If you’re wondering how a born-again Buddhist Transcendentalist Zen Mama celebrates the winter solstice, I’ll tell you how: by buying and setting up a Christmas tree right next to her Buddhist meditation altar. (Click any of today’s pictures for an enlarged version.)

As if cards proclaiming “Happy Holidays!” weren’t enough of an abomination, members of the Religious Right would have a collective coronary if they could see my apartment. I’ve already blogged my oddly ecumenical altar with its mix of Buddhist and Christian iconography. After having waited too long last year to buy a proper Christmas tree, this year I wanted to do up the season right. ‘Tis the season, after all.

As I child, I always loved setting up my parents’ shabby old aluminum Christmas tree, the kind of tree that was an embarrassment when I was a teenager but now is a retro collector’s item. When I was married, my ex-husband and I typically didn’t set-up a Christmas tree, either visiting family for the holidays or staying in New England to celebrate in non-decorated Zen fashion. When I was married, my husband didn’t like having a Christmas tree because of the Christian (and commercial) baggage he associated with Christmas. But I don’t have similar issues. I have nothing but good memories of Christmas past, and I seem to have found my own personal peace as both a non-practicing Christian and a practicing non-Buddhist. (Think about that for a moment, and it just might make sense.)

So excuse me if I don’t apologize for my eclectic taste in holiday decor. If you’re offended by the sight of Buddha meditating alongside a Christmas tree, a crucifix adorned with Tibetan prayer flags, or a Santa stocking hung within sight of a bronze Buddha bookend and Kwan Seum Bosal tapestry, you can move along now, thank you. Here at my inn, there’s room a-plenty for the baby Jesus, Buddha, Kwan Seum Bosal, Santa, and any other spiritual aspirant looking for a place to stay. Why settle for just one Happy Holiday when you can have Happy Buddha-days in abundance?