I'm curious about how fellow atheists celebrate the Winter Solstice holiday season if at all, especially those of you who who have children.

For me I haven't really celebrated the solstice in years. Last year was the first time I celebrated the holiday. My son who was 6 months old at the time and I flew out to Pennsylvania in January for a late Xmas celebration with his mother. I say "Xmas" because his mother is a devout Christian and that's obviously what the holiday is to her. This year I'm trying to start our own traditions since Logan's mother and I aren't romantically involved anymore and I have sole custody of him.

My son is now 18 months and I've got a 2nd hand fake tree from my mother which saves me money this year, but I'd really like to get a new one. This one is kind of a piece of shit. It'll work this year, but next year I think I'll get a new one. I also bought him a stocking for stuffing.

I grew up with a devoutly Catholic family and some of the traditions I had growing up I would like to preserve... the secular traditions. Fuck the midnight mass, the nativity set, and bullshit religious crap.

I have no ornaments or anything for my tree yet. I ordered some lights from Walmart.com today that I expect to arrive a week or so before Solstice. I think for this year especially considering how young my son is and his natural curiosity ornaments aren't the greatest idea. I sure as hell don't want an angel topping my tree. I did however consider a star, but even the star is part of the religious tradition symbolizing the star the 3 kings or wise men or whatever the fuck followed to find baby Jebus. But I suppose a star doesn't HAVE to be religious because a star is after all a natural thing and not a supernatural thing.

Now I'm debating on what I should teach Logan about Santa Claus and how I should teach it. Santa seems like "practice" for god belief, since the ideas behind them are so similar... Believe in Santa and be good and you'll get toys... be bad and you get a lump of coal. Believe in god and be good and you'll go to heaven when you die... be bad and you go to hell.

Will telling Logan Santa isn't real take the fun out of it? Teaching the idea of a fat bearded man in a red suit who travels the world in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer and delivers gifts to every child in the world in a single night isn't exactly teaching a child rational or critical thinking skills. Is it better to leave Santa out of it and just enjoy gift giving among family?

So I'm curious what other nontheists do to celebrate the holiday with their kids and families.

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Comment by FeloniousD on December 11, 2009 at 4:22am
We will be celebrating a more or less traditional consumerist Christmas. We have some lights up, the christmas music has been playing (including the christMYTH stuff) and we have a Christmas tree complete with *sigh* an angel on top. I told my wife I preferred a star and she was cool with that but none of the stars we saw agreed with our taste. I don't mind the angel, it is compromise and my wife has been cool about not cramming the religeous stuff down my throat. I am planning on noting the solstice with my son (2 1/2 years old). This is his first holiday season that might have a lasting impact on him so i'm giving it all a little more thought this year. He already likes astronomy so maybe I could give him an astronomy related gift as a solstice tie in. As he gets older I hope to casually make him aware of other holiday traditions and the history of the holidays. As far as Santa clause goes, he will no doubt get a heaping helping of books and tv/movies that refer to st Nick. So I won't really feel more compelled to tell him Santa isn't real any more than I would curious George. He will most likely get so
e presents from Santa but I'd prefer to keep it to a minimum, perhaps just the stocking. My wife is keen on the Santa thing but I don't like the idea of lying to Jakob. Done properly, it could be a multiple year freethought exercise. Perhaps let the child be exposed to all the christmas media then just let them try to figure out how their stocking got full. After all, Jake thinks Lima Beans are candy and I never had to lie to him for that to happen. One thing is for sure, we will not be using santa to coerce good behavior from our son.

As for my own childhood, I don't remember ever having a strong belief in Santa. For some reason my dad had me helping him to label presents "from santa" wheni was like four years old. I thought it was really cool to be in on the joke. And I always had great Christmases.

Plastic ornaments are apperently availae now as I bought some of them, assuming that they were glass, only to be presently surprised that I could give Jake free reign with the decorating.

I'm not an expert onchild development, but I'd say that this year is a dry run for you and your boy. So don't stress to much. I envy your freedom to make it whatever you want to and I know your son will love it if you are already putting this much thought into it.

Heathens greetings! Merry Christ Myth!



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