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ATHEISTS - what goes on in your house? (and Pagans if you're interested)

(68 Posts)
MrsTerryPratchett Fri 11-Dec-15 04:19:38

DH and I are atheists. After much compromise and tradition and stuff we...

Do have Santa (but when DD [5] says he doesn't exist we don't try to convince her)

Go to a 'living' nativity. Which is weird but really cool.

Don't talk about the actual 'story'.

Take part in carol stuff, Hanukkah with my Jewish friends and Christmas concert (hideous mash-up of traditions). We live somewhere with separation of Church and State so school doesn't do Nativity.

Presents, booze, a Muppet Christmas Carol, holly and ivy and a tree (star, no angel).

What is part of winter and Christmas for you?

Hurr1cane Fri 11-Dec-15 05:50:06

I don't really think about it to be honest. I just do all the stuff I did growing up (bar going to church)

WipsGlitter Fri 11-Dec-15 05:59:59

Same as above. Kids do nativity. Don't go to church although toy with the idea every year!

Isn't the star on the tree a representation of the star of Bethlehem confused

MothershipG Fri 11-Dec-15 06:56:56

I was wondering the other day if atheists are less likely to make a big deal out of Santa? Like you we had Santa but didn't make a big deal of it when the DC worked it out.

We don't have a Nativity set and obviously don't go to Mass, but my parents are RC so they stil do. Happy to sing along to carols but don't go out of our way to find them.

fieldfare Fri 11-Dec-15 07:06:46

I'm more pagan than anything else but was raised with the usual traditions.
Dd is 13 so past Father Christmas now but when she did believe we went with it wholeheartedly but didn't push it when she began to question it. She sings in the school choir so we go to church for a couple of services and it's pleasant enough, I love singing and the carols are very uplifting.
One of our friends is Jewish so we celebrate with her family too, as well as celebrating Yule with each other on the 21st.
Our tree has a beautiful crystal snowflake on the top smile

ginmakesitallok Fri 11-Dec-15 07:08:55

Why would atheists make less of a deal of santa?? confused

snappybadger Fri 11-Dec-15 08:35:10

If anything I guess I am an atheist (but I don't really bother to think about it - all I know is that I'm not religious!) but I make a big deal out of Christmas and fully embrace the commercialism! My house looks like Christmaks threw up on it and we do elf on the shelf and fully believe in the magic of Christmas and Santa. For emit has nothing to do with religion, to me the bible/nativity are just stories in books no different than 'The Night Before Christmas'.

snappybadger Fri 11-Dec-15 08:35:53

emit = me

traviata Fri 11-Dec-15 08:36:12

no, I don't get it either - why less of a deal about Santa?

Of course his name & identity is drawn from St Nicholas etc, but the current mythology for many DC is just that he is a benevolent magical guy who likes to give children presents. Flying reindeer, elves and Lapland don't appear in the St Nicholas story afaik.

same with the Easter Bunny (bunnies obviously being related to pre-Christian fertility symbolism), the Tooth Fairy etc etc.

In this atheist household we play & sing carols because they sound nice. We have a snowflake on top of the tree. If DC wanted an angel they can have one. It isn't as though Christianity has the monopoly on myths about winged beings.

KittyCatPumpkin Fri 11-Dec-15 09:18:18

Pagan here. We do pretty much everything that everyone else does, barring church services. On the 21st we celebrate Yule, which I just have as a smaller version of christmas with the more pagan slant. A couple of gifts under the tree to open, big meal, I am the only pagan in the house, so I don't make a big deal out of it, though the DC know this is what mummy believes and just enjoy the food Then we tell stories, I make an offering after the kids have gone to bed. I keep it very simple.

My DD was in her nativity yesterday, which was lovely, and we do go all out on christmas day, lots of presents, food, the whole shebang. It's easy to forget that there are 25 other celebrations worldwide that are happening, not just christmas, so it really is just a very festive time!

sirphlebas Fri 11-Dec-15 09:30:15

we're atheists & don't make a big deal out of Father Christmas ... we've always done it as a fun game to play. No elf on the shelf/footprints in glitter etc ... Christmas is as much for the adults as children here - time off work, good company, lovely food, booze, presents, house sparkly & clean. A mid winter feast.

I am partial to Christmas carols though. The kids know about "Baby Jesus" from school/nursery/Brownies but we don't do anything nativity related at home. I have a lovely primitive wooden angel for the top of my tree.

MsButteryMash Fri 11-Dec-15 09:30:28

We're atheists. I really don't worry about any Christian aspects of Christmas impinging on us – after all they are mainly nabbed from earlier religions, and I see all religions the same way anyway – as stories. We don't go to church (well the DC do with school, that's a non faith school hmm) but we do the rest – tree, santa, presents, nativity at school, carols, traditional food, our house is full of card showing angels and donkeys. I quite like angels, one we had a tree with an angel made out of a photo cut out of a magazine and it was fun.

I don't make a fuss about santa and tbh I'd be happier if my DC didn't believe because I think it's a lot of stress for them, and hassle for me (I'm a crap liar). I go along with it for the little one (big one has seen through it) but I would never use it to put pressure on DC or try to make them believe for longer than they wanted to. I'm just waiting for DD to start asking awkward questions!

Like others I don't really equate santa with Christianity, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with telling kids to believe something that makes no sense IYSWIM.

