Atheists and Christmas

pariahjane
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Atheists and Christmas

So, I went to a party yesterday and was having a discussion about Christmas with two girls.  One of the girls told me that I shouldn't celebrate x-mas because I was an atheist and I replied that was bullshit.  (Bear in mind that when this conversation occurred I was three sheets to the wind)  I explained that it's more of a cultural and family thing for me rather than religious.  I also explained that Christians took a lot from the pagans for the traditions as well.   I was called a hypocrite and told I shouldn't exchange gifts or celebrate x-mas.  Mind you, this is coming from a girl who says she is Jewish but only her father's side of the family is Jewish.  She got pissed when I told her that technically, she's not Jewish since it passes from the mother. 

 Anyway, I don't think there is anything wrong with a non-religious person getting together with their families and exchanging gifts on Dec. 25.  I have the time off from work and it's fun.  So what's the big deal?  

Is there anyone here who doesn't celebrate x-mas in a secular sense?  Do you not spend time with family or friends?  Exchange gifts?

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Hambydammit
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I don't do Christmas, for

I don't do Christmas, for three reasons. The biggest reason for me is that Christmas is neither a Christian nor a Pagan holiday anymore. It's a retailer's bonanza. I have an extreme aversion to buying things people don't want from stores I don't want to go to. Actually, I have a pretty big anti-consumerism streak in me.

(By the way, I'm dating someone now, but just for kicks, you should try to imagine what it's like trying to find a date when you're a guy who's 1) Atheist, 2) Anti-consumerism*, 3) Anti-reproduction, and 4) anti-marriage. It's like I picked all the things 95 out of 100 women dislike the most, and decided to embrace them all.)

Anyway, sorry for the digression. Back to Christmas. Just out of principle, I object to it because the Christians claim it for their own.

The third reason is that my father passed, my mother's too Christian for us to have a good relationship, my grandmother's completely senile, and that's all the family I have that speaks to me. (No, I'm not a horrible person -- one whole side of my family refuses contact because I wouldn't help them defraud my stepmother.) So, short version, I don't have much of a family to gather round the table with.

 

*Yes, I know I own a restaurant.  When I say consumerism, I mean buying stuff you don't need.  I am perfectly happy rationalizing restaurants because people need to eat to live.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote: I have

Hambydammit wrote:

I have an extreme aversion to buying things people don't want from stores I don't want to go to.

You could always try buying things people do want from stores you do want to go to, just for a change of pace. I know some people who do that, and it seems to work ok for them.


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Yeah, I'd pummel anyone who

Yeah, I'd pummel anyone who told me I shouldn't be celebrating Christmas.  It's such a fun, cheery holiday, and it's so much a part of our culture; everyone who wants to has every right to celebrate it.  Even my severely Christian parents acknowledge that.  

Anyway, there are so many things about Christmas that haven't got a thing to do with Christianity any longer.  Presents, food, family, the tree, the lights. I realize Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas, but he's evolved to the point of being completely secular, and often loathed by the fundies.  In any case, I still delightedly sing all the Jesus-centric carrols because I love and enjoy them.  Christianity has caused enough trouble for this world, that we might as well take advantage of the few good things it's provided us with. 


Hambydammit
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It's a reasonable point,

It's a reasonable point, and if I felt any warmth towards the holidays, I might do that.  I'm one of those wacky people who, anytime I see someone in need and I can help, I try to help, so making a special trip during the worst shopping traffic of the year seems... um... insane.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit
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Quote: Yeah, I'd pummel

Quote:
Yeah, I'd pummel anyone who told me I shouldn't be celebrating Christmas.  It's such a fun, cheery holiday, and it's so much a part of our culture; everyone who wants to has every right to celebrate it.  Even my severely Christian parents acknowledge that.

To be clear, I'm the last person who would tell anybody not to celebrate.  It's a personal decision for me because of personal stuff in my own life.

Honestly, if we renamed the thing Circuit City Day and everybody forgot what a nativity scene was, I still wouldn't do it because the whole process makes my brain numb.  I was just answering the OP's question -- does anybody not celebrate at all -- and giving my reasons.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:


To be clear, I'm the last person who would tell anybody not to celebrate. It's a personal decision for me because of personal stuff in my own life.

Honestly, if we renamed the thing Circuit City Day and everybody forgot what a nativity scene was, I still wouldn't do it because the whole process makes my brain numb. I was just answering the OP's question -- does anybody not celebrate at all -- and giving my reasons.

Oh yeah, no worries. That wasn't directed at you. I posted that comment in response to the OP before I even saw what you had posted. I didn't sense any kind of "no one should celebrate Christmas! Grrrr!" message from you. It's just your preference not to, which I can understand.

