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Author Topic: Christmas sans Christ?  (Read 979 times)

Arthurine

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Christmas sans Christ?
« on: December 22, 2013, 04:26:09 am »
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents? My mom is a very non-preachy liberal Christian and my dad is probably an atheist, but religion definitely isn't a part of his life. However, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because of the traditions my parents have kept since I was a child. During Christmas we have never focused on "the reason for the season" but rather just enjoyed each others company immensely and reveled in the bright spot of a dark and cold time of year here in the Appalachian hills.

We do however watch "White Christmas" about 38 times a season and listen to the same ~15 Christmas albums and have four boxes of ornaments, handmade and from yard sales and thrift stores and etc, etc. We have bunches of candy canes and watch the Grinch and A Wish for Wings That Work and the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

So my question is, are there any others out there like me? Staunch supporters of the Christmas spirit, detached from the Christianity? Anyone else who, in their heart, Christmas isn't about religion and has become a more secular, yet enlivening occasion through your family or the commercialization of Christmas or residual evangelism or any other means?

(*edited from accidental "Christian")
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 04:30:11 am by Arthurine »

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 05:33:45 am »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents?

 
Yes. Both of my parents are atheists, much of my mom's family is as well, and the Christians members are kinda quiet and non-intrusive about it. So I didn't really grow up around religion, let alone Christianity; not to say that I never interacted with it, I just never thought of it as religion at the time. I was a little kid, after all. Heck, I was incredulous at age 9 when a friend of mine told me that she and her sister and her parents believed in God.

But nonetheless we've had some pretty strong Christmas traditions. We've baked cookies, hosted a Christmas Eve party, and gone to my grandfather's house for Christmas dinner. He always sets up these elaborate train sets all around the house, and a village diorama full off horrible goings-on and vile characters, with hilariously warped back-stories for each of them.

RandallS

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2013, 09:24:58 am »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents?

While I grew up in a house with low key Christian parents, our Christmas traditions were mainly secular. Christmas is still a big thing for Lyric and me today, but its entirely secular: decorations, food, friends, gifts, etc.
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Sophia C

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2013, 10:16:25 am »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents?


Nope, you're not the only one. I was in the odd situation of growing up in a secular household (after about the age of 7), but being religious myself. Christmas was a private spiritual time for me, and a secular festive time with the family in parallel with that. It's part of why I can still enjoy it so much, not being Christian anymore. All the family traditions remain. I can't say it's all perfect memories, not least since my parents got divorced, but it's still lovely.

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Ravyn

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 10:12:26 pm »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents?


 


To me, Christmas is a family/family of choice holiday.  It is entirely about the people and the celebration of people and (when possible) the glee of giving gifts i am so smug about i could almost explode!!!


It is also a total extension of Yule.... same thing to me - Our Community had a Yule ritual in which we made popcorn strings, and they sent them home with me because i have land...i didn't get out into the woods to string those garlands until Xmas morning...and it was totally magickal/meaningful to me.


But then... my xmas music is hilariously either full on Very Religious Carols (O Emanuel) mixed with old Wassail/drinking songs  so... xmas has its own thing for me.

 This year for xmas dinner it was me, my dad, 4 friends (1 hetero couple and 1 alternative couple), 1 dog, 1 cat,( + 1 cat pouting under the bed) and 1 baffled, pissed off hen in a chicken diaper.    

Like you do.

:)

stephyjh

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2014, 11:20:33 pm »
Quote from: Ravyn;138853
To me, Christmas is a family/family of choice holiday.  It is entirely about the people and the celebration of people and (when possible) the glee of giving gifts i am so smug about i could almost explode!!!


It is also a total extension of Yule.... same thing to me - Our Community had a Yule ritual in which we made popcorn strings, and they sent them home with me because i have land...i didn't get out into the woods to string those garlands until Xmas morning...and it was totally magickal/meaningful to me.


But then... my xmas music is hilariously either full on Very Religious Carols (O Emanuel) mixed with old Wassail/drinking songs  so... xmas has its own thing for me.

 This year for xmas dinner it was me, my dad, 4 friends (1 hetero couple and 1 alternative couple), 1 dog, 1 cat,( + 1 cat pouting under the bed) and 1 baffled, pissed off hen in a chicken diaper.    

Like you do.

