Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Christmas season weighs heavy on me.
It brings out all my contradictions: A joy for giving gifts fighting against a need for frugality and a resistance to the pervading sense of commercialism and obligation. A love of celebration warring with the heavy cultural Christian overtones. Conflicted feelings about my 6yr old's adamant profession of belief in Santa (though he has informed me that he DOESN'T believe in elves) and, in particular, feeling that the time investment expected for the festivities weighs heavier upon the woman in the household. (Am I nuts for thinking this? Does anyone else feel that way?)

But... as of today, the extent of our Christmas shopping/wrapping etc is finished. (I take that back, I am putting some finishing touches on a few sock monkey's for the little guy. But still, close).

So now, I'm hoping to sit back just a bit and meditate. And read. I've done some interesting reading so far, like how Christmas is, in fact a Huge Value Destroying Hurricane (which prompted me to add Scroogenomics to my reading list). Also, regarding Atheists, eat drink and be wary about the land-mine strewn war zone that the season can be for non-believers (which prompted me to add The Atheists Guide to Christmas to my reading list). (Plus I fell in love all over again with Dar William's song The Christains and The Pagans.) Most recently, I was delighted to find an intersect of commonality where a letter from an atheist was well received at the Christian Advent Conspiracy, it was encouraging to see mutual hands of friendship extended there.

Speaking of Advent Conspiracy, since their cause is drinkable water, I'd like to point you to Melinda's Christmas wish list where you can help her reach the goal of $1000 to fund clean water projects in developing nations. I like how she puts it: "I have everything I want and need.
If you want to get me something for Christmas, please donate to my campaign for this organization. You would put a real smile on my face. :)" You're awesome Melinda!

here's the promo video for Charity:Water

and here's the promo video for Advent Conspiracy

Okay, that's all. Happy Holidays!!


Chandelle said...

I definitely share your ambivalence about the holiday. I have the exact same inner debates - anti-consumerism vs. generosity, non-religious vs. touched by all the little sentimentalities about the season. It's a major war zone for the non-theist, especially with borderline fanatical family insisting that there's only one right way and real reason for celebrating.

My in-laws just sent their box of Christmas gifts and for Jeremy and I there was...a book. Oh god, what kind of book? What is it? So I peaked a bit, just pulling on one edge of the paper, because if it's something that's going to make me irritable and sad, I don't want to open it on the actual day and feel crappy. It seems to be something about myths and legends, kind of odd. So Jeremy and I had a big debate about whether it was hollowed out with a place inside for a Book of Mormon, or if they're trying to tell us something about how gullible we are, given their recent card that mentioned "men[?] using big words to shame believers". Or...who knows? It can't just be a book, right? It has to be a message. Because everything is a message from the righteous believers to the apostate outer darkness-bound. I'll obsess about it for weeks, I'm sure. Just another land mine on the path to a stolen Saturnalia.

Oh, and thanks for so much great reading material!

C. L. Hanson said...

That's a great list of resources!! I just added my own comment to the Advent Conspiracy letter from an atheist! :D

The Numismatist said...

Over the last few years I have come to terms with the holidays by adding my own twist to it. I celebrate Festivus on a day of my own choosing. The pole stays up in my front yard for all to admire along with the rest of the seaonal decorations. My neighbors are now used to it.

Being with my daughters and their families makes it a wonderful time. We have developed our own quirky traditions that cause others to tilt their head and mutter as they walk away. That gives me joy all by itself!

I dutifully endure the required extended family party. It only lasts for three hours and I can stand on my head for that long if need be. It's important to my Mom and that's all that counts.

As for the religious aspect of Christmas, I came to terms with that about three years ago. It is simple for me to celebrate the birth of Christ. His teachings about loving and serving your fellow man are spot on. The rest of the miracle stuff, virgin birth, star in the heavens, angels descending? I regard them as myth, just the same as much of the buddhism stuff that I hear each week. I smile and nod.

All that said, at 4 am this morning I awoke in a panic. Too much left to do in the next week! But it all involved the smiles on my kids and grandkids faces, so well worth it.

EmilyCC said...

What a great list of resources! Thanks, G!

And, I heart Dar Williams, especially "Christians and Pagans."