I have been uncharacteristically busy lately. In fact, at some points I’ve wondered how I should find the time for school, work, homework, and getting an hour of gaming or writing in. But that should be over for now, and a yawning gulf of time will span until this term is over.

As is usual at this time of year, I have competing offers of where to spend Christmas. Mum wants me to come up to Coventry and spend it with her before she loads her things and head back to Sweden. Dad wants me to come to Sweden, and wants me to spend a more normal time with him and his new woman. Mark’s parents wants us to come to Wiltshire – probably so that Mark can help his mother with chores around the parish.

Last Christmas Mark and I were apart. He was in Wiltshire, and I was in Sweden with my dad. This year, that’s not going to happen. We did our family duties then, and this year we’re going to go – if we go anywhere – together. Actually, I’ve got a mind to not go anywhere at all. For once, if the relatives want to see us, they can come here to this town.

I can well imagine pottering about decorating things, and hopefully, for once, I’ll be able to square being atheist with preparing for this holiday. Maybe the theme we have should be ‘The God Delusion’? Yes, instead of Christian idolatries, we’ll put up effigies of Hitchens, Stephen Fry, and Richard Dawkins. Unfortunately, Mark is too traditional and would protest. Probably.

But you know what? The idea of decorating for this holiday appeals to me. I can see us doing all the traditional things: getting a plastic tree, dressing it, cooking the food, and so on. I wouldn’t protest. I think it could be nice if the two of us did that. Screw the religious aspects – it’s for family, our little family, and there’s no harm in doing that? I don’t have to be so principled that I deny us what’s nice. I don’t have to be a zealot. Right?

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