Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and happy Friday to those who don't.
I don't actually believe in the religious aspect of the celebration, but in modern America, well, for better or worse, that belief isn't exactly required to celebrate.
I like the presents and the food and visiting the extended family who we don't see all that often. I like the time off of school and the decorations and the music and the shopping. I like Christmas, the non-religious aspect of it.
Every year, we celebrate for a few days: first, usually on the 23rd, we visit one set of grandparents, a great aunt, and an uncle plus family (his wife and kids) in a city about two and a half hours a way. We have Christmas dinner, exchange gifts, and stay the night. We go home Christmas eve, and don't have any set plans; sometimes we open a present, but no set plans. On Christmas day, we go visit the other set of grandparents, and an aunt plus family (fiance and kids and my cousin's girlfriend), in a city about forty minutes away. We have Christmas dinner and exchange gifts, again, and often play some kind of game (Apples to Apples this year). Finally, my other aunt plus family (husband and kids) get into town on the 26th, and there is yet another big dinner and a smaller exchange of gifts.
This year, I got mostly practical gifts, just things I needed, from people who understand my need to live out of a suitcase while in school--a case for my laptop, a planner for 2010, a new messenger bag purse, one of my favorite miquelrius m8 notebooks, and a bunch of consumable packaged food that they don't actually have (or is not easy to find) in Germany (because I have stuff there I'll need to take back in June, so I have more luggage allowance than I can actually use in January with things I'll need to take back in June). Plus a few things that I don't need and won't even have room for in my suitcase, from people unable to appreciate life out of a couple of suitcases. It wasn't a big Christmas--gift aren't usually big and expensive in my family. I know it frustrated me as a kid, when all my friends got fancy electronics, and I never did. But, I got over it, mostly.
In other news, I am pretty sure Kwanzaa is a made-up holiday that no one I know has ever celebrated.