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Christmas Is Coming Already!


dichotomy
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I know it's only November but the Christmas plague has already begun to descend upon me and it's already getting me down. It's in the shops, people are asking what the kids want, Christmas cake baking is underway, parents are talking about whether or not it is okay to *lie* to your kids about Christmas. Christmas lights are going up around the towns, the discussion about whether it should be "Merry Christmas" or "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Winterval" so as not to offend are beginning already.....

 

Christmas for me used to be a really happy time and last year (the first after I deconverted) it was really difficult and despite my best efforts it's already beginning to feel that way again this year and it's only bloody November!!

 

So I thought I'd join in with all the polls and find out about you all and Christmas!?

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I treat xmas as a time to be with family. make it what you want. Forget the xian bit and look on it as family time.

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I am very glad that my deconversion didn't ruin Christmas for me. I still really love it. I love all the Christmas movies, the decorations, the food, the beer and wine, the family time, the Christmas tree, shopping, gifts, and on and on. Hell, I even like the Christmas commercials (well, at least I can tolerate them unlike other commercials). I just exclude anything Jesus from it (and it's better that way, anyway).

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Aw hell no. Who do I complain to?

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I enjoy the family aspects of Christmas since my uncle is one of those family members that really only shows up to holidays because it's an obligation (even then our holidays are 6 family members total, 7 with my uncle's partner). We always do Christmas mass as a whole family (parents, sister, grandmother, and uncle). We used to do eve when I was a kid but moved to day because there are fewer people going early in the morning.

 

We don't even do a lot of presents anymore. Stockings and scratch off tickets are the main attraction with a few big presents and a meal.

 

Besides the mass the only big religious thing in my Christmas life is setting up the nativity scene (which I always throw a ceramic flamingo into)

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Besides the mass the only big religious thing in my Christmas life is setting up the nativity scene (which I always throw a ceramic flamingo into)

 

Hmm I *like* this idea. See I still set up the nativity scene because it's part of christmas and I remember loving it as a child, but it feels silly because I no longer believe it and my kids don't really get what it's for. Perhaps if I add a random ceramic object alien to the traditional nativity scene it will balance it out for me :HaHa:

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Since we're talking about Christmas, I'll tell you an odd story (which is true). Back in my Xian days, I was one of those obnoxious people who would put up one of those plastic nativity scenes in the front yard (you know, where Joseph is 3 feet tall, Mary is kneeling by the manger, and the baby is in the manger). Anyway, one evening I came home during the holiday season and baby Jesus was missing. Bummer. I took the rest of it down and put it away. Move forward to Easter. When we came home from Easter service, there was baby Jesus lying in the front yard!

 

That next Christmas, we put the nativity scene back out and the same thing happened (baby jesus went missing). This time it was returned a few months later in the same manner (just not on Easter). It was really weird and we never put it back out again. It was really weird.

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When you were a Christian how was Christmas for you?

 

I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and family togetherness that is brought on by the holiday.

 

When you were a xian, how much did church feature in your Christmas?

 

I grew up Church of Christ so Christmas was downplayed almost all together because they take on the mindset that one should not celebrate the birth of Jesus on just one day. A couple of carols may have been sung throughout the month but nothing was emphasized.

 

As a xian how significant was Christmas to you?

 

Well, I saw it as the birth of my savior, even if the date wasn't correct.

 

Do you still celebrate Christmas?

 

I do still celebrate Christmas because it, by in large, a secular holiday that focuses on the family. Hell, it's still Saturnalia.

 

Do you still attend church at Christmas?

 

Even though I grew up Church of Christ, my family has been attending Christmas mass (my mother's family is Catholic) over the past few years. I actually like going, especially when we go to Denny's afterwards.

 

Is Christmas a difficult time of year for you now?

 

As I mentioned before, it is mostly a secular holiday, so I have no problem; plus, I like the atmosphere that the decorations create.

 

When you were a christian did Father Christmas feature?

 

Yeah, my parents told me the lie about Santa Clause. I don't fault them for it.

 

Does Santa feature in your Christmas now? (I guess this is only relevant if kids are involved)

 

I don't have kids, but if I did, I feel it is wrong to blatantly tell them a lie and have them believe in it. My sister is pregnant with her first son and wants everyone to play along with the whole Santa shtick, but if he comes to me asking if Santa is real, I will tell him no (same goes with all the childhood tales like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy).

 

If you still celebrate Christmas since losing your faith do you feel hypocritical?

 

Absolutely not. Christmas is a cultural thing that still has some good values.

