Monday, August 3, 2020

Holiday decoration

I live in an apartment in suburbs, in a high-rise. Our apartment is a 60 sq.m. apartment (About 650 sq.ft). There is a big living room, a hallway, a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom and a balcony.
I am holiday crazy, so I want everything decorated from floor to ceiling.

It helps to divide the area one needs to decorate into sections, go through everything on paper, and then decorate it in one go, as it's best to store all the decorations in types, rather than "kitchen decorations" - that makes it easier to store them, see new possibilities in decorations, switch up things a little, and mend and replace certain items. If all your lights are in one box (or set of box, if you have a lot), you can just take that box out of the storage and put it back when the fix is done.

I start in the order people enter my home, that is, at the front door.
As I live in a high rise, multiple home house, the fire safety is important, and all the decorations outside the apartment should be kept flat and fire resistant. There shouldn't be any loose parts that can fall to the floor as people pass the door, as that causes more work to the cleaning personnel. I nevertheless choose to put a small wreath on my front door. Ideally it would be painted metal.

Scott Gustafson - St. Nicholas in His Study

The fun really starts when one opens the door. I usually try to put the punch in at the entryway, to create the sensation of entering magical fairyland, almost like stepping through a portal to Narnia or Santa's workshop or something seasonally appropriate like that. To create that, one is to be greeted by all the five senses - now - in practice it's only three, as taste and touch are basically impossible to stimulate without the participation of the subject :-D But, it should look magical, smell magical and sound magical. It is, of course, appropriate to give the people entering an opportunity to taste and touch as well, so there is a welcoming treat table at the door, and things that invite people to touch them.

Now, this magical fairyland shouldn't hinder the use of the entryway.
The entryway has two uses - one for the people who live in the home and another for guests. Both should be accommodated. My idea of how to "season" this is to make it feel as if you entered the seasonal fairy's home. :-D
(The seasonal fairy - at Yule that's Santa, of course. At Ostara the Bunny. You see, "fairy" is a name for a magical being of any description, and each Sabbath has a "personification".)
Of course, I imagine all these fairies' homes to be different, but mine is the same all the time - and I am not a personification of a Sabbath :-D So I have to disguise my personal items, to fit the theme. It's like giving your home a masquerade costume.

In my hallway this means:
- the rug
- chair covers
- garland framing the doorways made of seasonal floristry (for example, at Yule it's evergreens, at Mabon Autumn leaves)
- I hang the holiday cards on the mirror frame
- the pictures are either changed to seasonally appropriate images or "holidaised" :-D (bunny ears on people in pictures, or santa hats etc.)

The second part of the apartment is the bathroom, which is going to be used by everyone, household and guests alike.
It is important to me that the bathroom is clean, and feels clean, too, so there shouldn't be that much things. Basically just the season appropriate textiles, towels, and so on.

The living room is on the one end of the apartment, so I'll tackle that next.

There are a couple of special spots in the living room.
1) the big window. It is important to me to decorate the windows in every room, and this, the biggest of them all, is extra special.
2) the tableau scene
3) the sweet table - here will be all the candy, cakes and other such things set on the Big Day, and the candy will be here during the whole holiday season.
4) the "tree"

Also, the sofa needs to be decorated with seasonal textiles, cushions and blankets, the mantelpiece needs to be decorated, and the coffee table.

The kitchen is on the other end of the apartment

Now, I do have a "back door" to my apartment, as I have a balcony, and that door can be decorated as lavishly as I wish :-D I usually decorate my balcony as if it was my porch.
I also try to remember that that area is what the neighborhood sees, so it's a bit of my "Christmas light" area - a gift to my neighbors and a reminded of what the season is all about.
We also see the balcony from our kitchen table, so that needs to be minded as well when decorating the balcony. What goes on should be enjoyable from inside as well, and I don't want to hide the God's decorations either - after all, what goes on in the nature surrounding the house and the neighborhood is more important than what I decorate :-D I want to see the changing of seasons in the nature as time goes by.

