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PurpleLilac

First Christmas as Ex-C

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It’s very strange. Trimming the tree,stringing the lights outside and hearing the music on the radio still makes me happy (if Mary,Did You Know comes on,that’s a different story). I light my gingerbread candle and look around my house. Advent calendars (I got a Lego one to add to our nativity one). Two other nativities,an angel that plays Silent Night....the Christian holiday is everywhere I look and most of it holds warm,happy memories for me. Aside from “Santa is from the devil”,Christmas was one of those rare areas my parents didn’t completely fuck up with fear and sadness. 

I still go to a fundy church with my family most weeks and I cannot believe how shaming the sermon was yesterday. UGH. And that mixes with Joy to the World and the decorated stage. 

Im trying to just *chill* and enjoy all the good moments and there are a lot. But it is weird to keep hearing about Jesus,someone I don’t believe in at all anymore. And the stars and nativity scenes is kind of like seeing storybook figures everywhere? 

If anyone has stories of their first one or two Christmases as Ex-C,I welcome them. I feel strangely alone in this surreal month of December. 

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To me it's a great relief not to have to get out all the lights and decorations and put them up, just to take them down in a week or two. Strings of lights are the worst. It's been a couple of years now that Mrs. Older hasn't insisted that I put them up. No matter how carefully you store them, the light fairy comes in July when its 107 degrees out and tangles the strings into a rat's nest. Shopping for a tree was always a chore, and putting it up a struggle. And the train that goes around the tree never goes together easily, and it has to be done down on the floor by an old, unflexible body. I hope the grandkids don't ask for the train (but if they do, I'll get it down with a smile). Now the Mrs. just puts a few lights on her potted ficus tree in the dining room. I'm hoping she will skip that this year. She goes to a Christmas service at her church. I stay home and play with my hobby projects in my workshop.

 

But we're all looking forward to the Mrs's Christmas Eve dinner. She makes a killer turkey with all the stuff that goes with it. I might join in and bake some bread. There will be seven grandkids here and it will be loud. They and their parents are all fundies but we agree to disagree and don't discuss it. While they're praying their little hearts out, I'll be thinking about how I'm going to hone the carving knife and attack the bird.

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Ironically, around the time of my deconversion I started having Xmas at my kinda-secular grandparent's place. He held a much more lavish Xmas than I was familiar with growing up as a Xian. I know it's supposed to be a Xian holiday but I get a little schadenfreude at the thought of all the Xians that are cringing because we're making it a non-Xian holiday. HAIL SANTA!

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Yes, it's still surreal for me. This is my second xmas out of the church, but my first surrounded by fundie family, sort of.

I can't listen to any of the music, it just ends up annoying me. So much of it has religious terminology, and while I like music, I always end up listening to the words, so I've just decided on instrumental music or nothing at all.

I would not be able to take church, or watch cute nativity scenes or christmas programs. I suppose I'm likely going to be invited, but I'm not joining. All the emotions, even though its been two years, are still too close to the surface.

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A light net or two outside on a couple bushes.

In previous years I have placed a couple ornaments (the only ones) on a fake palm tree in the living room.

Last night Mrs. MOHO wanted a fake "x-mass" tree from the attack in place of the palm so I got it out, set it up, and regarded it as natural/pagan/winter holiday thing. No ornaments and Mrs. MOHO, although has a small nativity seen out, refers to most of the decorations as winter decor. 

 

1 hour ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

so I've just decided on instrumental music or nothing at all.

 

Same here. www.jazzradio.com

 

 

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28 minutes ago, PurpleLilac said:

Bang on. Kind of what I've been doing, although I have to admit I don't really feel any of the emotions related to religion and I'm a bit surprised I don't. It's more like nostalgia for the past and emotions connected to the family bond. But more than those I just feel gratitude that I saw reality and escaped. I'm also enjoying thinking about Christmas with a brand new slate - I can make my own traditions now. 

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Yes,I think nostalgia is a good word. And I can stand in my space and feel things while still being relived and happy to not be trapped in fairytales for my personal worth anymore. Wow,it felt great to type that. 

