One of my absolute favorite things was always coming home very late Christmas Eve after leaving whatever extended family gathering(s)we'd been to, when most everyone else was in bed, the roads empty, the stores all closed. We'd be tucked in the backseat, with our gift haul, anxious to get home and to bed for Santa. It was almost like all that pre-holiday chaos explodes in a chaos of family, food, and wrapping paper earlier in the night and there is this rather peaceful silence afterward. When everything that could have been done to get ready for Christmas has already been done and you just give in to enjoying it. I'm not Christian in any sense (and certainly don't believe in the Bible as anything but interesting mythology), but there is something almost holy and magical about it, especially when I was still young enough to really believe in magic. Christmas has always been more about family and getting together and warding off the winter dark for a few weeks. Sometimes I almost forget the religious aspects in my more pagan and secular context. Still, I always say that the true tragedy in finding out there is no Santa is that it draws an end to the possibility of anything beyond the realm of the real world (the Easter Bunny, fairies, monsters, miracles, etc.) For this scientifically minded agnostic, for a little bit every Christmas Eve, I can almost convince myself that I still believe at least in some sense of wonder and mysticism.
To all my readers, have a happy and merry holiday season, with hopefully a little time for magic, some introspection, and maybe a little booze.