The main thing I got from this was “the right to board up your house and keep everyone out” … and my entire being just went oh huge sigh of relief.
Because of course. If I were going to invent a holiday?
It would be one that gave you permission to hide.
And to carve out space where you belong.
So … I don’t really do zombie movies.
Though watching Sean of the Dead and drinking whiskey could work for me. I sense a tradition coming on.
Happy trying stuff.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re celebrating or not-celebrating, enjoying or avoiding (or both), whether theist, atheist or anti-theist (thank you, SF Slim), I wish you good stuff.
Good stuff like joy. And sovereignty. And patience. And playfulness. And time for yourself. And healthy boundaries.
And the ability to get better at practicing all this stuff, especially in situations where it really seems like you just don’t have any choices right now.
Happy Erev Zombie Yule, y’all.
Oh yes. I just said that.
So I will just say that my version of Zombie Yule is all about the avoidance and the drinking. No Santa. Though that gingerbread house is awesome.