The last is the bed room, where the guests aren't welcome :-D (of course they may enter if I want to show them something, but bedrooms are private.)

I have created myself a handy little table about the correspondences of the different Sabbaths. It is easy to just "convert" an idea to fit any Sabbath.
I love the creativity of people celebrating different holidays, especially Christmas and Halloween, and this makes it possible for me to extend my own imagination to decorate for the lesser known Sabbaths, like Lughnasadh. The poor darling... 


colors of soil and root vegetables


ice blue
black, grey
colors of soil and stones 
snow and ice

pastel colors


colors of water and sun/fire

colors of grain and cereals
straw, dry grasses

colors of wine, grapes, and autumn leaves
ear of wheat
Birth of the Sun


Death of the Sun

Ceres and Persephone


snow people 

fire creatures
snow people 
Easter bunny
sprites, elves
water creatures 
the fairy people who live in mounds
fauns and nymphs
black cats
robin and other winter birds
burrowing animals

red and white winterbirds, like bullfinch, redpoll and snow bunting
white deer
spring birds, especially lark and finch
leopard and other spotted cats
hunting dogs
black :-D
bare branches
Christmas flowers, like poinsettia, Christmas rose, hyacinth etc.
white flowers

spring flowers, especially crocus, tulips
wood anemone
lily of the valley
summer flowers, especially the ones that bloom on meadows,
- birch
poppy, cornflower, daisy – flowers that bloom on corn fields
chrysanthemums and dahlias

So, how to use this?
You find a nice photo, but let's say it's a photo of a Christmas decorated kitchen, and you want to change it to fit your Lammas. It has cute little café curtains made of a jolly Christmas print. So, get cute little café curtains made of a jolly Lammas print. There's plenty of prints with wheat, but if you can't find any, take something with soft sage green or gold.
There is a large wreath in the window. That's easy to replace, with a wheat wreath or similar.
The kitchen textiles should, obviously, be Lammas themed, green, golden brown, wheat colored, yellow, maybe with roosters. Gingerbread houses are perfect for Lughnasadh, but not decorated with white icing, because it's not winter - duh :-D Change the garland into one with lammas motives and colors. You can't find a lot of these special holiday items for Pagan Sabbaths in stores, but you can make a lot of them yourself.

Now, there's a lot of witches, ghosts, bats and cats around for Halloween, but not much for the Autumn feasts - at least not the same style. I can find something similar, easily, for Ostara, Yule and Samhain, but the rest of the feasts are a lot more difficult. Now, for Mabon, I replace things with forest animals, especially foxes and squirrels.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

First day of Autumn :-)

Some years ago I created myself an "Autumn bucket list", to be done from 1st of August to 31st of October - or Lammas to Samhain. So, this year I am actually going to do it :-D

Now, there is one specific thing (and I say "one", even though there are several points on "that thing") on that list, that will cause me some problems:

"Have a teddy bears' picnic, October 27th (The International Teddy Bear Day)"

"Host or attend a fall festival with fun games, crafts, and prizes!"

"Celebrate Lughnasadh August 2nd"
Yes, it should be on the list, but isn't... 

"Stay up late and watch the harvest moon 28/9"
The harvest moon is on October 1st. Which means, there is 2 full moons in October, the other, the Blue Moon, falls on... Samhain :-D YAY!

"Celebrate Rosh Hashanah September 14."
18th of September this year.

"Celebrate Yom Kippur September 22."
27th of September this year

"Celebrate Sukkot September 28-October 5"
2nd-9th of October this year.

"Celebrate the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival September 27"
1st of October. (Which also happens to be my husband's birthday :-D)

"Celebrate Mabon 23/9"
22nd this year

"Celebrate National Potato Day, 19/8"

"Celebrate Oktoberfest"
Should have happened 19/9-4/10, but is cancelled because of Corona, but I wouldn't have been able to go to Germany in any case, so that is not a problem.

