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Do you celebrate Christmas, or some semblance thereof?
Posted: 20 November 2007 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My kids are grown, but I raised them in the UU Church, so Christmas, for us, was a celebration of light rather than of the birth of Jesus.  We had Christmas trees, lots of presents, a family celebration with Catholic family members, but my kids clearly understood that Jesus was a folk tale, like Santa Claus.  What have the rest of you done to connect your kids or explain why you don’t connect with the whole holiday season?

Merry “Christ"mas…or, as I think of it, winter solstice.
Sage

[ Edited: 20 November 2007 09:24 PM by sagegreen ]
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Posted: 20 November 2007 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Saying Merry Christmas doesn’t bother me a bit. I celebrate Christmas with my wife’s family. We live halfway between her brother and her parents, so everyone comes to our house for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. After the family leaves we clean up the mess and go party with our friends.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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We celebrate Human Light Day.  As for explaining to my sons, it wasn’t too hard since I also took them to the Episcopal Church when they were younger.  So, they knew about Christmas too, but the liberal branch teaches that they (the Bible stories) are just stories.  So, it worked out fairly well.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 21 November 2007 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I love Christmas. I told my kids that on Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus who was a very kind man. I bought them a children’s book about Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem and all that stuff. I grew up in Czech R., where it was baby Jesus who brought us presents, not Santa. All our Christmas carols talk about Jesus and we even read Lucas’s evangelium from the Bible on Christmas eve. That said, nobody in my family is, or ever was, religious.

[ Edited: 21 November 2007 07:45 AM by George ]
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Posted: 21 November 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Ah, the annual “what about Christmas” conversations begin. Almost as much a part of the season for me now as carols. grin It’s my favorite holiday, and I celebrate a very secular Christmas, traditional by U.S. standards in most every way except for the lack of going to church and any obvious sign of Jesus. Whe do have a styalized Holy Family my mother gave us, which is as much an homage to the concept of family as to J/M/J. I do read my daughter the Christmas story, along with Norse and Greek Myths, Native American religious stories, etc. All part of the great store of metaphors humans have built to remind us of improtant things, without any particular need to literalize the depiction of the supernatural. As far as Christmas goes, I am a subversive. I prefer to subvert the traditions, to leech the religion out of them as has happened with Halloween, rather than rail about the oppressive influence and cultural hegemony of Christianity. We chat about the solstice and pre-Christian approaches to teh holiday as well, but I just can’t get excited about “artificial” holidays like Human Light and Kwanzaa (no offense intended to my fellow Sec. Humanists).

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Posted: 21 November 2007 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My Grandfather was, for all practical purposes, Santa Claus.  See the website here I am building in his honor.

So, as a result, it is impossible for me to say I do not believe in Santa, in the context of my Grandfathers work.

So, yes I do celebrate Christmas. My emphasis is on consideration and caring for others, and to simply enjoy the season.  Some people are depressed by the holidays.  I try to make an extra effort to make people happy, something I try to do all year round, but even more so at this time.

My grandfather was the Santa in the Macy’s parade for many years, he started the 1st school for department store Santa’s, which is celebrating it’s 70th year this year.

He was a religious man, but not a zealot.  His main focus was on making people happy and gathering like minded people in endeavors that supported that focus.

He passed away when I was just 7 years old.  But he left a strong impression on me.  From Thanksgiving on through New Years I feel his presence.

My favorite holiday is Halloween, but Christmas is a time when I do exercise my Humanist Values.  I sometimes refer to it as my Pagan Solstice Celebration.

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Posted: 21 November 2007 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Kwanzaa artificial?  I think my sons would disagree with you on that.  While they have not celebrated it themselves, they have enjoyed it with friends who do and they like it.  My younger son has begged me to start celebrating it in our home.  Thing is, I don’t agree with all it celebrates though.  That and I’m not African-American or even 1/2 like my sons.  I would feel out of sorts celebrating it.  Like I was intruding on someone else special occasion.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 21 November 2007 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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An interesting fact for this holiday season- The 3 Wise men from the nativity scene are thought to be Zoroastrian priests proficient in astrology from ancient Persia.  History of the little known religion Zoroastrianism is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism.  Christianity is easily defined as a combination of the 2 most popular religions of Jesus’ time.  They are Judaism & Zoroastrianism.

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Posted: 21 November 2007 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Well Mriana, by artificial I mean deliberately designed, rather than developed over long periods of time out of myriad cultural tradiitons. It’s not meant to denigrate the holiday, but I do think the origins have an influence on the kind of impact an observance is likely to have. In 100 years, if it persists and is reasonably widespread as a holiday, than it won’t be artifical in the sense that it is now, or that Human Light is. But I think we fool ourselves when we say that we can eliminate the elements we dislike about traditional religious holidays by replacing them de novo with holidays designed around our particular ideology and aesthetics. I just don’t think cultural customs work that way.