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My deconversion happened literally within five days of Christmas '07. Boy was that awkward, but mainly because I was super paranoid that my brother would 'discern' what I had done, which would have scared me right the fuck back into the fold. Fortunately, he was clueless. I totally thought the Holy Spirit was going to tip him off, and that really would have fucked with me. Enough for me to reconvert on the spot. It would have been incontrovertible proof to me that the Lard was real after all and that I was making a terrible mistake.

 

That was my main worry, by far. A distant second was that I was making Baby Jesus cry on his birthday. I guess it helped that the entire rest of my family were merry heathens.

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I have always enjoyed Christmas, but the first poll question was difficult to answer. I always enjoyed it - I loved decorating the house (still do), all the lights and parties, the presents, the tree, etc. As a Christian, the religious part was rather inseparable from it all, so factored into my enjoyment, but doesn't seem to diminish my enjoyment now, either. Thing is, it was also a horribly stressful time in our house - my mother always wanted the Redlin version of Christmas at home, and when things weren't perfect, she'd freak out. If us kids weren't on our best behavior (read, far better than normal) it would turn into a horrible guilt trip. My parents fought nearly every year during tree decoration, with the one exception being the year I told them I wasn't going to participate if they fought at all - and got up to leave before we even started because they were starting in, so they quit since they knew I was serious. I think that was the most enjoyable year of all, and the only one without a screaming match and having to talk one parent or the other into coming back and joining us.

 

So, growing up it was a mixed bag - now, I enjoy it. It's just me and my hubby, and we have our little ways of celebrating (too broke for gifts the last few years, but we take the day off, stay in PJ's, watch movies, and eat cheese, crackers and shrimp rings all day :) The first few years we were married it was less fun since juggling family visits was expected, but since we live too far away now, it's pleasant. I still enjoy the decorations and lights, the smells, and the few presents we sometimes get from family.

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Christmas and Easter have always been huge deals for my family (and Thanksgiving) because of the religious aspect AND the family aspect. As a child we did the whole Santa thing but my rational mind decided very early on that Santa could in no way possibly exist so I asked my parents about it and they confirmed it. By the time I was a teen and had baby sisters again my parents had decided that "Jesus is the reason for the season" and told my little sisters that there is no Santa. They still got presents, just not from Santa.

 

I had a moment not long ago when I realized that it is almost time for Christmas decorations where I thought to myself, "Self, should you put up Christmas decorations now that you aren't a believer?" I thought about that and then decided that since none of my Christmas decorations are religious anyway (tree, wreath, greenery, candles) that it doesn't matter since those were all appropriated from pagan practices. I'll do my best to keep the Christ out of Christmas from now on, haha!

 

Right now I still go to church weekly since I'm the music director, but I probably won't go to explicitly religious services after I'm free of that obligation. I probably will still go to Christmas concerts (as long as it's something like Messiah or Bach's Christmas Oratorio, I hate concerts that are nothing but a bunch of Christmas carols and cheesy Christmas music. I'm a huge music snob, I know. I have a Master's of Music, I'm entitled to it. :P)

 

Other than that, Christmas is just a wonderful time with family, and I intend to enjoy that, just like at Thanksgiving.

 

Easter, I doubt will have the same significance, it's SLIGHTLY family oriented for my family, but not like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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I never celebrated Christmas growing up (my birthday is soon afterwards so I got screwed that way). I never even knew what day Christmas was on (I'd hear but never remember) until I started working because I'd always have Christmas off so it quickly became ingrained in my mind.

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Like Ophelia I grew up CoC so there was no religious element to Christmas growing up. But my parents converted into CoC so they had childhood memories of big Christmases so we still did everything else in a big way. Basically we celebrated all the pagan aspects of Christmas which really works well for me now. My dad grew up Catholic and my mom evangelical Protestant and both have huge families so when we lived nearby Christmas was essentially a never ending series of family get-togethers and food. My favorite thing as a child was the music and decorations and the general 'feeling'. These are the same things I love now. I call it Solstice or Yule or Christmas. Doesn't matter to me. There is a reason most cultures had a big holiday this time of year to boost moral through the dead of winter.

 

This will be our first year doing Christmas with just our family (husband and our two kids). I think we will celebrate on the 21st or 22nd. We have always downplayed the importance of presents on this day in particular. I'd like to give a few presents on the solar holidays throughout the year and not pile on this time. But the decorations, the food, the music, the stories, the songs - hells yes. Doing our family celebration on the solstice will free up Christmas day to do things with friends (and family in years to come). I don't care much one way or another about Santa Claus. I never believed in him as a kid (just never bought it) and it didn't diminish the fun of the holiday. I think he'll only get credit for stockings since that is the original story and he'll only give practical items like gloves and tooth brushes. Not letting some mythical fat man take credit for everything! We'll tell the Jesus story like a fairy tale along with other stories to give it context. Jesus and Santa will be given equal station and credence.