I told my boys that a lot of holidays are in Dec because it’s cold and dark this time of year and celebration with lights and food and family help keep people cheered up and warm. I loved explaining things that way instead of heavily emphasizing Jesus to the max and barely skimming the fact that most of the world is also celebrating this time of year as well. 

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It's my first one too. I suppose that not *too* much will change for me. I just won't be going to church. And I've made a new playlist filled with entirely secular christmas music rather than the religious ones that I used to love, but I know now will just make me sad. It will still feel weird though, and I imagine that I'll have a mixture of emotions. 

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I merely see Christmas, or Xmas (or whatever you prefer to call it) as this background noise with Christian overtones.  By this point (past the 6 year mark as an atheist), I have no religiously driven emotional connection to the holiday whatsoever.  I think the goal for most of should be (or has been) eliminating the religious emotional substrate from all areas of our life, to uninstall the last traces of the god virus from our minds.

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12 hours ago, Stargazer95 said:

It's my first one too. I suppose that not *too* much will change for me. I just won't be going to church. And I've made a new playlist filled with entirely secular christmas music rather than the religious ones that I used to love, but I know now will just make me sad. It will still feel weird though, and I imagine that I'll have a mixture of emotions. 

There is plenty of xmas music I used to love, but that I do get annoyed with if it I listen to the lyrics...however there's a good solution...almost all xmas music is in some language you don't understand, so just find those versions. I'm scandinavian and like listening to scandinavian carols, nostalgia I suppose. So I just listen to them in the languages I don't understand. I've also found some pretty good artists I wasn't aware of that way as well. It makes good mood music without paying attention to lyrics.

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As to music, I'd just as soon skip all the syrupy and cheesy stuff, but I'll always stop to listen to Handel's Messiah. I just ignore the underlying message and enjoy the sound. I've read that it was originally scored for a modest scale of musicians and only later became the huge scale production with giant choruses and large orchestras. I love listening to it with a pipe organ in a giant cathedral at double forte. There are quite a few renditions of the Hallelujah Chorus on YouTube.

 

This one may be close to what Handel originally intended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3TUWU_yg4s

 

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2 hours ago, older said:

As to music, I'd just as soon skip all the syrupy and cheesy stuff, but I'll always stop to listen to Handel's Messiah. I just ignore the underlying message and enjoy the sound. I've read that it was originally scored for a modest scale of musicians and only later became the huge scale production with giant choruses and large orchestras. I love listening to it with a pipe organ in a giant cathedral at double forte. There are quite a few renditions of the Hallelujah Chorus on YouTube.

 

This one may be close to what Handel originally intended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3TUWU_yg4s

 

The Messiah has been a holiday tradition for me just for the music, I likely wont break that one, at least not with a choir like King's. Good music is just one of the draws with Christianity I think. Just another mood manipulation technique, and it worked on me. Now, I just listen for the mood.

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8 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

There is plenty of xmas music I used to love, but that I do get annoyed with if it I listen to the lyrics...however there's a good solution...almost all xmas music is in some language you don't understand, so just find those versions. I'm scandinavian and like listening to scandinavian carols, nostalgia I suppose. So I just listen to them in the languages I don't understand. I've also found some pretty good artists I wasn't aware of that way as well. It makes good mood music without paying attention to lyrics.

 

Oh that's a great idea! Never would have thought of that. I'll check it out, thanks. 

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I love the pagan aspects of Christmas, the evergreen and other symbols of life surviving winter that were snatched up by the church. The smell of the tree, and the candlelight. I sing a lot, and did an xmas sing-thing at a jazz club recently. It was fun, except when people sang the religious songs that seemed so completely out of place (even though the place is owned by very liberal/Catholic believers). I was drafted to sing "The Prayer" with a friend, so I do it, though at the places were it says "give us faith so we'll be safe" I mentally insert "from you, you narcissistic bastard". Later in the month I'll gather with friends to feast and play games. I avoid the church stuff, including the beautiful Handel's Messiah because of the words. The church has had a lot of talented musicians that produced some incredible music. But the words glorify an abuser, and I won't sing those anymore.

