Christmas Culture Takeover: Unpacking the Personal and Political

The Holidays are complicated.

Many of us enjoy the break after exams to relax, spend time with loved ones and engage in the Holiday spirit. However, for many others, the Holidays can increase stress and depression levels. Engaging with family and our faith/spiritual communities can be difficult – they may trigger us, impose certain practices upon us or may reinforce feelings that we do not belong. Feelings of alienation can arise at the dinner table and at church.

Apart from the practical complexities of the Holidays, we are also faced with confronting the systems of oppressions that have constructed the holiday season. “The Holidays” as we know them today have become pawns of capitalism and white supremacy. The day after Thanksgiving, stores start rolling out their sales for the holiday season. And until Christmas even, people end spending up an immense amount of cash on parties, gifts, food and decorations – and corporations end up reaping the benefits.

Not to mention, “Christmas culture” starts taking over schools, workplaces, community spaces, media, public discourse all across North America. Some people from faith/spiritual communities who do not celebrate Christmas may end up feeling alienated while others learn to participate in the holiday culture. In this way, the state works to homogenize and assimilate us into “Western culture”.

How do we navigate society’s the secularization of Christmas and the West, yet the continued dominance of Christian tradition in Western society? How is this culture nostalgic of colonial, white supremacist and missionary histories in North America? How might we navigate this while also finding Christianity and the holidays are a source of comfort, liberation and faith for us? How might we find safety for ourselves in the Holidays?

Join us at ROARS this week in talking about our feelings about the holidays, creating a safety plan and unpacking holiday culture.

When: Monday, December 3rd, 2018. 4 PM – 6 PM
Where: 563 Spadina Avenue. Room 100. North Borden Building


ROARS is a student-led peer support group that provides a safe(r) space for self-identified women, trans, two-spirited, and gender non-binary/non-conforming people to discuss, critically analyze, and take action on issues of sexism, misogyny, racism, transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, xenophobia, ageism, ableism, classism, White supremacy, colonialism, and settler colonialism, in relation to our lived experiences within religious institutions and spiritual journeys. This is a space to examine the impact of oppressive -isms and reclaim your own spirituality.

ROARS is a collaborative initiative between the Multifaith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice and the Centre for Women & Trans People at the University of Toronto.