"Have a Halloween bonfire with hot apple cider"

"Have a Halloween masquerade party with apple bobbing"

Why will this cause me problems? You know, I always have big plans and then it fizzles into nothing.

Autumn Bucket List
Autumn Crafts

Thursday, July 30, 2020

2 days to Lammas, 7 weeks to Mabon, 13 weeks to Samhain...

Time passes, whether you are ready or not...

Another Lughnasadh I won't be celebrating... much. *sigh*
I really hate the fact that I'm sick, and don't have the energy to do what needs to be done.

I so want to decorate the house from floor to ceiling, from wall to wall, from door to balcony.
I would love to brew and bake and cook and serve 8 days of celebration of harvest and grain and all the wonderful things that can be made of grain. (You do realize Seitan is the perfect "meat" for this feast? :-D). Bread IS life. Bread IS culture. Bread IS the base our civilization is built on. (Well, bread and beer :-D)
I would love to dress up.
I would love to have the "Christmas movie tradition" there is for Christians. And the other traditions there are for Christmas. :-( Like 1st Advent, Lucia, St. Nicholas, Befana, Three Kings' Day, 12 Days of Christmas...
(Yes, I do have a serious tradition envy. It's so easy when the whole society has been permeated with your religion for some 1000 years. And you have been appropriating the Pagan culture, traditions and habits the whole time. So much so that now you deny the Pagan influence. Pitiful. But - I know traditions are just for a few generations. 90% of anyone's "holiday traditions" are not older than oneself is :-D)
I want to have a little tableau, like the creche, but illustrating an event of my mythology.
I would love to have a Lughnasadh playlist and games... Lammas carols, wassailing, Oktoberfest...
I would love to give gifts. I love giving gifts.
I would love to have a big dinner for my whole family, and have them sleep over... and then have a huge brunch with board games and so on the next day.
Oh, and send lovely cards to everyone!

And the same for every Sabbath.

After Lammas comes Mabon, then Samhain, then Yule, then Imbolc, then Ostara, then Beltane, then Litha, then Lammas and everything again and again, forever and ever, so mote it be.

Now, there isn't much I can do for Lammas this year, but I have 52 days until Mabon, and that I can do something about.

Then there's 45 days from that to Samhain, and I can do something about that, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Hosting book club

So you want to have a book club?

Why? That is the first question you have to ask :-D
There are many reasons to have a book club. You might want to meet new people who share your interests (reading). You might want to expand your reading. You might want to use the book club as a reason to keep up reading even when you don't feel like reading at the moment. All these reasons and the others set different expectations you have to think about and try to meet with your book club.

Unique and totally awesome book club theme ideas

 Your book club is only as great as its members. You can do everything and the book club will never "fly". You can do nothing and everything will work just fine. It all depends on the members.

If you don't have any friends who like reading AND DISCUSSING books, then start with hoping for the best and inviting total strangers.

2) You should have some sort of theme of what books you read. Fiction? By some reading challenge? Prize winning books? Classics? The 100 books you should read before you die?

3) Meet once a month, come sun come rain. Create a meeting form.
Like "every Saturday, at 18.00, at the home of the club members; every member hosts a meeting; you have a potluck where you pick from the hat which member brings which course etc."
The hostess presents the book, reminds everyone to read it (or at least find something to say about the book by reading reviews or so). Then everyone says what they thought about the book, and then the discussion is free.
Or how ever you want to have it. But there should be some sort of protocol in place.
You could also find a booktube video about the book and watch that to have some fodder for discussion.

4) Decide the place. Cafés are fine.  Homes are fine. Just mind a couple of things: everyone should fit comfortable and have a seat. It has to be possible to have free discussions without interruptions or disturbance - and you should be disturbing anyone else either. It has to be easily accessible for all members. If someone needs to travel for hours to get there, it's highly likely they won't come.

It's OK to host the meeting online. Especially now, on Corona times... and with internet video chatting being relatively easy. 

