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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