My 2 Cents

Posts Tagged ‘religion

Yes I’m Atheist. Yes I celebrate Christmas. I know – that seems like a contradiction.

I was raised Episcopal, and married in a Catholic church. I didn’t become an Atheist until after I married. Our family has always celebrated Christmas.

For me, even as a child, it was never really about religion though. Jesus wasn’t really the reason for the season. I remember being very little and going to church on Christmas, but I don’t think I really understood it. I think my brother and I were even in the Christmas pageant once or twice. We just thought it was fun. To give you a little idea of how religious we were, we walked into a store one year, and there were statues of the three wise men up as decorations – my brother yelled “Hey Dad, check out the gypsies!” Clearly we didn’t even know the basics.

As kids we loved to see all the Christmas lights. We loved decorating the tree. And year after year, I remember pulling ornaments out and talking about where we got them from, or who made them, and what memories they remind us of. I remember our neighborhood used to have a luminary and we would all walk up the hill and sing Christmas carols around a bonfire. Then Santa would come on the fire truck and pass out candy canes. I remember playing with my brother’s train set for hours. We set it up so it goes around the tree. It used to have little people and lights and a train horn. I’m pretty sure we used to try to run the cat over with it! I remember waking up on Christmas day and sitting at the top of the steps with my brother waiting til our parents woke up so we could get up and open presents. We had to wait for them to wake up so that they could make sure Santa wasn’t still there! I also remember trying to wake up in the middle of the night and catch Santa leaving presents. We left beer and cookies out for Santa one year, and still talk about how my brother drank the rest of the beer the next morning. I remember some of the presents that we got through the years. Some of the big ones like power wheels, a computer, and a puppy stand out. After all of the presents were opened, we always sat down for a yummy breakfast. Then we went to our grandparent’s house and my cousins, brother and I all got to check out our new toys. I remember my great grandmother always got me underwear for Christmas! Oh, and we always got some super comfy, super festive Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas eve. I remember Mom always spazzing out about the Christmas decorations going up. She still does, and they always look so pretty. Dad would put tons of lights outside on the bushes. Or house always looked so pretty around Christmas.

My point is that Christmas is all about the memories we make with our families, and the time that we get to spend with them. I want Alayna to be able to have all of those memories. I want her to get to experience the magic of Santa. We aren’t going to overwhelm her with tons of presents, and we aren’t going to take her to church. But we can continue some of our family traditions, and create new ones.

Last Christmas Alayna was too little to understand anything. This year, she is still confused I think. But she loves looking at the lights, and taking all of the ornaments off of the tree. I think we put between five and ten back up each night. The whole bottom of the tree is bare. But to me, those are the things that we will remember, the stories that we can tell her when she’s older. She cried when we went to see Santa last weekend, but smiled once I picked her up off of his lap and let her see him again. We have a tree and a few decorations up in our living room – stockings and snowmen and a few Santa Clauses. We had a good time taking out our decorations this year. Pictures of Alayna from last year remind us of how much she has grown in such a short time. Some other decorations are pottery that the other half and I painted years ago when we lived in Arizona. To me, that’s the best part of Christmas!

To me:
Christmas is for family, especially the kids. It’s for making memories, and cookies! It’s for tradition, and excitment. It isn’t about religion or God to me. And for these reasons, this Atheist is going to continue to celebrate Christmas.

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