The food and drinks:

Many authors have their favorite food or signature drinks or something like that, that makes the club meeting "more". Google it.
Also, there might have been something specific edibles and drinkables mentioned in the books. For example, I would love an Enid Blyton picnic or Halloween party à l'Harry Potter with pumpkin juice and pies :-D

Literary Drinks

You might want to have some party favors for your book club meetings.
I think bookmarks are always great, but I read paperbooks and several at the same time, so I use bookmarks :-D
A couple of teabags or a pouch of good coffee is also a good idea, as a lot of people like to drink hot beverage as they read.
A lot of people like to munch something when they read as well, so perhaps some candy, chocolate, snacks? Choose edibles that don't leave fingers greasy or stained... ;-)

Apart from that... thing... pretending to be a thistle, I like this idea as a party favor.

Some ideas:

How to Start a Book Club That Doesn't Suck

This is not a book club, but nothing stops one from stealing some ideas for the book club meeting. Frankly, I like the idea of dressing up as librarians for the book club meeting, to make it a little more exciting :-D
I also like the idea of reading each others' favorite books, and not just popular new books.

Vintage Librarian Book Swap Party from Little Yellow Couch
aka Your Favorite Books Party

The invitation says: "Pick used copies of 5 of your favorite reads. Fill out one of the bookmarks for each book.
Recommended by:
Read this when you are in the mood for:)

Bring your books and bookmarks to the party and you will go home with 5 new selections to add to your reading lists."

And dress code: "channel your inner vintage librarian" :-D

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The fascination of changing numbers

There is a fascination in seeing numbers change, especially if there is something symmetrical and whole about the numbers. 20 years ago, the numbers changed from 1999 to 2000, now it's 2019 to 2020.

It doesn't matter than in reality the date 1.1. is just randomly chosen, and there isn't really anything specific about it. Our spirits react to the beginning of a circle anyway.

So, New Year's Eve is a magical space.

I love counting to midnight. I love the silence and expectation rising, the explosion of fireworks and streamers and confetti and kisses and noise at the zero.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

"Christmas is not pagan"? ROTFLMAO. Sorry. It is.

I wish this had been a spoof, it's just too ridiculous

In the end this discussion isn't about whose facts about the history are correct and whose aren't.
It's not about who is worshiping "false gods", why one should or shouldn't celebrate Winter Solstice, or any other such things.

It's about one simple thing: 
if I am right and you are wrong, 
you are not going to rejoice eternal life with your God in heaven.
It's a question of whether 
you love Christmas more than your God and His word.

Disclaimer. In the following I am talking about Jesus as if he had been born on some day, but that doesn't mean that I believe he was. I don't think there ever was a person like Jesus, and the whole book is pure fiction written with an agenda. I believe the Christian theology is loathsome, twisted and wicked, and responsible for a lot of suffering, in past and today and most likely will be in the future.
It's not about the tree or evergreens. Yule is much more than that. But it would be good if you stopped incorporating these Pagan traditions to your spirituality.

It's not about Yule. Or, not precisely about Yule. But if you strip all the Yule traditions from your Christmas celebration, that would be great.

Yule is the name of The Feast. The Feast is the Winter Solstice.
The month is named after the feast, not the other way around.
We don't know for sure what the etymology of the word is, but it is likely it's of the same origin as the name of the Winter Solstice celebration in Iran, Yalda (birth), and that name for the longest and darkest night of the year could be the origin of the Arabic Yelda (dark night). 

Burn all logs you want, but separating one, an extra special one, putting it some rules on how it should be cut and dried and stored and burned and adding superstition and beliefs on it, giving it a special name and place, even dedicating pastry to it, that you should forget.  

So - let me repeat this: burning firewood, great, having a Yule Log in your home (even a chocolate one), that's Pagan. Still great, I think, but definitely Pagan.

Among Germanic Pagan traditions were
- everybody gathering in the holy place to worship the divine
- everyone gathering to eat well and to drink and to be merry
- caroling/wassailing
- visiting visiting each others' homes and exchanging gifts

Now, of course you are totally free to have family dinners and exchange gifts at any day of the year just as you wish, but when it happens on the Pagan Yule date every year, it gets a bit suspicious.

