I celebrate Christmas. Not Christ’s mass, but all the other stuff. I have a big Christmas tree with lights and decorations, other decorations around the house, and my front windows all have lights in them to delight passers by.
New Zealand pretty much closes down over the Christmas/New Year break. We have a couple of days public holiday at Christmas, and two more at New Year, which are usually attached to a weekend, so most people take the three working days between Christmas and New Year off too, and many the three working days the following week as well. For some it’s a compulsory holiday. Small businesses are usually closed until the third week in January, and larger ones are on reduced staff. Schools are closed until the end of January. Retail outlets, restaurants, and tourist and entertainment-related businesses are pretty much the only ones still operating.
All this means whatever your religion or lack thereof, this is the time of year that it’s easiest for families to get together, and that’s what Christmas and New Year mean to me. All my life, this time of year has been family time. When I was a kid, that meant travelling across the country with my parents and three younger siblings to my grandmother’s farm and meeting up with my cousins (her other 21 grandchildren), aunts, uncles, great-grandmother, and various other assorted relations. There were up to fifty people staying on Christmas night.
In memory, the weather was always warm sunny, and we were always happy, and I think that’s probably mostly what it was like in reality as well. We spent our days roaming the farm, playing in the creek, going eeling, and just generally enjoying ourselves. On Christmas Day and Sundays we went to Church, but that meant going to town so we didn’t mind.
It’s harder for us all to get together now. It’s usually just for weddings and funerals, but it’s always like the years haven’t passed and we’re still kids on the farm again. This year it will just be Mum and I on Christmas Day, but later in the week other family will be coming to stay, and more will be here in the New Year, so I won’t be missing out. I can’t wait to see them all. 🙂
In the meantime, here are some of the pics that make their way around Twitter when most of your followers are fellow atheists.
This one came from reader Diana McPherson, and she actually put it on Facebook, not Twitter. Can you see it?
Many focus on the similarities to the traditions of other religions. I think some of these may be inaccurate, but they make the point nevertheless:
Someone always has to point out what the Bible says about Christmas trees:
Then there’s Santa:
And the ones that tell us what it’s really all about:
And the ones designed for atheists who celebrate Christmas:
There always has to be cats:
There’s always the odd anti-atheist nastiness:
An atheist message. I’m not sure this was a good idea. Although I agree with the sentiment, and I think it’s great the American Atheists are doing billboards, this one’s almost as bad as the one above in terms of pettiness.
And finally, an atheist wish:
Whatever you’re doing over the holidays, I hope you have a good one.
Thanks so much to all of you for reading my blog, and especially those who’ve taken the time to comment. It means a lot to me and I really appreciate it! 🙂
I might not write much, if at all, over the next couple of weeks. But, just like Arnie, I’ll be back, and I hope you will be too!