Anyway, I didn't know you own a restaurant before this thread. That's quite cool.


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I celebrate Christmas.

I celebrate Christmas. Unlike Hamby I am a strong supporter of consumerism. It is especially entertaining purchasing worthless presents for members of the family who have been especially annoying and then watching them attempt to look delighted at the worthless present just because they feel a need to be polite. For example, I have an Uncle who absolutely hates pigs, so every year I purchase him some kind of pig knick knack.

Although, I have to admit a bit of a soft spot for getting presents for the young kids in my family. I usually spend ten times more then I do on anyone else and get them the noisiest, most obnoxious toys I can find. The kids love it. My brother and sister don't but they can't exactly take a Christmas Present away from their kids.

Other good reasons to celebrate xmas- rum balls, fruitcake (my Grandma makes the best fruitcake ever), rack of venison (prepared every year after informing the kids it is Rudolph, unfortunately they don't believe me anymore) cigars and brandy.

Christians stole xmas from the Pagans, let the atheists steal it from them! Merry Axmas!

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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my wife and i celebrate

my wife and i celebrate xmas with a little black xmas tree covered with silver chains and skulls and daggers, and by buying each other and our kids ridiculously cool and fun gifts. and dinner with the relatives.

and, of course, we make sure to stay inside on xmas eve; wouldn't want to be caught walking the streets when Robot Santa makes his rounds.. 

 

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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No, I don't celebrate

No, I don't celebrate Christmas, put up a tree, etc.  I still go to my widowed mother's house for Christmas family gathering, though. She's very shaky since my father's death so I don't want to upset her by not attending. 

I still refuse to hold hands in a prayer circle when my family says grace before a meal.  I know... I'm a bastard.

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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djneibarger wrote: my wife

djneibarger wrote:

my wife and i celebrate xmas with a little black xmas tree covered with silver chains and skulls and daggers...

 

What a cool idea.  I love skull art.  I collect replicas of pre-columbian sculpture ( lots of death imagery ), wear skull jewelry, etc.  Thanks for giving me a way to "celebrate" Christmas in a wonderfully morbid way. Smile

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
djneibarger wrote:

my wife and i celebrate xmas with a little black xmas tree covered with silver chains and skulls and daggers...

 

What a cool idea. I love skull art. I collect replicas of pre-columbian sculpture ( lots of death imagery ), wear skull jewelry, etc. Thanks for giving me a way to "celebrate" Christmas in a wonderfully morbid way. Smile

glad to spread the dark xmas joy Smiling

fyi: we used black spray paint on our little tree. as long as you let it sit outside till the fumes have thoroughly faded, it's quite effective. 

www.derekneibarger.com http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=djneibarger "all postures of submission and surrender should be part of our prehistory." -christopher hitchens


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DrTerwilliker wrote: Yeah,

DrTerwilliker wrote:
Yeah, I'd pummel anyone who told me I shouldn't be celebrating Christmas. It's such a fun, cheery holiday, and it's so much a part of our culture; everyone who wants to has every right to celebrate it.

I agree.

But am I an atheist?

I think the story of Jesus is a ridiculous fairytale. I see no evidence of a supernatural being that can do magic and read our thoughts. I have a Darwin fish on the back of my car. I think the bible is total bullshit. I think the Pope is a moron. I think the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians and Muslims are the greatest danger to civilization.

So, yeah.

 

Do I celebrate Christmas?

Yesterday I spent the entire day stringing 500 colored lights on a 30 foot balsom tree in my front yard. At night it can be seen from a block away.

About an hour ago I got back from an afternoon trip with my neices and nephews to the mountains where I cut my Christmas tree from a tree farm.

Tonight I'll work on my Christmas cards and drink eggnog while I watch "It's a Wonderful Life".

Tomorrow I'll go to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. While I'm there I'll stop and watch the kids talk to Santa Claus.

Tomorrow night I'll build a fire in the fireplace, put on some Christmas music and decorate the tree.

So, yeah.

 

Am I a hypocrite?

Some might say yes.

 

Do I care?

Fuck no.

 

 

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


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Maybe it's just because

Maybe it's just because with my wheelchair I'm constantly faced with manuvering around other people's crap but has anybody noticed how much stuff we're all surrounded by?  When stores pop up 100% dedicated to selling crap for us to store this crap in and then we turn on the TV to reality shows where experts come in and toss your crap, clearly the situation is beyond bad.  I understand the idea of consumerism but the whole out of control Christmas season never should have gotten this way if Christians really were busy following the teachings of Christ.