About the fact that Germanic Pagans didn't much interact with Christians and the Christian Christmas - Christmas IS a rather old celebration. The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on 25 December 336, and as the article says: "St. Hippolytus said in his commentary on Daniel (written ca. AD 202-211) that Jesus’ birthdate is December 25".
BUT most modern Christmas "traditions" are from 19th century OR NEWER. Most "family traditions" are ONLY ONE GENERATION OLD. It isn't the 3rd century Christmas we are talking about here, is it? We are talking about the whole package.We are talking about the Christmas tree, gifts, evergreens, red, ivy and holly, robins and reindeers, Santa and elves, snow and all that.
But - stripping your Christmas celebration of all the Germanic Pagan traditions is a good start. 

It's not about giving gifts.
And giving gifts is not a Pagan tradition... although... giving gifts in Christmas time... Romans were very generous gift givers during the Winter Solstice celebrations. And the three kings carrying gifts to baby Jesus were also Pagan. And when you think about it, our gift giving is more akin to that kind of gift giving than playing a secret santa trying to see that good girls don't get into prostitution. Isn't it? I mean, are you giving gifts to your family, friends, and loved ones or some poor people who don't know you? Are you giving gifts because you love these people and want to make them happy, or perhaps because it's expected, or because you know your gift will help people in need?
Maybe giving gifts in Christmas IS a Pagan tradition after all.
But - as Christmas isn't about giving gifts, you can easily stop that habit now, and avoid any and all risk of following Pagan ways. Just do random acts of kindness and anonymous donations to poor families.

It's not about commercialism. And commercialism isn't Pagan either.

It's not about Santa Claus, though the "jolly old elf" is 100% Pagan, what ever you call him.
Saint Nicholas of  Myra was a real saint, which doesn't really mean he was a real person. The Catholic Church has been going through their saints and are making most of the early ones mere legends, as there is no what so ever evidence of them ever having existed. All the thousands of relics are no proof of anything, as there are more acclaimed bones of most saints, especially the popular ones, than there are bones in a human body.(Also, the existence of a tomb is not a proof of that there ever was anyone in the tomb or that it was the person they say was there. It's rather easy to build tombs. Maybe people had other reasons to build a tomb to a famous and popular saint than to bury him in it before he was famous and popular?)

Is it about December 25th? Sort of is.  
Is it about Saturnalia? Sort of.

Because it is about Winter Solstice. Try to deny it as much as you want to, but if you celebrate a God's birthday (God with a birthday, how is that not a Pagan idea? :-D) at Midwinter, you are celebrating a Pagan festivity.

Not all Christians celebrate Jesus' birthday on the same day.  Some celebrate it on January 6th, or even later, some December 25th, or earlier. 

What? They noted the birthdays of Caesars, but not Jesus? No-one asked Jesus or his friends on which date he was born? No-one remembers it? 

The truth is that no-one cared. Only the Pagans celebrated birthdays. The exact date of your birth is only important if you believe in astrology. Otherwise it's only the year that is important. And to a lot of people, even the year is irrelevant. Jesus did not care about his birthday, nor did any who might have known him. Nobody knew, nobody cared. 
Until about 200 years later someone did... why?

At the time when the Christians decided to make December 25th Jesus' birthday, the Romans celebrated THREE DIFFERENT SOLAR DEITIES' birthdays at Winter Solstice.
Sol Invictus, Mithra and Osiris. All three were very popular deities of very popular religions. 

(And, yes, Sol Invictus' birthday was mentioned first in the list of OFFICIAL holidays 274. If that means it didn't exist before that, Jesus' birthday as December 25th didn't exist before 336.)

Now - the date was Winter Solstice. 

What is the date of the Winter Solstice? 

Back in the days, people weren't too precise about the exact date of Midwinter, so they kind of celebrated it "around" the time of the year, and then one adds the calendar and dates, and all that Julian and Gregorian calendar stuff and that, so people celebrate Winter Solstice 21st of December ± 2 weeks. 