 

I do hate hate hate hate many christmas carols. Rudolf the red nosed rain deer and frosty the snow man in particular (and any like them). I actually prefer the old christian carols to mostly any of the secular or new garbage they have. Especially the instrumental versions. I remember in school we sang silent night in choir but I opted out because as Church of Christ I could not sing religious songs with a piano. By the end of my time at CoC the current preacher was trying to get the congregation to stop celebrating the pagan holidays. I found it hilarious how many people didn't know that Christmas and Easter are pagan holidays with Jesus stickers on them.

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I have always enjoyed Christmas, but the first poll question was difficult to answer. I always enjoyed it - I loved decorating the house (still do), all the lights and parties, the presents, the tree, etc. As a Christian, the religious part was rather inseparable from it all, so factored into my enjoyment, but doesn't seem to diminish my enjoyment now, either. Thing is, it was also a horribly stressful time in our house - my mother always wanted the Redlin version of Christmas at home, and when things weren't perfect, she'd freak out. If us kids weren't on our best behavior (read, far better than normal) it would turn into a horrible guilt trip. My parents fought nearly every year during tree decoration, with the one exception being the year I told them I wasn't going to participate if they fought at all - and got up to leave before we even started because they were starting in, so they quit since they knew I was serious. I think that was the most enjoyable year of all, and the only one without a screaming match and having to talk one parent or the other into coming back and joining us.

 

I admit to struggling with creating the first question as I too had mixed feelings about Christmas even as a child. I loved it, the general feeling, the excitement etc. but it was a stressful time of year too and as a teenager it gradually got worse with my family life getting worse in general. Even as an adult I find it quite stressful trying to satisfy all the family and you can put so much effort into the day to make it perfect that it ends up being an anti climax.

 

So, growing up it was a mixed bag - now, I enjoy it. It's just me and my hubby, and we have our little ways of celebrating (too broke for gifts the last few years, but we take the day off, stay in PJ's, watch movies, and eat cheese, crackers and shrimp rings all day :) The first few years we were married it was less fun since juggling family visits was expected, but since we live too far away now, it's pleasant. I still enjoy the decorations and lights, the smells, and the few presents we sometimes get from family.

 

I think that like you we just need to make Christmas our own now that we have our own family, our own home and are no longer Christians, I'm aware that this is what I want but we just haven't managed to do it yet. I tried really hard to organise Christmas to just be the 5 of us this year but we're already going to someone else's for dinner now and I've got a friend coming round in the afternoon, oh well! I'm sure we'll make our own traditions in the eventually.....

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I've always been someone who likes Christmas generally, but I think the whole "holiday season" should be confined to two weeks in December. I still feel the same way. When I deconverted, I was afraid it would be really uncomfortable around my family during Christmas. Turns out it's not any worse than the rest of the year. (e.g. Me standing awkwardly with my eyes open during mealtime prayer and then being the only one to not say "amen".)

 

 

I do hate hate hate hate many christmas carols. Rudolf the red nosed rain deer and frosty the snow man in particular (and any like them). I actually prefer the old christian carols to mostly any of the secular or new garbage they have. Especially the instrumental versions.

Oh, I feel exactly the same way. I like to make my own Christmas compilation CD with "approved" Christmas music and bring that to holiday gatherings. This started back when I was a (Christian) teenager. I made up a fake association CFMAAANCS: Concerned Family Members Against Annoying And Nauseating Christmas Songs. (I think I got the "concerned" part from radio commercials for "Concerned Women for America".) No one else would join.

 

This year's CD will probably be instrumental Christmas hymns, a little bit of Handel, some less annoying secular songs, and Vienna Teng's The Atheist Christmas Carol. Maybe "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch".

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When I was 13 I was (forced) in the boy scouts. I was forced to go christmas mass, caroling, and my group had to do the nativity seen. I hated it.

I never really celebrated christmas before I was 7, so I never believed in Santa.

 

I celebrate Christmas now, but my family was never really into the jesus part of it. We would pray and whatnot.

 

Now its more of a time to spend with family. Most of it is the same. Except, instead if an angel ontop of the tree, I put this c'thulu plushie. The little ones look at it funny. If they ask, I just tell them "The dark lord shall reign a thousand years of sorrow when he awakes." I thought it was hilarious, but my mom not so much.

 

Here's the plushie

c8d1_cthulu_christmas_tree_topper.jpg

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I've always loved Christmas :D My family was big on the Santa and presents thing, but we always had/still have a nativity set up. For us though it was more about family. We never really went to a church service or anything, and we only really mentioned "the Christmas story" when we pray over the food.