At least a meal, even if you do splurge, is much more satisfing and fulfilling then most of the stuff we drag home yet never take out of the box.

If people want to exchange gifts then more power to them.  I do like to see the real look on someone's face when I give them something they really like but I don't personally buy people crap for the sake of having crap to wrap and give. 


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In norwegian tradition

In norwegian tradition christmas is called jul. Witch is the old "viking" name for the holiday(they also called it alveblòt losely translated elf party). The christians didnt even bother to change the name. So I se no reason not to celebrate.

Ofcourse unlike the vikings there is probably less beer(but still enough), no sacrifice of a horse and no horse liver on the menu.

Still I see no reason not to celebrate in the name of the god frøy and his elves. Elves is always a pluss.

So happy alveblòt.

PS. remember to make enugh beer for 3 farmers with family. even if you celebrate alone, aparently this was the law back then.

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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thormos wrote: In

thormos wrote:

In norwegian tradition christmas is called jul. Witch is the old "viking" name for the holiday(they also called it alveblòt losely translated elf party). The christians didnt even bother to change the name. So I se no reason not to celebrate.

Ofcourse unlike the vikings there is probably less beer(but still enough), no sacrifice of a horse and no horse liver on the menu.

Still I see no reason not to celebrate in the name of the god frøy and his elves. Elves is always a pluss.

So happy alveblòt.

PS. remember to make enugh beer for 3 farmers with family. even if you celebrate alone, aparently this was the law back then.

I'm intrigued by the way the Vikings made their presence known to the Christian Monks at Lindisfarne.  Actions really do speak louder than words.

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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We celebrate christmas and

We celebrate christmas and all, my wife, father, myself, in-laws and cousins are atheists, but it's never been a religious thing at all. Not when I was growing up, we had the nativity scene with baby jesus and all I think once or twice, because someone had bought it for us and my mom thought it was rude if we didn't use it.....so I think it was for 2 christmas we had it up, after that, we have never prayed, nor bothered going to church, or even mentioned god or jesus. It's been about family gathering (ok it was my mom, dad and sister for about oh 22 years till I got married and the three years we lived in Argentina we got together with family), we enjoy it, have a fun time, exchange presents (I am a consumer, damn it and I need the stores to sell so that they will install security systems, CCTV and Access control systems).

So for my family and me it's about getting together and enjoying each others company, that's it.


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:
Christians stole xmas from the Pagans, let the atheists steal it from them! Merry Axmas!

 Hell yeah. The Christians stole this winter celebration from the Pagans. They've had it long enough.  Maybe it's time we atheists steal it from the Christians.

We'll be the skeptics that stole Christmas. And we can just call it "The Holidays." We'll keep Santa and Rudolph and Frosty and Christmas trees.

But Suzy the Snowflake needs to take a hike.

 

Frosty's coming back someday. Will you be ready?


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I haven't celebrated

I haven't celebrated Christmas in a long time.  However, I do celebrate friends and family and "spirit" of giving during the holidays.  I've made it all about getting together with people you love and respect and showing gratitude for their presence in your life.  Gifts are small and personal, food is plentiful, and the thanks are given to each other.  Even my xtian friends respect this (of course, none of them are fundies, they probably wouldn't get the whole idea) and some even join me for that celebration without ever bringing up the whole other thing.

I also make it a time to give to the less fortunate by taking food to the food banks, giving to Toys For Tots, homeless shelters, etc.  I give what I can year round but give a little more during the holidays.  It can be a depressing time for some and hopefully, that can make it a little less so. 

There are no holidays for atheists that I'm aware of and since the xtians stole the solstice from pagans I agree we should steal it from the xtians and make it secular.  The official greeting could be "bah humbug"Tongue out

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Bulldog wrote: There are

Bulldog wrote:

There are no holidays for atheists that I'm aware of and since the xtians stole the solstice from pagans I agree we should steal it from the xtians and make it secular. The official greeting could be "bah humbug"Tongue out

Winter Solstice, perhaps? 


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That pretty much has more

That pretty much has more validity to me than xmas.  The Winter Solstice for many ancients was considered a time of rebirth, I am more inclined toward the Southeast Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.) version, DōngZhi.  Celibrated during the winter solstice it is the "returning" of the sun's strength and is typically a time for reunions with family and friends. 

Since Southeast Asians already have this concept it would be a little like the xtians stealing it for xmas.

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If I had kids or close

If I had kids or close family, I would. To me its more about family and friends that the baby jeebus.

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Not to pry but, who's the

Not to pry but, who's the youngster on your shoulder?