Christmas At The End Of The World
I can't resist dreaming of what Christmas celebrations would look like in my dystopian world of Divided.
First off, I'd like to say that all religions have been outlawed in the Federated Republic of America. Practicing anything other than worshipping the dictator Supreme Commander Martin is an offense punishable by execution or exile onto a slave farm (though the citizens don't know that second option is a thing).
So, what does Christmas look like to my four MC's?
Let's start with Rose, my Almond genius, probably on the autism spectrum given how people mystify her. Rose was raised with a mix of cultural Christianity and Asian ancestral practices. Her grandmother (deceased at the time of Divided) prayed, yet Rose's mother Sophie hid everything that was true and good about her under layers of secrecy. Rose would've known Christmas existed, but wouldn't have openly or privately celebrated it. No trees, no gift-giving, and certainly no midnight Christmas Eve services.
Then there's Marcos, our Havana mechanic who really wanted to be a mechanical engineer but who settled for being a driver. Marcos, being raised in the strong Hispanic culture of the immigrant remnant who stayed, would have many ethnic practices around the holidays. Marcos's family, a mix of Colombian and Cuban ancestry, loves the Dia de Las Velitas celebration on December 7th, which is the old Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the community lights candles and lanterns, sets off fireworks, and has a big party in the street. Martin allows this expression, but no church services, unless he's the subject of the praise songs.
Jason, the son of our evil villain, Hudson Britwell, and a patrolman in Ivory, doesn't even know Christmas is a thing. While his mother Eleanor would love to decorate the home with boughs of holly and candles, Hudson won't allow it. Besides being a generally awful person, Hudson adheres to the letter of Martin's laws, unless it benefits himself. Talk about a Scrooge! As a result, Jason has a patrol shift on Christmas Eve and spends the night roaming through the woods north of Ivory.
This leaves us with Harriet, our Kink dreamer and lifelong Underground member learning all the secret codes and connecting the dots for everyone else. Harriet grew up in a secret Christian church based in her own home. Her family quietly broke Martin's laws, celebrating Christmas with a wonderful "old world" feast of sweet potato pie, candied yams, collard greens, biscuits, and whatever meat they could afford (most often chitterlings or chicken livers). Further, the Johnsons hosted other members of their secret church in a solemn celebration of Jesus' birth. Harriet always looks forward to that evening as a time to recount God's blessings and share their bounty with others.
Want to incorporate Christmas traditions from around the world? Here's a website full of ideas!