The short answer, in my household at least, is pretty much the same as the rest of my family–just without God. The long answer is somewhat more complicated, and it continues to become more so as my daughter grows up, asks more questions, and tries to figure out what she believes.
I was raised Catholic, but like many US American Catholics my family was never particularly religious aside from going to mass most Sundays and making sure that my sister and I had first communion and were confirmed at the appropriate ages. Holidays with my family were and are primarily secular affairs, days for eating too much pie and spending more-or-less quality time together.
The good thing about this is that my and my partner’s atheism doesn’t really affect that dynamic. The bad part is that we still have to figure out how to how to come up with our own traditions that reflect our philosophy and how best to discuss the religious aspects of the holiday with my daughter in a way that is honest about what we think while still leaving her room to decide what she thinks.
Realistically, however, my biggest concerns as a parent who participates in Christmas are probably the same as those of most parents who celebrate Christmas. I want my daughter to enjoy the holidays as a time to spend with family. I want her to learn to value giving more than receiving and to accept gifts with grace. I want to avoid the crass consumerism that surrounds this holiday and teach by example that the best gifts are those that are thoughtful and meaningful.
That being said, here’s a round-up of some of the best posts I’ve seen this year on the holidays:
- Santa Claus: The Ultimate Dry Run – Dale McGowan, editor of Parenting Beyond Belief, reposts this every year in time for Christmas, and he gives a great argument in favor of Santa.
- Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has an excellent series up on celebrating Christmas as an atheist who has left Christian Patriarchy: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Reclaiming Christmas – Sunni Zuniga blogs at Parents Beyond Belief
- Greta Christina breaks the bad news (but far more good news) in “No, Virginia, There is No Santa Claus”
- Jesse Galef explains why “Christmas Is for All of Us”; Annie Laurie Gaylor gives a history lesson; Roy Speckhardt makes it known that “Christmas Can’t Become Too Secular”; and Herb Silverman tells us to be good.
- David Hayward asks an important question.
- A very atheist Christmas – Elisabeth Cornwell at the Washington Post