JasperDamerel Fri 11-Dec-15 09:32:03

My household is an atheist/pagan/non-credal religion in the Chrustian tradition mix. We celebrate lots. Nativity advent calendar, Yule elf, advent candles, advent and Christmas Eve cathedral services, Carol services, Carol singing, Christmas trees, stocking, Father Christmas (and Mother a Winter), presents, mince pies, tree etc. We put the tree up the day before solstice night, and put Hooly King/Mother Winter figures under the tree and leave a light on all night to call back the sun. In the morning, they are are joined by a figure of the baby sun and we hold the little sun up to catch the first rays of dawn and sing a song about welcoming the day. We pretty much have a non-proselytising Christmas/Yule mix, with emphasis on love and kindness.

Focusfocus Fri 11-Dec-15 09:38:57

Kid is only two months old haven't talked about Santa yet!

We are both atheists, we do loads of food, lights, decorations, tree, pressies, trips to christmas markets, mulled wine, christmas songs (never religious ones....so rockin around the Christmas tree yes, but silent night no). We see it purely as a cultural/social/economic endeavour, as I see the parallel festival in my home country/culture which is technically about a ten armed goddess but then really about new clothes, food glorious food and a months holidays.

Pantone363 Fri 11-Dec-15 09:42:44

We spend it as a time of sharing, giving and receiving and as a winter festival.

The lights 'light' up the winter and the food and gifts cheer us all up when its dark and cold and traditionally there wouldn't be much food etc to go around. We don't have anything on top of the tree but thats more about taste than anything else wink

Kids take part in the nativity, church carols etc. I leave it up to them to decide if they want to, some years they do, some they don't.

MajesticWhine Fri 11-Dec-15 09:48:04

I am an atheist / agnostic. I was brought up as a catholic and as a family I suppose we are Christian in the vaguest cultural non-practising sense. My favourite part of Christmas is going to church for carol services and having a good sing. I love the worshipping aspects of it all. I just don't believe in god. I concede this may seem odd. I'm listening to carols right now.

tootsietoo Fri 11-Dec-15 09:50:39

I am an atheist and don't like going to church much (children are at a CofE school so there is quite a bit of it, but I often delegate to DH who likes it) but I have to say I do like a carol service! The best bit of christmas the past few years has been the christmas eve carol service with lots of people from school followed by a big session in the pub!

Otherwise I don't think there's much religion in christmas really. It's just a great big over commercialised mid-winter festival which as I understand it has happened for millennia but was hijacked by the christians at some point in the past 2000 years.

MsButteryMash Fri 11-Dec-15 09:52:08

I think the lights and things being lit up and sparkly is my favourite thing about Christmas. I really relate to the lights, food and fun in the depths of winter aspect of it, which is basically the oldest, probably prehistoric part. I don't really mind whatever other bits and bobs other people want to attach to that – I see that as the "true meaning of Christmas" (even though the actual word Christmas is obviously a later addition).

WaitingForMe Fri 11-Dec-15 10:33:14

I call it Christmas for convenience but the name is merely the most recent branding. Most religions celebrate light in the darkest months. Someone I knew used to hang fairy lights from Diwali to Christmas. She was a British Hindu and celebrated Christmas as part of her nationality.

The tree makes me think of Prince Albert and bringing German traditions to his new wife. I have a china angel on the top because I love Dr Who. DS is going to see Santa because it's a part of my childhood that I remember. Very little in my Christmas is particularly tied to Christianity (unless I'm mistaken about Mary and Joseph being greeted with mulled wine, Jesus having a stocking and Turkeys not coming from North America).

MothershipG Fri 11-Dec-15 10:53:18

As I wanted to bring my children up to question things, like the existence of god, that slipped over into their belief of other mystical beings. So I wasn't about to promote a belief in Santa/fairies etc when their rationality developed to the point that they were questioning it.

I am happy to report that it hasn't spoiled Xmas for them and we all love decos and tinsel and lights and presents and family and food and treats. grin

AllMyBestFriendsAreMetalheads Fri 11-Dec-15 11:10:56

Our Christmas is a bit of a mash up of different traditions, things that we grew up with and some new things but I do like lots of lights and greenery, and I talk to the kids about the changing of the seasons.

For Yule, I tend to do a slow-cooked casserole, and I like to have a slightly slower, more relaxed pace for the day. The run up to Christmas can get rather hectic, with parties and nativities and I like to take a day to calm it all down again before the final countdown to Christmas Day.

Our actual Christmas day involves presents from Father Christmas and lots and lots of food spread over the whole day.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Fri 11-Dec-15 11:13:35

We celebrate family and togetherness, light in the depth of winter. We tell the nativity as a story but we do Santa, Tomtes, Baboushka and so on too. Just fun stories/traditions. We decorate and sing and eat and celebrate. We love it.

JustAnotherYellowBelly Fri 11-Dec-15 11:15:54

My family are pagan, celebrated Yule and then did a secular Christmas (Santa, presents etc.)
DP family (who we're spending Christmas with this year) do more or less exactly the same thing. Except we have Christmas pudding here grin

JustAnotherYellowBelly Fri 11-Dec-15 11:16:15

Meant to say, DP's family are Muslim

exexpat Fri 11-Dec-15 11:21:32

Atheist household here: we do decorations, lights, presents, family gatherings, food, stockings (everyone is too old to believe in Father Christmas, but we still like stockings), crackers, a home-made Christmas quiz - basically everything except church, but none of the traditions we do have anything to do with a specific religion anyway. The children have to do carol services etc at school.

Decorations, gifts and family feasts seem to be pretty common shared features of midwinter festivals - we spent years in Japan, and the traditions around Japanese new year are very similar.

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