I was intrigued by the fact that when I asked y'all about winter holidays, you mentioned thanksgiving. (many thanks for the answers, btw!) I hadn't thought of it as a winter holiday, but I suppose it is. I loathe thanksgiving; I didn't like it as a child because it meant eating food I didn't really like (the only thing I ever liked was the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie) and doing a shitton of dishes, all for no particular reason, followed by people doing frenzied shopping. I didn't know then that it was based on a whitewashing racist lie, and when I found out the extent to which it was a lie I hated it more. It's fucking awful and shouldn't exist. But I go to Topaz's family gather because I want to show the family that I care about them and my presence at this food sharing day is a way that they can understand that.
I used to love christmas, but even though I was very christian as a child, I didn't associate it with Jesus (and I never believed in Santa as my parents didn't want to teach me a lie, and I never approved of any white american childhood myths except the tooth fairy). What I love is the fairy lights and giving spirit -- it is a capitalist holiday to be sure, but it is also a time when people do try harder than other times to be kind to each other, if they are given to kindness to begin with. I find light and color to be magical and seeing many people participate in sharing colorful light with each other is enchanting to me. I am glad that christmas exists because of this.
Christmas was important to me until I realized what Solstice was, and then all of my feeling for christmas transferred over to Solstice. The day the light begins to return -- there is really nothing more magical to me. Not only do I have SAD which is set off by dark days and cold, but I also worship light as the most tangible form of magic. I celebrate with lights, a decorated tree (living in a pot), presents, and connection with people I love. I love love love that so many of my favorite people have spent the past few solstices with me. I like that there is a nearby holiday that is NOT on my holiday because that means I don't have to work around people's familial obligations, but I still get to revel in all the reflected excitement from others at the same time.
In 2011 Kylei and I hosted Solstice, and it was amazing and cozy and magical and Adi made eggnog and there was a giant cuddle puddle. In 2012 Kylei and I hosted again and it was wonderful and there were fairy lights EVERYWHERE. Last year was my favorite so far -- I hosted and made a gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce (one of my 3 dishes that I am super good at making) and fed EVERYONE and people spent the night and had breakfast in the morning and it had the biggest cuddle puddle ever and a long game of truth-or-truth and I had such excellent presents for people. This year I think it will be even better, because I am closer to many of the people who are coming and they are closer to each other. Also, I won't have any newbies to babysit -- I liked that Aurilion came last year but it split my focus because I was so worried about them having no one but me that they knew, and also worried because they were not someone I could trust to know to ask people before touching, or value a different opinion as equal to their own. I didn't even realize this was a thing until the celebration had begun, which makes me realize how fucking lucky I am in my friendships: that's something I usually don't have to worry about. My house agreements are something I usually share with everyone before they come over but it just didn't occur to me that I might need to go over them with someone I already felt close to. Also I feel happy that Topaz will be able to more fully participate since it's at their house and they won't have to deal with terrible allergies or be sober due to a future drive.
Giving gifts is very important to me. I want to get people things that will have personal meaning to them, that will show them I know them and value who they are. My ideal gift for someone is something that is meaningful to them AND me, that is tailored to them yet something I would also enjoy owning (this is hard to find!). There is a little bit of sacrifice in my best gifts. I like receiving gifts but I like giving them more. If I could give each person something that would make them feel known and loved, I would be happy getting no gifts (as long as people assured me that it wasn't because they didn't care, because being left out stinks). It used to be that if I couldn't find you the perfect gift, you got nothing -- now I tend to try to find some consumable that the person will like, because I like that better.
I don't care much about New Years for myself, but it is very important to Kylei and Abby and thus has significance by proxy -- I like to celebrate with Kylei and Abby in whatever way feels best for them.