According to Rome it was 25th of December. In Greece it was January 6th. 
(Funny that, when one knows that in Eastern Christianity, Jesus' birthday was celebrated on January 6th and in West December 25th...)

And let's look at the Candlemass (The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple). It is celebrated on February 2nd, 40 days after Jesus' birth. (That places his birth on 25th of December)

The idea that people thought Jesus was conceived on March 25th and December 25th happens 9 months later is somewhat correct - with the little distinction that it was the other way around. December 25th - the Winter Solstice - was chosen to be Jesus' birthday, and then they counted 9 months back, and placed the conception at March 25th.
Which fitted them very nicely, because the Roman empire celebrated the Spring Equinox.
The Bible mentions Elizabeth being 6 months pregnant at that time (Actually, in her 6th month), so they count three months on from that and get John the Baptist's birth date at June 25th.
Which happens to be the date of Summer Equinox in the Roman empire.
Really handy :-D

Is there anything in the Bible to support these dates?
No. Of course not.

"Before the introduction of Sol Invictus in AD 274, there were no pagan solstice celebrations going on near where Christians were. (True story.)"

That's the value of that writer's truth :-D It's not true that there were no Pagan solstice celebrations going on near where Christians were.

Here's a couple of Pagan Winter Solstice celebrations going on during the first two centuries after common reckoning in Rome and around there:

Romans celebrated Winter Solstice a whole month before - Brumalia - and it ended with Saturnalia and the day of Winter Solstice on 25th of December.
The Zoroastrians celebrated Winter Solstice. They had been around for at least 500 years before Jesus was born.
Mithraism was developed from Zoroastrianism and was VERY popular among the Roman soldiers the first centuries of common era. They celebrated 25th of December as the birthday of their God.
The Persians celebrated the Birth of the Sun, which they have been doing for some 5000 years. Not 500. Five thousand years.
In Petra a Virgin mother and her Divine Son was celebrated at Winter Solstice.
In Egypt Osiris rebirth on Winter Solstice was celebrated.
Another large group of Roman soldiers followed the Egyptian Gods and they celebrated Horus' birthday on Winter Solstice day, 25th of December.

The truth is that people love their festivals and celebrations. So - getting people to STOP celebrating is not going to work. If you make them choose between a party and a religion they know nothing about, they are going to choose the party. So, the Christians did what everyone always does. They ate the cake and kept it, too. They converted, and adjusted the religion to fit their habits, morals, values and traditions, renamed everything that wasn't "kosher" - like the Pagan Midwinter celebrations (not one specific one, all of them) were renamed Christmas. The God whose birth was being celebrated was said to be Jesus. 
How do I know they did this? They still do this. This is what Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick does in this article. Let's adopt the Pagan ways and NAME them "Christian", so we can pretend we are still Christian.

One thing I fully agree on with this is that - Christmas wasn't much even celebrated by early Christians. It went pretty much unnoticed more than 1000 years. Christians celebrated the Easter and Annunciation (Spring Equinox... have you ever wondered WHY the Christian Easter is bound to Spring Equinox?)

"But surely a reference to something happening in nature ought to be considered pagan and not Christian! 
Says who? Are you saying that Christians ought not pay attention to the rhythms of the natural world that they believe God created for His people to live in? Really? Nature stuff is pagan? Please."

Pay attention, sure, but celebrating it? Yes, that is definitely Pagan, and Christians shouldn't be doing any such things.

"The idea that certain days should be set aside for special religious occasions isn’t unique to pagans."

No-one has said it is. This is a question of HOW certain days are set aside, and WHICH days.

"So when early Christians decided to start having Christian feast days, they did so originally based on the Jewish inheritance"

Originally, perhaps, but that was over when they started talking about Jesus' birthday and celebrating equinoxes and solstices. That was basing their feast days on Pagan inheritance. Jews didn't celebrate birthdays.

