Some folks — from humanist/atheist activists to folks in the media — have made it a tradition to phone me at the office on December 25 whenever that date falls during the work week. Some call to wish me “Happy just another day,” some just to make sure I’m there. Well, I won’t be there this year, and I figured I’d better explain why. (Spoiler alert: It’s not because I’ve succumbed to the lures of a certain holiday beloved for different reasons by many Christians and some neo-pagans.)
Here’s the background. My longtime lifepartner and more recent wife Sue has her birthday on December 27. (I sometimes think she loves me because I’m the only person she ever met who really pays attention to her birthday, being undistracted by adjacent events on the calendar.) Every year we do a little resort getaway centered on her birthday, taking advantage of the cutthroat discounts often available for stays at a destination venue between the holiday I shall not name and New Year’s.
This year, as it happened, an obscenely good discount was available, but only for a stay including the 25th. (Did I mention that this resort is owned by non-Christians?) Obviously, when you’re the Anti-Claus this poses a conundrum. I go to work on Xmas because to me, it’s just another day. But if I’m serious about treating Xmas as just another day … well, if a deal this good came along in June or July for someplace my wife and I go in the summer, I’d jump on it and put in for those days off. If Xmas is really “just another day,” then I shouldn’t be obdurate about sitting behind my desk. If it’s a day I’d take as vacation under other circumstances, then I should take that day as vacation, without regard for whether it’s also Jesus’s birthday observed.
So that’s the deal. Don’t call me at work on the 25th, I won’t be there. But fear not, I won’t be celebrating Xmas. I’ll be starting my birthday getaway with my wife a little early. Happy humbug to all and to all an ordinary day!