I missed this piece by Powazek when it came out, but better late than never:
Imagine that suddenly everyone around you begins to act funny. First your coworkers start to ask you what you’ve got planned for the Dark Days. Then you notice that storefronts are putting up decorations of burgundy and black, 10 foot-tall spikes festooned with bones. When you walk into stores, they’re all playing the same strange songs.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it bleed from your head to your toes.”
When you buy your groceries, the person behind the counter says, “Hail Satan!” Total strangers on the street say it, too. And every one of them looks at you, waiting for you to say it back.
Then you realize that every house on your street is decorated with what looks like glowing entrails. Every window has that bony spike in the living room window. You go home and turn on the TV and every show has a Satan-themed episode. Characters spreading the festive entrails on the customary spike. All the special movies feature a sad non-believer who ultimately finds joy in the Dark Lord.
Distant family members, old friends, and your coworkers send you cards that say “Hail Satan” and “Praise the Dark Lord” and “Wishing You A Grisly Death in the New Year.” And then, towards the end of the month, people actually roam the streets, chanting in unison about their Great Dark Lord.
And then suddenly everything goes back to normal. The boney spikes are left on the sidewalks to be hauled away, all the magenta and black merchandise is put on sale, and no one talks about it for eleven months, when it all happens again.
This is what it’s like to not celebrate Christmas.