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Atheism And The Holidays


Neverlandrut
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Come November and December, I will spend my first thanksgiving and Christmas as an atheist. Even though I don't believe any part of Christianity any more, I still love the holidays, especially Christmas. I have so many fond memories of Christmas. I see no problem with enjoying the festivities and giving to people out of a simple happy, charitable attitude. I can see why some atheists would not look forward to the holidays though. I guess it depends on what the holidays are like specific to you. Some Christians don't like the holidas. How do you feel about it?

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Thanksgiving is mostly about eating, with a prayer thrown in so it's not that bad. 

 

It will be the first holiday season for me, too as an "official" atheist. I still plan to have Christmas lights, a tree, and gifts. I don't see any reason to give it up, it's all secular. Most of what makes Christmas fun is pagan anyway, so I plan to enjoy myself. Have fun with it!

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"Thanksgiving" is meaningless in the U.K.

 

"Christmas" is a social festival to mark midwinter (albeit a few days out) and need have no  religious meaning.  It is celebrated by not all Christians but a majority of those of other and no faith.

 

It's also an excuse to eat, drink stay home from work and put your feet up.  Admittedly, it can become the time of year when the process of receiving and giving gifts translates into swapping all the things you don't want for all the things you can't afford.  It can also be the season for remembering how long it is since you last saw your family and how long you want it to be before you next see them.  But I find whisky tends to solve those issues...  All in all, it has its' compensations.

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Celebrate the holidays like they do in Japan!

 

For me it became time to spend with family, friends, and just relax. 

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I think peoples' attitudes towards the holidays have a lot to do with what their family is like. Holidays have always been quite stressful for me as a christian and as an atheist.

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This will be my eleventh holiday season as an "out" atheist.  The only things that have changed are 1) I'm never called upon to "bless the food" anymore and 2) I can finally go out and have a blast with my son on Halloween, which I never got to do when I was a kid because it was "of the devil".  I'm with everyone else; the fun parts of christmas are secular (it was originally a pagan holiday anyway).  And there's nothing wrong with being thankful for what you have in this world even if there is no god to whom to direct that thanks.

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Heh, I'll be celebrating Diwali this November, as I have for the past several years. You're all welcome to join me if the Christians won't have you. :)

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Thanks for the feed back everyone. It's always been interesting to me that the fun parts about the holidas are pagan in origin. I'm able to be as thankful as I ever was as a Christian, and I still love my family. Nothing's really changed about the holidays in my mind.

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Last Christmas and Thanksgiving were my first. I also lost my family in the past year (except for one set of grandparents) over my "lifestyle" of atheism so it was especially tough. I chose to lay low for the holidays. My in laws and grandparents came to my home where I felt comfortable and we had an enjoyable, secular Christmas. I did find that the holiday itself was more enjoyable this way. First off I got to avoid my crazy family. Secondly, as a pastors daughter, I remember every Christmas being a series of guilt filled church services where everyone tried to out do each other in remembering the "reason for the season." I often found myself feeling guilty growing up when I would enjoy secular Christmas festivities- like I was disrespecting Jesus' birth. Also, I have been lucky enough to have married into a non-Christian family- so when things get too rocky at the holiday season my egg nog has lots of holiday cheer in it to keep me going! 

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I'm sorry to hear that your family abandoned you over your unbelief, but secular holidays sound good to me.  I still celebrate religious holidays with my extended family, and I hate the religious and political talk.

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Wow Anastasia! So sorry there's distance between you and your family like that! Fortunate that you have your in laws to lean on. My family and in laws are fundamentalist Christians. Between the two, I think my family will be the least judgmental. My mother in law, however, would have a cow if she new of my atheism! My wife reuses to tell her, which I appreciate. I just accept the fact that I cannot control or feel responsible for other people's reactions. I can only control and be responsible for how I act toward them. So, I'll love them all anyway because they are my family, and I want to. How they react is on them.

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Last Christmas and Thanksgiving were my first. I also lost my family in the past year (except for one set of grandparents) over my "lifestyle" of atheism so it was especially tough. I chose to lay low for the holidays. My in laws and grandparents came to my home where I felt comfortable and we had an enjoyable, secular Christmas. I did find that the holiday itself was more enjoyable this way. First off I got to avoid my crazy family. Secondly, as a pastors daughter, I remember every Christmas being a series of guilt filled church services where everyone tried to out do each other in remembering the "reason for the season." I often found myself feeling guilty growing up when I would enjoy secular Christmas festivities- like I was disrespecting Jesus' birth. Also, I have been lucky enough to have married into a non-Christian family- so when things get too rocky at the holiday season my egg nog has lots of holiday cheer in it to keep me going! 

 

Presumably they think that they are cutting you off as a form of punishment or discipline to bring you back into the fold.  The doctrine behind that is contemptible, but, I suppose the people who practice it (and their victims) are to be pitied.

 

I'm sorry to read of this situation.

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