Christmas has always been a pagan time of year.
Somewhere around the 4th Century, the Church picked December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ's birth in a special "Christ's Mass". The date was selected so that the Christians could compete with established pagan winter feasts like Saturnalia, Juvenilia and Samhain. The New Testament has nothing to say about the day or month that Christ was born on. Making Jesus a Capricorn was strictly a marketing ploy.
As I've watched Christmases slide by over the past few decades, it seems to me that the pagan nature of the festival has started to assert itself more and more. It has become a festival in which we throw ourselves into excess with as much noise, light, alcohol and food as we can lay our hands on.
Christmas parties are a time to get pissed enough to have the courage to try and get off with the girl from accounting with the big tits and the heart-shaped arse, while still having plausible deniability if you fail to pull or fail to get it up or fail to remember her name in the morning.
Christmas is a time when gangs of well-fleshed young women strut through night-dark streets, in tiny Santa's Little Helper uniforms that flash more flesh than they make the effort to stretch over.
Christmas is a peak time for the sale of sex toys and fluffy handcuffs and nickers with "I'm Your Christmas Ho Ho Ho" printed across the arse.
Men's magazine's run jokey articles on the best positions for a festive fuck, with illustrations of "The Sleigh," "Jingle Balls", "The Reindeer" and, inevitably perhaps, "Come All Ye Faithful".
None of this is my kind of thing.
My Christmas is indeed pagan. It centres not on a born-to-die-for-me baby with parents too clueless to book accommodation when they traveled – that lack of practicality makes a virgin birth almost plausible. My Christmas centres on celebrating life; specifically my wife's life and the fact that she continues to share it with me.
When we were in our teens, Christmas Day belonged to our families and we would spend it apart, so we developed the habit of celebrating on Christmas Eve beneath the Christmas Tree. We were young. We were not having sex. And yet one of the strongest sense memories I have is what it felt like to kiss and be kissed in the soft glow of the Christmas Tree lights:
For me these are the pagan spirits Christmas evokes each year.
I hope as many of them as you would wish for find you this Christmas Eve.