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What's your secular equivelant to Christmas?

post #1 of 33
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Edited by Bluebird9 - 11/27/11 at 10:11am
post #2 of 33
I had originally planned on making the Solstice our main holiday but then it turned into two holidays. Solstice for us and then X-Mas with the parents, after a couple years we abandoned the Solstice, just so much work to do have two holidays within days of each other. I still mark it as a special day but now just with a winter stew or cake. We just do a secular X-Mas now like what you described.
post #3 of 33
We celebrate Solistace/Yule. We do do a tree but keep it real simple no angel or star. We decorate the house w/other winterish stuff (cutt out snowflakes, snowmen,ect). We have a big dinner and exchange small, simple practical gifts. It helps that my mom (the only real family we have) celebrates too. We light candles, thank the earth and say a few "prayers"/rituals. Its relatively new for us too and keep working on it and adding to it each year.

My DH was also brought up Southern Baptist and myself Catholic so we are really trying to set our own traditions/rituals that are more in line w/what we believe instead of just what we do/are used to/ are the norm. We want to raise our children to know our beliefs and feel that doing Christmas just because everyone else does is not teaching them to be true to themselves and to confrom w/the rest. DH is norse in his beliefs and I am more undefined- but am Pagan and proud of it.

We are also looking into and finding ways of celebrating other holidays (Spring equinox, Sahmian, Candlemas) because they are important too. There are so many family festive things/ways to celebrate and start new tradtions.

As for celebrating w/family- my example is I have a freind who is Jewish and every year has a big Chanuka (sp?) party and invites family AND freinds of all faiths- I am not expected to convert for her party she just wants to celebrate w/her loved ones so we go and enjoy her holiday w/her and her family and learn about a different culture. Its a great way to teach the children. I would just celebrate w/your family at their house as a way of being w/them and of teaching that everyone is different- even family. You don't have to DO Christmas but you can be part of your family's day.
post #4 of 33
Our baby is still in the womb, but we're both atheists. And, I suppose what one would consider "recovering Catholics." So, we celebrate on solstice as we want to get away from the Christian association with the winter holidays.

Because solstice is so close to the New Year, we make it a celebration of life, of one another, of the past year. We celebrate past accomplishments and look forward to the new. Gifts are given because we want to show love/appreciation of one another.

We do decorate a tree, but in "secular" decorations, i.e. no angels, crosses, etc. And we try to make the decorations reflective of what we're celebrating. For instance, dp had a really great year in terms of his art being sold. So, this year, we'll put up some miniature paint brush ornaments, and other similar things. Also, we don't necessarily use a pine tree. Actually, often we use the potted palm in our condo, lol.

I'm really excited to do homemade decorations with our child!

This is how we plan to raise our child, in terms of the winter celebrations. We do have a large family who are Catholics. So, if we celebrate with them, it would obviously have to be on their terms. But, we're thinking that since solstice is before xmas, we can get our celebration in - and then just use our family's celebration as a way of teaching about various beliefs.
post #5 of 33
We do a big Soup and Solstice party with friends. No gifts. A tiny tabletop tree with handmade sun decorations and silly songs about sunshine and warmth. One year, I had a fire juggler come. So cool.

Try this book and see if it resonates with you....


http://atheism.about.com/od/bookrevi...lsticeTree.htm
post #6 of 33
We do Christmas. For us, it's a cultural/secular holiday, not a Christian one. I grew up with it, as did dh (his parents are Christian, mine aren't), and would miss it terribly if we stopped celebrating it. I see it as more of a Winter feast than anything else.
post #7 of 33
We celebrate Yule on the 21st, that's our 'family time'. We sing songs, open presents by the tree, have hot cocoa, the whole nine yards.

Christmas is when santa comes! The kids know santa isn't real, but it's fun to play along and we usually just relax and spend the day vegging out.

Yule is our special day though, it's awesome!
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
We do Christmas. For us, it's a cultural/secular holiday, not a Christian one. I grew up with it, as did dh (his parents are Christian, mine aren't), and would miss it terribly if we stopped celebrating it. I see it as more of a Winter feast than anything else.
This, exactly!

We do a tree, gifts, santa, good food and family -- and it has nothing to do with religion. DH and I are Agnostic/Atheist, but we don't skip holidays like Christmas and Easter because of our beliefs. We are just celebrating something different than others may be.
post #9 of 33
The Japanese use Christmas as a dating holiday.

