Holiday Remix: Christmas Vegans

December 16, 2009

In the spirit of holiday regifting, I’m dredging up another classic holiday blog post, rewritten and repackaged with a bright shiny bow!

I feel bad for people who don’t celebrate Christmas.  It’s a great holiday.  I feel almost as bad for you, as I do for the vegans who do celebrate Christmas.  They’re stuck eating Tofurky for Christmas dinner.  Doesn’t that look tasty?
Have you noticed Christians don’t really know what to do with the holidays?  We’re really conflicted.  We were fine with our holidays, as long as everyone else kept their hands off.  But almost everyone likes Christmas, so we’re not sure what we think of it now.
Some of us Christians celebrate Christmas in the traditional way.  And by “traditional,” I mean the “traditionally modern capitalistically-centered celebration with festive Jesus sprinkles on our sugar cookies” way.  We get Christmas trees, we give gifts, we bake junk food, we go to church.  We know our Christmas is a little unhealthy, but we like it anyway.

Then there are those Christians who are “getting back to basics” as Christians like to say.  You may forego the Christmas trees.  You don’t tell your kids about Santa, because you don’t want to “lie” to them.  Maybe you actually cook healthy food.  You give few, if any gifts.  Perhaps your family dresses up as a live Nativity scene…for the whole month.  Your Christmas is completely 24/7 sweet baby Jesus.
I call you “Christmas Vegans.”  You are abstaining from all the unhealthy Christmas habits the rest of us carnal, gluttous Christians still indulge in.  You’re having a Tofurky Christmas.  You claim it’s just as tasty as what we’re used to, and we should try it, but we are dubious.
And while I respect all of your decisions, you are a pain.
You didn’t try to be a pain.  Real vegans don’t try to be a pain either.  But they show up to the Fourth of July party, and while they quietly fill their plates with salad, minding their own business, I feel I have to speak up and explain just why I happen to be stuffing thirteen animal products in my face all at once.  Something about your presence causes me to need to justify myself. 
People who don’t own TVs are the same way.  Everyone will be talking about all the great reality shows, or the latest trashy episode of The Bachelor, and some book-reading “professor” will mention she doesn’t own a TV, she reads books.  Suddenly everyone’s backtracking, saying they don’t really watch it at all, trying to think of the last non-vampire book they read.  Or they say they just watch TV because they like to know what the enemy is doing (the “enemy” being Satan or NBC.)

And then some teetotaller shows up, and I guess I’m supposed to feel bad about being on my fourth hot toddy at 11 in the morning. 

So to clarify, you Christmas Vegans are a pain because your actions make me look bad.  While I’m talking about the iPod I got for Christmas, you are talking about the soup kitchen you spent all Christmas working at.  It makes me feel a little self conscious, and I’ll thank you to stop.  I feel I need to drop the phrase “reason for the season” into conversation with you, or recite the King James version of the Christmas story a la Linus from Charlie Brown.

I need you to know that I love Jesus, perhaps even more than you do.  I just love eggnog, cookies, and giving (and getting) presents too.  In fact, I can love presents and Jesus, because I just have lots of love in my heart.  Some people have enough love for big families.  I have enough love for big presents.  And I’m sorry you have such a small Grinch heart so you cannot understand that.  I’m not going to stop enjoying those things just because a bunch of pagans do that too.  Guess what?  A bunch of pagans go to church on Christmas too.  There.  I am justified.  You have nothing on me.  Enjoy your tofurky, I have a doorbuster deal to grab.

And yet…

I find myself drawn in.  There are definately more Christmas Vegans this year, I’ve noticed.  Or at least Christians who are indulging in less.  Maybe it’s the economy.  But maybe people are genuinely tired of the Christmas rat race.

And I am starting to feel the same way.  Your Christmas stinginess and scroogery is making me re-evaluate my own habits.  My wife and I realized we could simplify our Christmas just by trimming the budget.  Novel idea!  For example, we have yet to buy a Christmas tree, ever. Our tree is a trade made with my brother.  We also decided we’d trim our gifts that we purchase down by $5-$10 each.  We have also made a point that we will not visit the movies on Christmas.  That’s just our thing, and I won’t judge you if your family does go to the movies (though you are free to feel judged.) 

Wow, I can see why you Christmas Vegans are going for a simpler holiday.  I feel holier about myself already, just by telling you all that!  Do you need to re-read that list of holy things I’m doing to get some ideas about how to improve yourself?  I think I need a reward for being so awesome.  Maybe a couple extra cookies tonight.

Are you a Christmas vegan? A carnivore? What’s your favorite “worldly” part of Christmas? What part do you wish would go away?  Are you simplifying your Christmas, or do you revel in every candy cane?