"Marking time with religious significance isn’t pagan. It’s just human. To deny this part of our religious consciousness is essentially to deny that time and creation in general can be sanctified by the presence of God."

Well... that can be discussed. It nevertheless isn't any argument for Christmas not being Pagan.

ALL the early religions were Pagan. Human nature is Pagan. The thing with Christianity is kind of denying the "being just human". The whole religion is an effort to become Godlike, pure, good, perfect, like the son of God born as human, to show every human what a human can be.
Jesus managed fine without celebrating Christmas. You should be able too.
You said even in your writing that a lot of Christians manage just fine without celebrating Christmas. So you should be, too.
Frankly, it's only Christian apologists who try to deny the Pagan roots of Christmas. Everyone else admits it, because it's obvious. You should be asking yourself why you are so hard trying to deny that.

"So even if that thing was once pagan in some way, we’re taking it and making it not pagan now. So there. That’s what we do. BAM. It’s not pagan any more, that thing. It’s been transformed. So it’s Christian now."

"It's not Pagan, because I say it's not, and there isn't anything Pagan anyway, and if you insist, I'm gonna tell dad, and then you'll be sorry!" :-D

Renaming things to sound less Pagan and more Christian is cheating. I don't care that you rename them and pretend they aren't Pagan, God doesn't care, we know the truth and we will judge you by the truth. You are the only one you are cheating here, and the people who listen to you. You are lying to yourself and justifying your wrongdoing because you don't want to stop.

"Real paganism resolved into one basic action: Making sacrifices (often of animals, but always of food) to false gods and sharing that meal with them so that you can commune with the demon who is masquerading as a god worthy of worship."

I suppose you think it would be so nice if you could reduce Pagans into some horrors of imaginary past, but you are wrong about this as well. Real Paganism is any spirituality that isn't Abrahamic, that is, Jewish, Christian or Islamic. Which means that what you find in a book store next to tarot cards is just as much Paganism as the prehistoric religions, the Greco-Roman Paganism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and any of the other thousands of religions the people on this planet engage in. Assuming that they are all wrong, that all the millions of people before them and after them, are all... uh, I don't even know what that little twit thinks everyone else but people who SAY they believe "right" are, and frankly, no-one should give a dime for opinions like that either. Let's say that I agree with C.S.Lewis on that matter.

"But I said, Alas Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.
Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?
The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."

- C.S.Lewis; The Last Battle
Quite a lot of religions - the Abrahamic included - offer many different kinds of sacrifices. We have found non-food items like gold having been sacrificed. People have sacrificed prayers, smoke, songs, votives, and many other kinds of non-edible things to Gods all over the planet.
What is very, very rare, is human sacrifice. Christianity is one of the few religions that is based on a human sacrifice, a human who was begging not to be sacrificed, and whose sacrificed is over and over re-enacted in thousands of churches all over this planet.This sacrifice was made to a God the people who made the sacrifice didn't believe in, a God who didn't ask for the sacrifice, who didn't want the sacrifice, who had explicitly told his followers to not sacrifice people to Him. This sacrifice was 100% unnecessary. There was nothing in the agreement between God and the Jewish people that needed in any way to be renegotiated or negated, and the fact that the Jewish people is still around is proof enough of that.

I think you have misunderstood the stakes here, Andrew. It's not about who's right and who's wrong. It's not about who is the ridiculous and ignorant one here. It's not about prestige, it's not about how many people you can convince. It's about your soul.
"Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them."
- Jeremiah 10:2
Is Christmas really worth it? Are you so keen on following the heathen ways, that you would risk your salvation? Do you seriously think Jesus cares about the words you use? That Jesus doesn't know your "Christmas" is badly disguised Pagan festivities mashed up into one and decorated with modern fairytales, simply because you call it "Christmas"?

You are choosing Christmas over salvation. It's totally fine with me. You do with your soul what ever you want to. And I love Christmas - or joulu as I call it - I understand fully why you love it, too. But if you seriously believe your God doesn't care that you do exactly what he told you to not to do, you are wrong.