 

This is my second Christmas as an ex-Christian, but my first as a strong one. I asked Mom the other day if she thought it would be hypocritical of me to celebrate Christmas and she said Of course not. So that made me pretty happy (:

 

I feel like I can appreciate the holiday more though since I'm not feeling guilty about focusing on family and presents instead of Jesus. I'm really looking forward to this year's :3

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Easter, I doubt will have the same significance, it's SLIGHTLY family oriented for my family, but not like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

 

For me, Easter has no merit now unless I had a young child to whom I would give an easter basket, and for whom I would have an easter egg hunt (purely pagan stuff). But that's it for that no account holiday as far as I'm concerned. Resurrection, indeed - NOT!

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Christmas is a HUGE deal in my family, but we're weird in that we hate any Christmas festivities other than shopping any time before Thanksgiving. We're the one-holiday-at-a-time people, and the post-Labor Day clusterfuck drives us crazy.

 

However, it's always been religious, though religion and Santa have always been about equal. We haven't gone to a church service in years, though. The last time we went to a Christmas service was when I was still a Christian, and I played Silent Night with my friend during a December service. My sister outed me to my parents just a few days before the next Christmas, even though I was perfectly willing to go through the motions so they wouldn't figure it out (they wouldn't have, because my family is surprisingly non-religious through the rest of the year). Since I was 14 Christmas has been a much more secular affair, and there's fewer religious decorations but I feel like it's my fault and that it's so I don't get offended.

 

I'm one of the few atheists that doesn't mind the religious aspects of Christmas, no matter how inaccurate they may be. I don't see the point in spoiling people's fun :shrug: Plus the Christian songs are much, much prettier than the gag-worthy generic winter/snow shit they over-play on the radio.

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My family never really focused on the religious part of Christmas... Someone might bring it up at some point, but it was never really a big deal. Now, my aunts and uncles and grandmother are a bit more religious than my parents, so it's kind of awkward if they mention it, though. I usually change the subject :P

My Christmas was/is usually about Santa and Rudolph and snow stuff like that, and like a family holiday, nothing so religious. Oh, and gifts. Heh. In fact, I'm going to go make a Christmas list for 'Santa' right now... >:3

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The very reason I dont celebrate xmas anymore is I feel hypocritical taking part. The logical side of my mind tells me it is all redressed Paganism, so why not celebrate. But the emotional side of me doesn't associate the trappings of xmas with Paganism, it associates them with my childhood and xtian upbringing. I am also angry that xtianity has stolen so much from the Pagan world, and the whole season is rife with xtian symbols and music, and it brings back all my feelings of being held down. And most of the country does not know about the Pagan origins of the season, so I feel that if I celebrate xmas along with everybody else, I am in effect saying I dont care that all those people were killed and dominated for xtianity to win the holiday. But I do care. I want nothing to do with xtianity for the rest of my life, and unfortunately, xmas is a very xtian holiday.

 

I also find the secular side of the holiday a tad disgusting as well. I like the idea of spending time with family and such, but it is such a materialistic holiday now, spend spend spend on useless things that nobody uses much, and the waste in wrapping paper alone is disgusting. It is in reality a shallow holiday meant to make profits for merchants, and I also do not want to take part in that either.

 

I do love the winter months though, and I have no problems with secular holiday music. Just nothing that speaks of a manger or a king being born...I am currently trying to find a way to celebrate the holidays without feeling a hypocrite, but I have as yet found none. I sit at home alone and watch Star Trek or something while my family opens gifts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Too many questions and too many options in the poll...I could have answered so many ways. Basically, I have always loved Christmas. As a child for the presents and Santa, as a teen for Jesus, the presents, food and family gatherings, as an adult (without children) for Jesus, the presents (both giving and receiving), food and family, and lastly....as an adult (with children, and deconverted) for Santa, the presents (both giving and receiving) food, family and decorating!! There's so much more to it than that, but basically Christmas is still an exciting time of year for me! The atmosphere, music, snow, lights...too much to mention! Besides, Christmas as it's celebrated today is a stolen holiday. It's no more Christian than my left nut (roasting on an open fire!)

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I used to celebrate Christmas with my family growing up. We didn't really stress the religious value to the holiday as much. My mom wasn't very strict with the rules of christianity and my dad didn't convert to the hardcore catholicism until I was 12. Even when I was super religious I didn't like going to church. Mostly because I felt ugly and everyone at church seemed like they were sticking their noses up at a poor family who didn't have very nice clothes. I hated being paraded in front of the congregation on a holiday like that, sure made me feel inferior.

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