:)


As someone who dates both men and women, I'm uncomfortable with gay couples being described as "alternative." It has negative connotations in the LGBT community, because "alternative lifestyle" has been used for years with the implication that sexual orientation is a choice. So aside from its implication of abnormality, there is baggage associated with that term. I'm sure you wouldn't have used it if you were aware, but it's a thorny thing.
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missgraceless

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Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 02:12:33 pm »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538
Am I the only one who grew up in a household with deep rooted Christmas* traditions and one or more atheistic parents? My mom is a very non-preachy liberal Christian and my dad is probably an atheist, but religion definitely isn't a part of his life. However, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because of the traditions my parents have kept since I was a child. During Christmas we have never focused on "the reason for the season" but rather just enjoyed each others company immensely and reveled in the bright spot of a dark and cold time of year here in the Appalachian hills.

We do however watch "White Christmas" about 38 times a season and listen to the same ~15 Christmas albums and have four boxes of ornaments, handmade and from yard sales and thrift stores and etc, etc. We have bunches of candy canes and watch the Grinch and A Wish for Wings That Work and the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

So my question is, are there any others out there like me? Staunch supporters of the Christmas spirit, detached from the Christianity? Anyone else who, in their heart, Christmas isn't about religion and has become a more secular, yet enlivening occasion through your family or the commercialization of Christmas or residual evangelism or any other means?

(*edited from accidental "Christian")

Not at all. I was raised Russian Orthodox and went to a Catholic grade school (go figure), but my mother came out as atheist a few years before I came out as Pagan. Her parents (my grandparents) were less than pleased, you could say. But they've accepted it and now the past 5 or so Christmases were really about family/friends and gift-giving.

Quote from: stephyjh;138858
As someone who dates both men and women, I'm uncomfortable with gay couples being described as "alternative." It has negative connotations in the LGBT community, because "alternative lifestyle" has been used for years with the implication that sexual orientation is a choice. So aside from its implication of abnormality, there is baggage associated with that term. I'm sure you wouldn't have used it if you were aware, but it's a thorny thing.

I've never heard the term "alternative couple" used before, but I can understand where you're coming from. How would you phrase it? I'm just curious for future reference so I don't offend anyone. But I suppose it would depend on the couple itself.
The first word that comes to mind is "fluid," because genders and sexual orientation aren't binary like most people think. Please correct me if that's a "thorny thing" too. I really mean no offense, I just don't want to be ignorant.
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SunflowerP

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 01:32:17 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;138912
I've never heard the term "alternative couple" used before, but I can understand where you're coming from. How would you phrase it? I'm just curious for future reference so I don't offend anyone. But I suppose it would depend on the couple itself.

 
Speaking for my(queer and genderqueer)self, I didn't really see why it was necessary to distinguish the two couples as being 'different kinds' of couple at all. Surely just 'four friends', or 'four friends (two couples)' would be sufficient in the context.

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Redfaery

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Re: Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 07:53:35 am »
Quote from: Arthurine;133538

So my question is, are there any others out there like me? Staunch supporters of the Christmas spirit, detached from the Christianity? Anyone else who, in their heart, Christmas isn't about religion and has become a more secular, yet enlivening occasion through your family or the commercialization of Christmas or residual evangelism or any other means?

(*edited from accidental "Christian")

 
*Raises hand* Winter holidays are archetypal, and the Holiday Season for me is about more than just Christmas. It extends from the beginning of December with Advent and the four symbolic candles on an evergreen wreath (a rather pagan, yet supposedly Lutheran ritual that my Catholic family adopted, because how could we not?) through Christmas/Yule to the beginning of the New Year and then, to me it ends on my birthday in mid-January. Second Christmas. Muwahahaahaaa. :D:

Seriously, winter holidays are pretty common, and it's not surprising that they'd share a lot of symbolism. Not much grows during winter, so you decorate with evergreen. It's dark and cold...and no more farming to do, so lots of good food from the harvest and just sitting around with family near a fire enjoying yourself.

That's not even getting into my feelings about Jesus (as opposed to "Christ") who I honor as a divine figure, but not as THE divine figure, and certainly NOT as an emanation of a monotheistic, omnipotent, omniscient God. I'm not Christian; I have too much else going on. But I still cling to relics of my Catholicism.;)
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missgraceless

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Christmas sans Christ?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 08:45:24 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;138990
Speaking for my(queer and genderqueer)self, I didn't really see why it was necessary to distinguish the two couples as being 'different kinds' of couple at all. Surely just 'four friends', or 'four friends (two couples)' would be sufficient in the context.

Sunflower

That's very true, and now I feel completely foolish. I don't know why I didn't look at it that way, especially having dated girls (I'm a cisgender girl) in the past and being friends with quite a few gender-fluid people over the years.
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