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I have been celebrating christmas secularly for 30 years now...no nativity scenes, no stories of a jewish virgin with a british name giving birth to a miracle child, no bethlehem...we just focus on peace and good will...not that the cult knows anything about that lol

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I suppose this is my second secular Christmas. Last year, I still went along to the Christmas Eve servie.  This year, not gonna happen. ptsd and social anxiety? Pretty sure I don’t need to tag along to a church service to help my mom feel better about herself.  Back in therapy this month and it’s been great. 

 

Wer are planning on doing a nerd game fest Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day being Chinese food and watching Star Wars.  

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I fucked up most of my good xmas memories when my first marriage imploded. I had really fond memories of songs like Evening in December. Now that just makes me think of all the holidays I missed with my kids. At least one of them still talks to me some, but I really hate that fucking song now.

 

This topic is part of a larger issue, which is having all these really nice, warm fuzzy memories connected to music and holidays and friends completely and utterly destroyed just because you now realize that Jesus isn't real. I see things on Facebook - old friends with their kids all grown up and having families of their own, and I want to 'like' and comment, but then I remember how that's going to go. The questions. The shock and horror. The silence. Awkward! So I don't click anything.

 

I'm the kind of person that really enjoys reconnecting with people from the past. But when your past is fused to christianity and your present is completely divorced from it, reconnecting generally doesn't go well. So christianity basically fucks up everything in its wake.

 

I should probably convert this into a blog post or essay. Sorry for dumping on your thread. :(

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On 12/3/2018 at 10:47 PM, older said:

To me it's a great relief not to have to get out all the lights and decorations and put them up, just to take them down in a week or two. Strings of lights are the worst. It's been a couple of years now that Mrs. Older hasn't insisted that I put them up. No matter how carefully you store them, the light fairy comes in July when its 107 degrees out and tangles the strings into a rat's nest. Shopping for a tree was always a chore, and putting it up a struggle. And the train that goes around the tree never goes together easily, and it has to be done down on the floor by an old, unflexible body. I hope the grandkids don't ask for the train (but if they do, I'll get it down with a smile). Now the Mrs. just puts a few lights on her potted ficus tree in the dining room. I'm hoping she will skip that this year. She goes to a Christmas service at her church. I stay home and play with my hobby projects in my workshop.

 

But we're all looking forward to the Mrs's Christmas Eve dinner. She makes a killer turkey with all the stuff that goes with it. I might join in and bake some bread. There will be seven grandkids here and it will be loud. They and their parents are all fundies but we agree to disagree and don't discuss it. While they're praying their little hearts out, I'll be thinking about how I'm going to hone the carving knife and attack the bird.

Remember the first Christmas I celebrated as a Hindu, and when I awoke on 26 December I had a rush of relief that I didn't have to take it all down in a few days. That was such a good feeling that I never looked back. Mrs Jag hinted about putting things up last year but I pretended to not hear. She really didn't get to demanding about it as I think she too was glad not to have the whole de-decoration process

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Winter solstice holidays predate christianity, so I don’t have any qualms about enjoying the smell of the tree, the candles, the frankincense, and the music, especially if it is in a language that I don’t understand.  You can find all kinds of cool stuff on Spotify; I think the Russian orthodox choir music is the best.  Palestrina is also a favorite.  Then there is the Windham Hill instrumental stuff.  Happy solstice!

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I really enjoy the music as it brings back childhood memories (not all of which were bad).  There are lots of secular things to do although many places and people have trees up, they simply fade into seasonal decor, much like decor size flags on Independence day.

 

People in my senior Hindu group have a Christmas party every year. When I asked them why they celebrate Christmas I was reminded that Christmas is a secular holiday too. We have fun and dress in traditional Hindu attire.

