I say, why not? We could call it xmas. It could be a secular holiday for spending time with family and exchanging gifts.

The Christians stole the winter festival from the pegans. Now it's our turn to steal it back!

Further discussion: If you already celebrate the winter festival, what symbols/themes do you feel are apropreate for a secular xmas?

- Lights?
- A pine tree (the "Christmas tree")?
- Stars?
- Santa?
- Rudolf?
- Stockings?

Also, what Christmas movies would you watch during a secular xmas? The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorites.

What other traditions do you have?

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No. Christmas is purely secular for me. I celebrate 'Christmas', as opposed to Saturnalia or Festivus, because that's how my society refers to the celebration that takes place on Dec. 25th. It seems the best way to get god out of Christmas is to say 'I'm an atheist and I celebrate Christmas.' Maybe in 1000 years, in a more enlightened time, everyone will celebrate a secular Christmas and people will say 'can you believe that 1000 years ago people would use this holiday to celebrate the virgin birth of a half-god who got nailed to a cross because somehow that was supposed to prevent them from being miserable sinners???'

If memory serves, the last time I walked into a church was about five years ago for my brother's wedding. The ceremony was performed by a gay priest and was almost entirely secular (i.e., no mention of god or anything).
I celebrate in a big way! I enjoy the food, the champagne, the lights, the smells, the gifts and the happy times I share with my family and friends. I have two young sons and we play up the whole Santa business to the hilt. We have a huge tree covered in sparkling ornaments and we have lights all over the house and a candy cane lined walkway. I even collect Santa Claus stuff. To me its no different than people who collect Disney characters or comic book characters. It's all just fun and games around here. In our house, it's just a nice way to end the year and stock up on socks and board games for the next year. I love to buy gifts and wrap them up with fancy papers and ribbons. I even send out over one hundred cards each year. I just love the merriment!

Our community puts up a big festive display on the corner with a lit "Season's Greetings" sign and this year someone went and planted a "Jesus is the reason for the season" sign in front of it. Someone else was bothered by that and planted a bigger sign with a several other religious symbols (star of David, Islamic crescent moon and star, yin yang, etc). My first reactive thought was to put up a sign that reads, "Axial tilt is the original reason for the season" but right away I decided against it. I wish everything didn't need to become an argument. Can't we just come together as a community and have some fun without someone pushing their beliefs down everyone else's throat?

Merry Christmas, matey!
We came up with a new way to celebrate this year. Our twin girls are ten and get rather anxious (insane and wild would be other words) once they are out of school and waiting for Santanalia and Christmyth. So this year we worked with them to devise a solstice ritual. We are going to get up early on December 21, watch the first glimmer of the new sun as it rises over our neighbor's roof line sufficiently to discern the difference between a black and white thread (1), and then let off some fire works. When we go back in the house, the Solstice Sprites (TM) will have left some pre-Santanlia gifts to keep them occupied until Christmyth eve. They'll have hot chocolate and cookies while they open the Sprite's gifts.

This is the other extreme to an atheistic boycott of all the superstitious festivities: we make up our own, and in that way we educate our kids that such festivals came from humans and have no magical significance. They will still have a lot of fun but without the weird ideas of religion becoming ingrained.

For Halloween, we live off the beaten track and don't get trick-or-treaters. Therefore we do our own invented tradition thing: we decorate the house with spooky trees, black cats, pumpkins, orange and black candles, and all the bric-a-brac you can buy on sale the day after Halloween. That evening, we have a big meal with our extended family and their friends. The meal is supposed to be gross looking but tasty - eyeball soup being this year's winning selection. Little onions in black bean soup, in case you wondered. It looked like eyeballs in blood but went very well with the pumpernickel (black) bread.

The British monarchy was restored under Charles II, in some part because the ultra-conservative Puritans who were running the country had banned the Christmas festivities. It wouldn't hurt if atheism got a reputation for doing the fun stuff without the superstitious stuff.

(1) During Ramadan, Muslims can eat and drink as long as the sun has set. The way they tell whether it is dark enough to eat is to hold up a white thread with a black thread outdoors and see if they can tell the difference between the two.

I celebrate Xmas! My family life is what you might call- "Strained" so there isn't a whole lot of being close with family for me, so instead i just try to be nice and happy with everyone i meet! Why should it be limited to family?



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