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Posted: 21 November 2007 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I don’t know.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I do think that Human Light helps, at least me, with the holiday blues.  I don’t get as “depressed” around the holidays now that we celebrate that instead.  It’s more life affirming to me, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas can’t be that too.  The problem is, it means Christ’s mass and so many Christians harp on that.  It goes from that to defense of Christmas/Christianity if you disagree with that.  rolleyes  Right now, Christians are throwing a fit because Walmart insists on making their employees say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.  It’s treading on their religious rights.  rolleyes  Yeah, right.  The closer it gets to Christmas, the worse it gets.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 21 November 2007 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This year I decided to celebrate the holiday season buy reading Tom Flynn’s book “The Trouble With Christmas”. It really makes a Scrooge like me feel a little less isolated during everyone else’s holiday celebrations. Honestly, though, I don’t have any interest in the whole thing. I normally work on the holidays, and since I work the night shift it gives me the excuse to sleep through most of it. Given my choice I would just treat it as any other day.

Unfortunately for me I live with my Mother, and she has always taken it upon herself to host the holiday festivities. It doesn’t take long (usually around noon) for some member of my family to come and wake me up. I don’t mean to sound like a party pooper, and I try not to be. I don’t bah humbug all day and try to wreck things, I prefer to just stay out of the way. Most of the time when it comes to most holidays I’d rather just sit them out.

The worst part of Christmas for me is the gift giving guilt trip. I don’t intend to give anyone gifts (except for my brother, whose birthday is December 17). I make a point of telling everyone that they don’t have to buy me anything. I assure them that I won’t be hurt or offended, but they insist anyway which always makes me feel bad for not reciprocating. My mother is especially bad because she always feels terrible for giving my brother more than she gives to me. I always tell her that I’m happy enough that I get to eat as much pie as I want.  It’s hard to convince anyone that I really don’t care. I seriously doubt that it’ll change any time soon either.

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Posted: 21 November 2007 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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We celebrate Xmas.

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Posted: 21 November 2007 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I say celebrate it and call it the solstice, which is what Chrihanukwanz really is anyway.  Everyone likes a good party.  If we remove all of the religion from the American tradition, there is still much left to participate in.  In our house we put up a solstice tree and celebrate the same basic way that most Americans do, but we do it on the correct day for the solstice instead of on “manufactured” christian variation.

This winter I’d also like to participate in HumanLight, but I’ve never managed to make it in the past.  That would be great, because then we could have two parties.

As for the “Christ” part, I would never allow that horrible filth in my home.  Stories about virgin births, invisible voyeurs and nailing people to crosses are inappropriate for children, and it’s not nice to scare them into being not naughty but nice.  :tongue:

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Posted: 22 November 2007 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 21 November 2007 05:56 PM

As for the “Christ” part, I would never allow that horrible filth in my home.  Stories about virgin births, invisible voyeurs and nailing people to crosses are inappropriate for children, and it’s not nice to scare them into being not naughty but nice.  :tongue:

Well, Christ wasn’t crucified on Christmas. So there is no need to include any of this during Christmas. BTW, have you ever read any of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales for example? Or any other non-Disney stories for kids? The crucifixion is a walk in the park compared to most of them.

And there is something else. The music. Most of the Christmas music from the past five hundred years is absolutely amazing. Maybe it’s not quite possible to experience any of this in the big cities in North America the same way you would in Europe. The most memorable Christmas holidays I have ever experienced were one in Salzburg and another one in Innsbruck, Austria. They were a fairy tale come true…

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Posted: 22 November 2007 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Most of the Christmas music from the past five hundred years is absolutely amazing.

My favorite is “Merry Christmas from the Family” by Robert Earl Keen, but my wife won’t let me put it in the iTunes Christmas playlist when her family comes over. Same with “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits. Oh well, at least I have a Chet Atkins Christmas album for such occasions.

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Posted: 22 November 2007 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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My favourite X-mas song is “Ave Maria” as sung by Barbra Streisand and only by Barbra.  Second to that is “O Holy Night” sung by Donna Summer- again, only sung by her.  Thirdly, “Carol of the Bells”. Actually, I could place “Carol of the Bells” in first place if there are enough bells and the right people orchrastrating and singing it, but you must have the bells.  No bells and the song sucks.  Yes, I have actually heard the song done with no bells and it’s just not right.

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