 

I do get fed up with all the xtains who troll about in the malls loudly wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS (as opposed to Happy Holidays) as if to remind everyone that this is the reason for the season etc. I always felt that if xtains want to make it really purely religious, then they should stop all the gift buying and toys for kids spending and focus on doing something Christ like for that day. If they want people to respect the religious aspect of it then it is up to them to make that happen. I felt that was even when I was xtain. However xtains seem to spend more money on secular activities and party more than some of the very people they criticize.

 

Sorry I needed to rant that

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Here in DougTuckey Oregon xmass greetings, in a loud ruckus voice,  is a battle cry. It's how the masses identify each other and warn   intimidate the non-believers.

  • There are more of us than you.
  • We are righteous and you are an evil little piss-ant who puts science above god.
  • You have no rights - including the right to live.
  • We have the right to kill you but Muslims are evil because they think they have the right to kill non-Muslims.

 

Many xitans in this town are not like that and are quite decent and loving but there are enough of those described above that I actually limit activities outside of my home office, like grocery shopping and communicating with Mrs. MOHO, during the xmass season.

 

As I've written here before I am highly motivated to voice my beliefs when appropriate but sometimes it can be downright dangerous. These people run around with their concealed carry permits and go on about how Satan is everywhere and we're prepared. You all know how powerful group dynamics can be.

 

Sorry to be such a Debby Downer but so many of the pastor asshats out there have glomed onto the war on xmass concept as a means of mitigating the mass out-flux of sheeple that it sometimes feels like a war zone here.

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Funny that this got so enthusiastically revived from December of 2018. It is timeless of course like most of the things we discuss here so the year doesn't matter nearly so much as the time of year anyhow. I've been deconverted for at least 56 years and my wife was never a believer (her mother went from marginal christian to atheist as my wife was growing up) and our 3 grown children are all atheist. (I deliberately moved far from my Christian birth family in order to not have to bother rehashing christianity over and over and also so as not to have to view intra familial relationships through the lens of patriarchy.)  Religion wasn't a big topic in our house when the kids were growing and we didn't actually interact socially with many christians however we never ever missed an opportunity to have a little holiday together. Christmases were just great! Sometimes I read a seasonal story to the family. I especially remember reading Truman Capote's, "A Christmas Memory" one year. We did all the tree stuff and played and listened to the music and had presents and a special meal on the day. I honestly can't recall any conversation regarding the real meaning of christmas with the kids. We never went to church and I don't recall the kids ever asking about going or even much about what they did inside churches (probably flipping through TV channels provided enough insight on that).  I expect we all still like most everything christmas including the songs but they are more just folk songs for us and don't go anywhere near opening doors to the supernatural. I have considered attending a christmas church service for the ambiance and theater of it but the pull so far has not been great enough for me to actually go. I do think the doctrine is without question dangerous and has proven to be harmful to some children and adults. That being said I think even the doctrine becomes pretty benign once it is seen for what it is so neither the church nor the (sometimes silly or gross) songs have been necessarily hands off for me for a long time now. Also I keep paying taxes for these christian institutions I might as well get what I can out of that unfortunate situation.   

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Just tell them Christmas is really on January 7 and is a spiritual solemnity, not a festive one. That might give them pause for thought. Or you can say, "Yes in my Hindu group we are planning a party!" (Thanks @Jagdish)

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It's a great time of year to be in a foreign country. In Mexico, the commercialization is very low. If you're lucky, *maybe* one person might say 'feliz navidad' to you on Christmas Eve. It's more important than Dec. 25th here. The whole gift exchange thing doesn't occur until King's Day, early January. Right around my birthday, as a matter of fact. 

 

Last year I especially enjoyed the nativity display on the town square. It starts off with Joseph, Mary and the animals. But no baby, because he hasn't been born yet! Then in the days leading up to the big day, the wise men are placed in a corner of the plaza and slowly move closer each day. Then on Dec. 25, voila! Baby Jesus is present and the wise men gather around. Not a perfect timeline, but it kinda made me chuckle.

 

This is from Mexico City this last December (attached)

 

 

IMG_2357.JPG

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