holiday cheer

9 ways to have a happy, secular, Christmas

I didn’t mean for my last post to sound as if I didn’t care for Christmas at all. In fact, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year, the best holiday by far. But when you shout “keep Christ in Christmas!” you’re talking about MY Christmas too, and frankly, MY Christmas has never had much Christ in it to begin with, seeing as how I was raised as an atheist, and I don’t really need Christ in my Christmas for it to be a wonderful, joyous time. I have many wonderful, happy memories of Christmases past and the season is imbued with deep and rich meaning for me. Christ doesn’t figure into it at all. I look forward to Christmas with child-like wonder and anticipation every single year. Yes Virginia, it is possible to have a meaningful Christmas without Christ. And you can too.

  1. Deck the halls: the practice of putting up greenery and other decorations in the winter has a long long history, so go crazy! Get a tree and a wreath and some roping for the stairs. Bring greens to every corner of your home!
  2. Have a holiday party/feast: thousands of years ago, the winter solstice was the last chance until spring for good eating. Aren’t we lucky to live during a time in in human history that very few people have to worry about starving to death before food starts growing again in the spring?
  3. Play Santa: exchanging gifts is a long standing tradition and was a part of most ancient (and not so ancient) mid-winter celebrations
  4. Light Candles (and put up lights): the days leading up to the winter solstice are the darkest days of the season. Put up some lights to ward off the darkness.
  5. Go Caroling/enjoy some secular (or not) holiday music. So many wonderful songs abound this time of year! For non-church going folk it’s our big chance spread Christmas cheer by singing loudly for all to hear!
  6. Speaking of which, watch holiday movies. There are many wonderful old and new holiday classics, most available from Netflix (or wherever your at-home movies come from).
  7. Go to NYC and see the sites.
  8. Bake cookies. Cookies are awesome. Also, pie.
  9. View Christmas through a child’s eyes. The holidays are a magical time of year. Something about the lights and the cold weather and the delicious anticipation makes this holiday the most special of them all. And yes, some people find that meaning in the story of the birth of Christ. But it doesn’t have to be that way for everybody. Sometimes you don’t need a reason for the season.

Go, secular humanists! Go forth! Make meaning in this season for yourselves. Because Christmas belongs to you too.

Merry Christmas!

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