What's interesting, according to manga (yeah, I know, but this one was pretty realistic to things I know from other sources), some families go to church on Christmas when they aren't Christian. It's just "the thing their family does".
post #10 of 33
Festivus?

post #11 of 33
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
um, as secular means worldly rather than spiritual i'm not quite sure how celebrating the solstice, uh, the shortest day of the year in the earth's orbit, is not secular?

we do celebrate solstice, we make a yule log, have 12 days before solstice with canldes and small gifts each day. not really a huge deal, but still, we think about the days getting longer and warmer a lot!
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayaMama View Post
um, as secular means worldly rather than spiritual i'm not quite sure how celebrating the solstice, uh, the shortest day of the year in the earth's orbit, is not secular?
Depends. Agnostica is celebrated generally on the solstice because it is a scientifically interesting date.

Some people choose to celebrate the solstice because of beliefs they hold about the solstice. The rebirth of the sun is a fairly popular non-secular belief about the solstice.

ETA: Did you click the link? Agnostica's actually from a webcomic and I was making a bit of a joke. Although there are instructions for making a paper atomic model for decorations!
post #14 of 33
Like Storm Bride, we're atheists and still do Christmas as a cultural thing. It's more about having time to spend with family because we all get a little time off than about anything else. We do presents for the children in the family, but other than that, we just get together and eat. It's fun.
post #15 of 33
We're recovering Christians. Our families still celebrate it. We let the kids open Xmas gifts ON Xmas, and empty their stockings from Santa (Santa is a good anology for God later on, and a lot of fun now). Living in Europe, our kids have seen many different representations of Father Winter, and know that nobody's ever REALLY seen him.
But our big family holiday is midwinter/Yule. We do celebrate pre-christian traditions with it, as I consider myself "heathen". But we keep it light, as I don't have a literal belief in gods, and wouldn't impose them on my kids if I did. We light candles and have our feast. We have a potted pine tree that we decorate, and then take care of until the ground starts to thaw. While the Earth is cold, we feed the birds, and talk about the science behind it all. I don't believe science and spirit are at all mutually exclusive!
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Festivus?

FOR THE REST OF US!

post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMom View Post
Like Storm Bride, we're atheists and still do Christmas as a cultural thing. It's more about having time to spend with family because we all get a little time off than about anything else. We do presents for the children in the family, but other than that, we just get together and eat. It's fun.
So so we. when Dylan was little we did Solstice, and we still do a little something on that day but now that she is in school it's just easier to do Christmas as it coincides with our time off from work and school and she doesn't feel like the odd kid out when they discuss what they did/got. It seems that there is very little about Christmas that is spiritual anymore unless you go actively looking for it (ie going to church etc.) so we are able to do a lot of traditions like food, the Nutcracker, tree decoration, even Santa without a blatant display of Christianity.
post #18 of 33
we do yule.

i think creating your own special traditions that you will share with your children is great, regardless of how you id religiously.

i would not think twice about non-religious people taking my pagan symbols of the time of year (tree, lights, gifts) and working it into a holiday that works for them. after all, the christians took that stuff first- why not the seculars?!

personally, i love the decorations at this dark time of year, the feasting and special foods/sweets, and giving one gift to each person on my list (no over-consumption here!) sharing set-aside time of year to be with family and friends is important!
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
We do a big Soup and Solstice party with friends. No gifts. A tiny tabletop tree with handmade sun decorations and silly songs about sunshine and warmth. One year, I had a fire juggler come. So cool.

Try this book and see if it resonates with you....


http://atheism.about.com/od/bookrevi...lsticeTree.htm
I like "soup and solstice" I believe I've seen you post about this before. I plan to steal it. heh. I might even take it as far as eggs and equinox for spring, salad and solstice for summer and eggplant and equinox for fall. IN fact I was just thinking about this on the drive to work today.

My ideal solstice celebration would be getting a tree and decorating it with lights, and snow-based decorations (snowflakes, icicles, lights). And then I think I'd ideally saw up the tree to make the yule log for the next year (perhaps milling holes into it for taper candles). For me solstice is more about embracing the dark (I like those long nights, plus the night rarely gets celebrated except when it's going away.) rather than the return of the sun (the sun doesn't feel very returny to me until the equinox anyways). So I intend to reflect on the good things associated with winter, dark, night - rest, recuperation, renewing, that sort of thing.

But we're a mixed house and right now nothing gets celebrated. Which I don't like at all.
post #20 of 33
We call our secular holiday "Christmas" and do the pagan and commercialized stuff. And we get together with extended family for a big meal. Fun times.
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