Growing up catholic, Christmas was the best time of the year. It was less about some baby that was born a couple thousand years ago and more about family and friends. It was about bringing everyone together even though they lived chaotic lives and lived miles away. It was about making fudge for everyone we ever met or knew. It was about the ridiculous amounts of food my Mum and Aunts would make Christmas Eve. It was about the scent of Pine candles because we always had a fake tree. It was about hand made presents my parents would go gaga over when I was kid and that still litter my childhood home. It was about wearing my “Christmas” pajamas my mother would give me the morning before Christmas that I would live in for the next couple of days. It was the Hood Golden Eggnog.
If you are not from the Northeast, you are missing out on the best nog EVER.
As I have grown up and grown out of religion so to speak, Christmas is a more confusing time for me. Christmas was never a religious holiday for me and my family. Yes, we would go to mid-night mass and there’s a nativity set under the tree but that was all we did that resembled a catholic tradition. We never EVER said grace and my mother is the only person in our family who ever wore a crucifix (well until last year when she bought my father one to wear). So when I became an atheist, I still celebrated Christmas with my family minus the church going part. It never seemed wrong or false until this year. As an atheist, I hold a set of beliefs that contradicts Christmas on so many levels. There are a lot of christian traditions that I don’t agree with but the feeling I get Christmas Eve when I’m surrounded by my family is nothing I could possibly describe in words.
That being said I’ve been trying to get my equally atheistic significant other to embrace the yuletide feelings. He had a very different experience with Christmas growing up in a strict Protestant household so his lack of Christmas spirit is understandable. Our views on the subject of Christmas couldn’t be more different. It has led us to some conversations about our hypothetical future children and how we would hypothetically celebrate Christmas as a family. Would we get a tree? Would we do presents for them? How do we handle the idea of Santa which mirrors the idea of God which we don’t believe in? How do we meet in the middle when it comes to the idea of Christmas? I want my children to experience the Christmas I grew up with obviously minus the religious parts. I want my children to be good without the threat of God or Santa. I want my children to get that warm fuzzy feeling when they wake up Christmas morning. I want them to love Christmas as much as I do.
I’ve have been making some head way with the Grinch (aka my SO) by introducing some “Christmas” traditions my Mother is known for. Last year, we made fudge chocolate truffles and this year we’ll be making Christmas cookies. I’ve been burning only Christmas themed candles the last couple of months and he seems to warming up to the idea of my family’s version of the holiday but I feel like it’s one of those things he won’t understand until he experiences it. I don’t know what our future Christmases will look like but I’m hoping more festive than they are right now. (Next year, I’m buying a Christmas tree)
Before I go, I leave you with a cuteness of my son.
Isn’t he adorable in his little Santa hat!?
Are there any other non-religious types that feel the same way as I do? Can you be an atheist that enjoys a holiday that centers around Jesus Christ?